Leiden is a Rhine River cruise port and city in South Holland province (Netherlands), with a population of around 125,000 (metro 350,000). The city is on Oude Rijn (Old Rhine, a branch of Rhine Delta), located approx 20 km (12 mi) from The Hague (South Holland's capital, to the south) and approx 40 km (25 mi) from Amsterdam (north).
Leiden is a typical university city (since 1575), housing Leiden University - country's oldest and one of Europe’s top-ranked universities, with 13 Nobel Prize winners, The town is also famous as the birthplace of Rembrandt (1606-1669).
Oude Rijn River's branches both enter the city on the east and unite in its centre. Leiden is also intersected by numerous canals with quays. Along the outer canal is located Hortus Botanicus and other gardens. Leidse Hout park is on the border with Oegstgeest. Van der Werf Park was formed on the site of an accidental explosion in 1807, when a ship loaded with over 17 tons of gunpowder exploded right in the middle of downtown, destroying around 220 houses. Leiden has Holland's 2nd largest town centre (after Amsterdam's), with 100 buildings all of which are decorated with large murals.
Other popular tourist attractions include Hooglandse Kerk (St Pancras church, 15th century), Pieterskerk (St Peter church, 14th century), Stedelijk Museum De Lakenhal (fine arts), Bibliotheca Thysiana, Marekerk (17th-century Protestant church), Heilige Lodewijkkerk (19th-century catholic church), Waalse Kerk (16th-century church, former hospital), Stadhuis (16th century City Hall), Gravensteen (15th-century jail), Stedelijk Gymnasium (16th century), Stadstimmerwerf (17th-century wharf), Heilige Geest Weeshuis (16th century, former orphanage), Molen de Valk (18th-century windmill, now museum).