Leiden University is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It was founded in February 1575, as a gift from William of Orange to the citizens of Leiden after they had withstood a long siege by the Spanish.
It was the first university in the Netherlands to practise freedom of belief and religion, as reflected in the university's motto, Praesidium Libertatis, Bastion of Liberty. It was this atmosphere of freedom of speech that provided the right environment for philosophers such as Spinoza and Descartes to develop their ideas.
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Leiden University's Official Website