Coordinates: 52° 9′ 42″ N, 4° 29′ 8″ E
Leiden is a city in the Dutch province of South Holland, located on the Old Rhine, in a distance of some 20 km from The Hague in its south and some 40 km from Amsterdam in its north. A university town since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Centre. It is twinned with Oxford, the location of England’s oldest university.
Leiden was formed on an artificial hill (today called the Burcht van Leiden) at the confluence of the rivers Oude and Nieuwe Rijn (Old and New Rhine). In the oldest reference to this, from circa 860, the settlement was called Leithon. The name is said to be from Germanic leitha “canal” in dative pluralis, thus meaning “at the canals”. A leitha (later “lede”) was a human-modified natural river, partly natural, partly artificial.