Leyden, Or Leiden, (Dutch Leijden; anc. Lugdunum Batavorum), a city of the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, 22 m. S. W. of Amsterdam and 9 m. N. E. of the Hague, on the Old Rhine, which discharges its narrow stream into the sea at a distance of 6
Town Hall, Leyden.
m. from the city; pop. in 1872, 39,574. The city presents an antique, venerable, scrupulously clean, but dull and inanimate appearance. It was formerly fortified, but the ramparts are now levelled and planted with trees. It is surrounded by numerous windmills, in one of which Rembrandt is said to have been born, and by pleasant country seats, pleasure gardens, and meadows. It is traversed by many canals, which are crossed by about 150 bridges. The Breede straat, or Broad street, ranks among the finest of Europe. In it stands the town hall (stadhuis), a picturesque building with a tall spire and ornamented gables, erected in 1574. Other noteworthy public structures are the prison, weigh-house, cloth hall, infantry barracks, and town dockyards. There are 14 churches and a synagogue, but none of them are of remarkable architecture. The large open space called the Ruine in the Rapenburg street, now planted with trees, was covered with dwellings until 1807, when 300 of them were destroyed with 150 persons by an explosion of gunpowder on a barge passing through the canal. In the centre of the town is a ruined tower on a mound, said to have been built by Drusus, but attributed by some to Hengist the Saxon. It is now an inn, and the grounds around it form a tea garden.
The chief ornament of Leyden is the university, which for some time con-tributed so much to the learning of Europe that Leyden was called the Athens of the West. Associated with it are, among many others, the names of Joseph Scaliger, Armi-nius, Gomarus, Grotius, Descartes, Heinsius, and Boerhaave. Evelyn, Fielding, Goldsmith, and other English men of letters studied at Leyden. The university is still attended by about 700 students, and there are 40 professors. The museum of natural history, one of the most extensive in Europe, is especially rich in productions of the East and "West Indies, and has a remarkable collection of birds. The cabinet of comparative anatomy is exceedingly rich. The collections of shells, of minerals and insects, and of agricultural objects, as well as the Egyptian museum, possess great interest, as does the Japanese collection of Sie-bold (the most comprehensive of the kind in the world), which since 1864 has formed a part of the national ethnographic museum. The library contains 90,000 printed volumes and 14,000 manuscripts, including some of the rarest oriental ones, collected by Golius in the 17th century. The society of Netherlandish literature, founded in 176(5, had in 1873 454 members in the Netherlands and 204 in foreign countries.
Printing was extensively carried on in Leyden in the 17th and 18th centuries, as was the manufacture of fine woollen cloth. In the 17th century the population was estimated as high as 100,000. Nearly 4,000 of the inhabitants were carried off by the plague in 1655. In more recent times industry has declined, but Leyden continues to be the principal market for wool and woollen goods in the Netherlands. There are 16 steam factories, three of which are of cloth, besides baize and camlet factories, wool-spinneries, and calico print works. There are also tanneries, soap works, breweries, distilleries, a manufactory of paper hangings, machine works, and five printing offices. Large quantities of grain, butter, and cheese are sold at the weekly markets. The population has nearly doubled since the beginning of the 19th century. - The siege of Leyden and its heroic defence against the Spaniards, in the Dutch war of independence, forms one of the most interesting episodes in the history of the Dutch republic. To relieve the place, the prince of Orange cut the dikes, and a favorable wind brought in the waters so rapidly that more than 1,000 of the besiegers were drowned.
The same wind wafted in the fleet of Boisot, which entered on the morning of Oct. 3, 1574, and brought relief to the inhabitants, who were on the verge of starvation. The university was founded in the following year by the prince of Orange in commemoration of this event. Leyden is associated with American history through the pilgrim fathers, who, after their arrival at Amsterdam from England in 1608, removed to Leyden in 1609, where they remained until their departure for the new world in 1620.