Prestigious universities, stunning canals, and captivating museums. A unique blend of culture, history, and artistic elements makes Leiden an eclectic gem, and a must-see destination for anyone travelling to the Netherlands. Daniela Stoyanova from Crown Relocations explains why so many expats are calling this small Dutch city home.

It’s surprising that many expats are only just discovering Leiden as a top Dutch destination. With its rich cultural offerings, lively community, and beautiful surroundings, Leiden offers a high quality of life and a warm welcome to newcomers.

Crown Relocations walks you through some of the key reasons why Leiden is becoming a popular place for expats to live.

1. A museum townIn Leiden, there is ample opportunity to enjoy the city’s many attractions, such as one of the many museums. Despite being a small city, with only 100.000 inhabitants, it boasts 14 museums, each of which have their own unique pieces and qualities.

At the National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden), you can see many amazing artefacts, including some brilliant pieces of art by Rembrandt.

2. Affordable costs of livingThe cost of living in Leiden is lower compared to other major cities in the Netherlands such as Amsterdam, Utrecht or Rotterdam. This makes the town an attractive option for expats seeking an affordable lifestyle in the Randstad without compromising on quality or being too far away from the big cities.

Housing costs in Leiden are generally more reasonable than in other major cities, with a wide range of options available to suit different budgets. Whether you are looking to buy or rent a house, there are many local market aggregator websites to help you find your new home in Leiden. These websites provide comprehensive listings and real-time updates, making the search for a new home in Leiden a stress-free experience.

3.Great schools and educationLeiden is a city renowned for its great schools and educational institutions, providing a range of options for both local and international students. With a vibrant population of young people, Leiden is regarded as a student city, with multiple prestigious institutions located within its borders.

The flagship university in Leiden is the esteemed Leiden University, which has a long and distinguished history dating back to 1575. The university consistently ranks in the top 100 universities worldwide and was the first university established in the Netherlands.

Other higher-educational institutions in Leiden include: the University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool) Leiden and Webster University. There are also a few international schools for primary-aged children.

With its commitment to education and a rich academic tradition, Leiden is an excellent choice for families seeking excellent educational opportunities.

4. Excellent transportation linksLeiden boasts excellent transportation connections to all corners of the Netherlands, making it a convenient and accessible city to live in. The city’s central train station is located just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, providing easy access to Amsterdam and Rotterdam in just 30 minutes. Leiden also has direct connections to cities like Utrecht and Den Haag.

The public transportation network in Leiden includes buses and trains, making it easy to get around the city and its surroundings. To optimise your travel planning in Leiden, we recommend using Dutch travel apps, which provide the fastest routes for your preferred mode of transportation, saving you time and helping you save money on transportation costs.

5. A city for bikesHowever, the best way to get around Leiden is by bike! The city’s roads and bicycle paths are well thought out and constructed with cyclists in mind. Due to Leiden’s quaint size, cycling to the grocery store, park, or the central train station is extremely easy.

What is more, you can even reach other nearby Dutch cities easily by bike. Nearby cities such as Leiderdorp, Voorschoten, and Wassenaar are less than 20 minutes away if you cycle.

6. Wonderful healthcare and wellbeingAs a nation, the Netherlands’ reputation as one of the happiest places to live in the world is well-earned, with cities like Leiden making significant contributions to this recognition.

In addition to the peace and tranquillity, Leiden also offers modern medical facilities and a wide range of healthcare providers that cater to the diverse needs of its residents. Leiden is home to several highly rated hospitals and medical centres – such as the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC) and Alrijne Hospital Leiden – which provide exceptional and cutting edge medical care. They ensure that their residents’ wellbeing is in safe hands.

While expats may require to have health insurance to access these facilities, the Netherlands offers many cost-efficient insurance packages compared to other European countries.

7. Fantastic work-life balanceThe Netherlands is well-known for its fantastic work-life balance, and Leiden is no exception. The typical workweek in Leiden is around 35 – 40 hours, with many businesses offering early finish times on Fridays.

A healthy work-life balance is encouraged in Leiden, with many employers prioritising the well-being of their employees by offering flexible work arrangements as well as generous vacation time.

Leiden: A small city with a modern feelLeiden’s culture, education, and convenient location are just a few of the reasons why it is fast becoming an ideal place to live for expats. If you are looking for a place to live in the Randstad, Leiden offers a balanced way of life, (more) affordable costs, and a safe environment for expats.

Moving homes can be both exciting and daunting. Crown Relocations has been helping people relocate internationally for over fifty years, offering support for all the logistical and emotional needs for you and your loved ones.


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