Universiteit Leiden

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Literary Leiden

Quietly read a book in our new reading nook, listen to interesting and bizarre stories set in early twentieth-century Leiden, walk past literary locations in Leiden and watch the best film adapted from a Leiden novel as decided on by you. April is Literary Leiden month! A month in which we pay special attention to the richness of Leiden's literary history.

Leiden fulfills a special role in Dutch literature: as a setting for stories and as a place of work and residence for leading authors. The city that was described by Willem Bilderdijk as 'O Leiden, Flower of cities', but was portrayed much less glamorous by F. Bordewijk. The city where Boudewijn Büch lived in a commune and where Jan Wolkers went into hiding during World War Two.

In a special reading corner in the North Hall of the University Library, some of the most important books in Leiden's literary history are ready to be read. In addition, the UBL organizes three activities, especially for students, staff members and all other visitors to the UBL:


Fan of lunchtime concerts and audiobooks? The UBL combines the two and reads from Bordewijk's Fantastische Vertellingen; bizarre stories about the Leiden student environment at the beginning of the 20th century. No registration required. Just walk in and listen.

Where did Boudewijn Büch live? Where did Karel van het Reve swerve his car off the road and into the Rapenburg canal? And where does the first part of Harry Mulisch's Discovery of Heaven take place? Discover it during this walk along the literary highlight locations of Leiden. register via this form.

Which Leiden-related book adaptation to film was most succesful? Vote now and register for the screening before 24 April. The showing will be held in the UBL Cinema.


Of course, we have almost every book connected with Leiden in our catalogue. We made a selection of what we think are the most imporant titles.

Check out the reading list for Literary Leiden.

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