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Leiden is vibrant university city with beautiful canals and many cafes and restaurants in between Amsterdam and The Hague and only 15km away from the beach. Leiden University was founded in 1575 and is one of the leading international research universities in Europe. The famous painter Rembrandt was born and educated in Leiden. Leiden was formed on a hill, the Burcht of Leiden, where you have a spectacular view over the old town. Leiden is also known where the Pilgrim fathers lived opposite the Pieters Church before departing to the New World. Leiden is also the European City of Science 2022, a 365-day science festival packed with activities, lectures, workshops, excursions, exhibitions and events.

Naturalis is the Dutch national research institute of biodiversity Naturalis has over 120 scientists working on scientific issues in the field of biodiversity on both land and sea worldwide. Naturalis holds one of largest natural history collections of the world, housing over 20.000 sponges, including many type specimen. The exhibition of Naturalis was re-opened in 2019 and was awarded the European Museum of the year 2021. The new museum has eight impressive galleries including a Dinosaur room with one of the most complete and best-preserved skeleton of a T-Rex. Delegates will have free entrance to the exhibition during the conference.

The venue of the 11th sponge conference will be in the auditorium which is situated at the heart of Naturalis.

Naturalis Biodiversity Center

About Leiden

About Leiden

Access to Leiden

Leiden is ideally situated between Amsterdam and Leiden. Leiden Central Station is situated in the city Centre and has excellent connection to other cities in the country and international connection via Rotterdam or Amsterdam.

Schiphol Amsterdam Airport has direct flight connections to over 300 locations around the world and the airport is only 15 mins by train from Leiden. Other airplane options are Rotterdam airport, located 30 mins from Leiden or Eindhoven Airport, located 1,5 hours from Leiden.

Access to Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Naturalis is situated in Leiden Bio Science Park and has 2 entrances; Darwinweg 2 (coming by foot from train or city) and Mendelweg 2 (coming by car or bike).

Naturalis is easy to reach by using public transport and within walking distance (10min) of Leiden Central Station. Exit the station at the hospital side. The walking route is clearly marked from there. You can also take a bus (43) from Leiden Central station and get off at the Darwinweg/Naturalis bus stop, just in front of the entrance. It is not possible to pay cash in the bus, but you can buy tickets at the Arriva store in the Tourist Information office Leiden, Stationsweg 26.

Naturalis has several parking spaces available. The number of spaces is limited. Please inform the convenor host if you want to travel by car or if you want to rent a bike for a week.


Leiden has many different hotels and you can book directly yourself. Many hotels are at a walking distance from Naturalis, it is recommended to book early.


Alternatively, please see  For further information on accommodation in Leiden

Access to Leiden
Access to Naturalis
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