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The Old Observatory of Leiden is the oldest extant university observatory in the world. While students of Leiden University receive lectures in the main part of the building, the visitor center in the basement and the telescopes on the building serve the general public. Here you will find information about visits to the Old Observatory's visitor center and the telescopes and its history, tours, events and societies.


From 2 July 2022 onwards, a new exhibition will be on display in the Old Observatory: More-than-Planet. This exhibition focuses on the following question: how do we imagine our planet Earth?

Explore this question from a unique perspective at More-than-Planet. With artworks from five internationally prominent artists, we take a critical look at the balance between mankind and the environment, between space technology and the Earth that it represents. 

This exhibition can be seen from 2 July to 31 December 2022. Please note: two separate tickets are required for a visit to the Old Observatory and the Hortus botanicus Leiden. You can buy a ticket to the Hortus online or at the front desk, you can buy a ticket for the Old Observatory at the Visitors Centre. Read more about the artworks and the exhibition on the university website.

Opening hours

The visitors' centre of the Old Observatory is open to the public at the following times:

  • Monday: closed
  • Tuesday - Friday: 13:00-17:00
  • Saturday - Sunday: 11:00-17:00

Guided tours

Besides the exhibition you can also join a guided tour by an astronomy student. In one hour, the student will tell you more about the exhibition and you will be taken to one of our historical telescopes. Please note: because these guided tours are during the day, it is not possible to look through a telescope during the walk-in tours.

A guided tour is limited to 15 people and it is not possible to reserve a place. To be sure of a place, we advise you to be on time. You can buy a ticket for a guided tour at the entrance of the Observatory.

The tours take place on:

Tuesday - Friday:

  • 14:00-15:00 (Dutch)
  • 15:30-16:30 (English)

Saturday - Sunday:

  • 11:30-12:30 (Dutch)
  • 13:00-14:00 (Dutch)
  • 14:30-15:30 (English)
  • 16:00-17:00 (English)


There are two ticket types for the visitor centre. With a standard ticket you can visit the exhibition. With a guided tour ticket you can join a guided tour in addition to the exhibition. The prices are:

  • Ticket exhibition: €5
  • Ticket exhibition + guided tour: €8
  • People aged 4-12 years: €2 discount
  • People up to 3 years: free

The tickets can be bought at the entrance of the visitor centre (pin only).


More information on the Old Observatory
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