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Living and working in Leiden

Hannah Smith our consultant managing the role
Posted by Hannah Smith
Published on 18 August 2022

When you think of the Netherlands, several icons may come to mind. Canal boats, tulip fields, bicycles and of course, Europe’s infamous sin city, Amsterdam. But the country has so much to offer, and some of its most beautiful, interesting, and liveable cities can be overlooked. Leiden, 29 miles from the capital, is a historical and cultural treasure of The Netherlands with incredible career prospects too. Here’s why you should consider living and working in Leiden.

Fantastic Job Opportunities

Leiden is home to the largest life sciences clusters in the Netherlands, and one of the top five most successful science parks in Europe. Leiden Bio Science Park is globally established, housing innovative pharmaceutical companies, research and development institutions, and exciting life sciences start-up companies. The site consists of over 215 organisations and over 18,000 workers and is a fantastic centre for life sciences jobs – and the opportunities are growing. The Netherlands are working hard on harvesting their life sciences potential with a blueprint in place to create over 60,000 jobs by 2030.

Leiden is also a world-famous university city, and its most prestigious - Leiden University - was attended by historical figures Einstein and Rembrandt. Its three universities are leading employers in the area, making the city a great place to relocate for academics.

Located in the Randstad region – a hub of business and industry – Leiden is within close reach to other major enterprising cities. Employment opportunities outside of city lines are aplenty, and Leiden itself is a favourite for commuters to live whilst working in Amsterdam and The Hague.

Excellent work life balance 

The work life balance in the Netherlands is amongst some of the best in the world. Dutch people tend not to work very long hours, and the country is affectionately known for its laid-back lifestyle. According to the Economic Cooperation and Development’s latest Better Life index, residents spend more time on leisure activities, sleeping and relaxing – and there is no better city suited to this way of life than Leiden. Outside of the bustling hub of Amsterdam, Leiden offers a quieter insight into traditional Dutch life and culture. It is off the beaten track from most tourists, meaning the city benefits from a slower pace but equally abundance with excellent things to see and do.

Culture and attractions

A picture-postcard city with a small-town feel, Leiden is a charming, historic and culturally significant area at the beating heart of the Netherlands. It is one of the most historically preserved centres in the country, with centuries old architecture bordering the 18 miles of canals that meander the city. For visitors and residents alike, the cobbled streets, winding waterways, and tucked away courtyards offer an enchanting experience that never tires.

As the birthplace of Rembrandt, Leiden proudly celebrates its rich heritage, and encourages visitors to follow his footprints for the day with The Rembrandt Experience. The tour offers an insight into where the iconic painter was born, his Latin school, his church, and much more.

Thanks to the population of students in the city, nights in Leiden come alive. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, bistros and clubs to choose from, suiting all tastes and budgets. Gebroeders de Nobel is a cultural stage with regular performances from renowned DJs and bands, and Leiden’s many bars offer a place to sip on locally brewed Heineken and dine on traditional Dutch eats.


Leiden’s proximity to the cities in the Randstad region mean that weekend or even day trips to

Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague are a perfect way to pass free time. Amsterdam is the ideal destination for a fast paced and fun-filled weekend, Rotterdam for bold architecture and hip nightlife, and The Hague for a leisurely, coastal affair. All cities can be reached by train in less than 45 minutes.

International travel from Leiden also couldn't be easier. Schiphol airport is a mere 15-minute train ride away, from which you can travel to over 300 locations around the globe. If you fancy a Belgium break, popping across the border to The Netherlands neighbour can be done in under 2 and a half hours from The Hague train station (20 minutes from Leiden). Perfect when you fancy stocking up on Belgian beer and chocolate!


Ready for your Leiden adventure?

If you are considering a career move to Leiden – we would love to help you. View our latest Life Sciences jobs in the area to get started or reach out to our life sciences recruitment team to discuss opportunities.