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Leiden

Leiden or Leyden (both: lī´dən), city (1994 pop. 114,892), South Holland prov., W Netherlands, on the Old Rhine (Oude Rijn) River. Manufactures include medical equipment, machinery, graphic arts, and food products. The famous State Univ. of Leiden is there (founded 1575), the oldest in the Netherlands. It was a center for the study of Protestant theology, classical and oriental languages, science, and medicine in the 17th and 18th cent. The university is particularly noted for its departments of Asian studies, physics, and astronomy, as well as its botanical garden (founded 1590); the Leyden jar was invented there. The city dates from Roman times, and Leiden has had an important textile industry since the 16th cent., when an influx of weavers came from Ypres. The city took a prominent part in the revolt (late 16th cent.) of the Netherlands against Spanish rule. Besieged and reduced to starvation in 1574, it was saved from surrender when William the Silent ordered the flooding of the surrounding land by cutting the dikes, thus enabling the fleet of the Beggars of the Sea (see Gueux) to sail to its relief across the countryside. Leiden became famous as a center of printing after the Elzevir family established (1580) its press. The city was the home of many of the Pilgrims for about 10 years before they embarked (1620) for America. Leiden was the birthplace of the Anabaptist leader John of Leiden and of the painters Jan van Goyen, Jan Steen, Lucas van Leyden, and Rembrandt. The city has a 10th-century fortress; two old churches, the Pieterskerk (14th cent.) and the Hooglandsche Kerk (15th cent.); several museums; and many 17th-century houses.

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Leiden

Leiden (Leyden) City on the River Oude Rijn, w Netherlands, 15km (9mi) ne of The Hague. Leiden received its city charter in the 13th century, and soon developed a flourishing textile industry. The Pilgrim Fathers lived in the city before setting out for America in 1620. Industries: textiles, printing and publishing, food processing, metalworking. Pop. (2001) 117,479.

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Leiden

LeidenAbaddon, gladden, gladdon, Ibadan, madden, sadden •abandon, Brandon, Rwandan, Ugandan •Baden, Baden-Baden, Coloradan, garden, harden, lardon, Nevadan, pardon •Wiesbaden • bear garden •tea garden •Armageddon, deaden, leaden, redden •Eldon, Sheldon •Brendan, tendon •Dresden •Aden, Aidan, Haydn, laden, maiden •handmaiden •cedarn, cotyledon, dicotyledon, Eden, monocotyledon, Sweden •wealden •bestridden, forbidden, hidden, midden, outridden, ridden, stridden, unbidden •Wimbledon •linden, Lindon, Swindon •Wisden • Mohammedan • Myrmidon •harridan • hagridden • Sheridan •bedridden • Macedon • Huntingdon •Dryden, guidon, Leiden, Poseidon, Sidon, widen •Culloden, hodden, modern, sodden, trodden •Cobden • downtrodden •Auden, broaden, cordon, Gordon, Hordern, Jordan, warden •churchwarden • louden • bounden •loden, Snowdon •beholden, embolden, golden, olden •hoyden • Bermudan • wooden •Mukden • gulden • sudden •Blunden, London •Riordan • bourdon • bombardon •celadon • Clarendon •burden, guerdon

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Leiden

Leiden

By the late 1400s Leiden was the most populous town in the county of Holland, with about 14,000 inhabitants. Its prosperity depended chiefly on the cloth industry, which employed nearly half the town's population. Good times came to an end in 1477, when a century-long period of economic decline and social unrest began.

Leiden's history took a turn in the 1500s during the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule. In 1575, after a yearlong siege of the town by Spanish troops, Dutch leader William of Orange founded a Protestant university there. The town also began welcoming Protestant refugees from the southern Netherlands, who helped modernize the cloth industry.

Cultural life in Leiden was fairly regional. Two monasteries produced manuscripts, and Dutch literature flowered in local literary societies. Many of Leiden's leading literary figures sympathized with Protestantism, and the town adopted Calvinism* in 1572. However, a controversy over theology* that began in Leiden grew into a political and religious conflict that divided the Dutch republic.

In general, though, the religious climate in Leiden was very tolerant. In 1609 the town allowed English exile John Robinson to found his Separate Church, which had about 300 English members. In 1620 William Bradford, one of the leaders of this English community, organized the departure from Leiden of the first group of Pilgrims bound for New England.

Leiden's university gained fame throughout Europe, especially for its literary studies. Many renowned scholars taught there. Intellectual life also flourished outside the university, but Leiden played only a secondary role in the Golden Age of Dutch painting and literature that began in the late 1500s. The Dutch translation of the Bible, first published in Leiden in 1637, had a major influence on the Dutch language. Leiden also produced many talented painters, but most of them settled elsewhere. Renaissance architecture arrived in the town only in the late 1500s. A notable example can be seen in the facade of Leiden's town hall.

(See alsoArt in the Netherlands; Netherlands. )

* Calvinism

Protestant church founded by John Calvin

* theology

study of the nature of God and of religion

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