In brief, spending a semester at Leiden University was the most rewarding decision that I have made during law school. I established incredible contacts worldwide, received instruction at one of the most prestigious and oldest universities in Europe, made many lifelong friends and lived in an amazingly beautiful and fun country.
“Living and studying in Leiden was a wonderful experience that I would wholeheartedly recommend to any UConn student thinking about going abroad. Leiden is a beautiful, charming and friendly university town brimming with history and a lively mix of locals and international students.
Founded in 1575, Leiden University was the first university in the Netherlands and has since become home to over 18,000 students enrolled in 46 bachelor’s programs and 70 master’s programs. There are over 5,000 students in the Faculty of Law. Leiden has the largest and perhaps most prestigious law faculty in the Netherlands.
Since 1989, Leiden University’s Faculty of Law has been offering courses in English to law students from around the world. Most of the students who take these courses, collectively called Leiden Law Courses, are students from other Western European countries, or from the United States. Some of the students are Dutch law students whose international concentration requires that they take some of their electives in English. At Leiden, one's classmates are as likely to be from Spain and Germany as from Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
Students choosing to study at Leiden can opt to attend the university for the full academic year or for one semester in the fall or spring.
Semester begins end of August.
Orientation in mid to late August.
|Spring Semester||End of January to end of May|
|Full Year||Begins mid-August to the end of May until coursework is completed|
Perhaps the most distinctive feature of the Leiden exchange is that our students participate directly in a Dutch law school. The Leiden courses are neither especially designed for nor run by Americans. This means that the Connecticut students have not only the opportunity to take some interesting international and foreign law subjects, but also are, for a time, students in a foreign law school. Here are examples of how this foreign learning experience is of considerable cultural and educational benefit:
Public International Law: Capita Selecta
The purpose of this course is two-fold: first, to refresh knowledge of the main chapters of public international law, its general principles and key doctrines; secondly, to focus attention upon recent developments and topical issues affecting these general principles. Themes discussed are: the history and function of international law, sources, statehood, territorial and maritime delimitation, international responsibility, treatment of aliens, jurisdiction and immunities, human rights and IHL, UN system and targeted sanctions, use of force and international terrorism and fragmentation and the proliferation of international courts.
International Institutional Law
International organizations play an increasingly important role in the international community. There are many types of international organizations – both in terms of their size and objectives. Within this diverse group of organizations there are a number of similar day-to-day problems with which each of them is confronted. In this course some key issues of the law of international organizations will be highlighted with the help of international judicial decisions. Special attention will be paid to issues such as membership, institutional structure, legal personality, powers, decision-making and decisions as well as privileges and immunities.
International Criminal Law
This course treats the foundations of international criminal law. It traces the historical evolution (e.g. the Nuremberg and Tokyo precedents), the objectives and the relevant legal sources of international criminal law. It distinguishes classical horizontal approaches (e.g. extradition, mutual legal assistance) from vertical international criminal law (e.g. law of international criminal courts and tribunals). It further studies the substantive crimes (genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, aggression) as well as general principles of international criminal law (modes of liability, grounds excluding criminal responsibility) and impediments to investigation and prosecution (e.g. immunities, amnesties), based on contemporary treaty-law and the international practice. The course is designed to develop a critical understanding of law and jurisprudence and will provide ample room for discussion, practical exercises and interaction with invited lecturers.
International Protection of Human Rights
The Human Rights course seeks to provide students with a thorough understanding of international human rights law and practice. We will trace the historical and conceptual evolution of human rights norms, considering civil and political and economic and social rights and will discuss both universal as well as regional developments. By detailed consideration of real cases, we will analyze key rights and enquire into current challenges to their protection arising in diverse contexts – from the home to the fight against international terrorism. The international human rights infrastructure and mechanisms of enforcement will be discussed, including the role and impact of litigation in rights protection. The interrelationship between human rights and other areas of international law and practice covered in the course, notably IHL and ICL, will also be explored. The course is intended to combine in-depth analysis of the scope and nature of rights with an emphasis on the practical application of the law and challenges arising.
A picturesque Dutch town, Leiden is located in the center of the Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Hague urban triangle. With a fascinating blend of old and modern architecture, the inner city is largely unchanged over the last two centuries, containing some 1200 buildings of historic interest, many located alongside the town's picturesque canals. In the center of the tulip growing district, its canals, parks and gardens are regularly enjoyed by its residents through morning, midafternoon and evening strolls.
Leiden played a key role in the Eighty Years War of the 16th century when the Dutch won their independence from Spanish rule. Threatened with siege and starvation, the people nonetheless kept their city from the Spanish until rescued by Prince William of Orange on October 3, 1574. As a reward, William established the University of Leiden the following year. It has been considered since then a seat of international culture. The Pilgrims spent eleven years in Leiden before going to Plymouth, England where many set sail for America shortly thereafter.
A unique aspect of Leiden University is that it has no main campus, rather its buildings are scattered throughout Leiden with most located in the historic inner city. The Gravensteen, a former palace and prison, is the oldest building of the Law Faculty and dates from the 13th century. A new Law Center has been built which contains faculty offices, classrooms, and computer facilities, library, cafeteria and café, bookstore, and copy services.
Leiden is a student-town with an abundance of low-cost entertainment. Connecticut students have found it to be friendly and affordable. Leiden University's many student clubs make finding Dutch activities, be they athletic, social or cultural, quite easy.
Leiden Law School (Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid)
Ms. drs. M. Dirven (Magali)
Kamerlingh Onnes Building
Steenschuur 25, room C031
• Office for International Education (room C031)
Different Offices/Campus Map: http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/who-do-i-see.pdf
Finding Your Way Around Leiden: http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/finding-your-way.pdf
The Leidener Guide: http://theleidener.com/
International Student Handbook: http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/finding-your-way.pdf
Finding Your Way Around The Hague: http://media.leidenuniv.nl/legacy/finding-your-way-the-hague.pdf
International Student Services: http://www.isnleiden.com/