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The city houses Leiden University, the oldest university of the Netherlands, and Leiden University Medical Center.

Leiden University is one of Europe’s top universities, it boasts thirteen Nobel Prize winners, it is a member of the League of European Research Universities and positioned highly in all international academic rankings.

In the same period, Leiden developed an important printing and publishing industry.

The influential printer Christoffel Plantijn lived there at one time.

One of his pupils was Lodewijk Elzevir (1547–1617), who established the largest bookshop and printing works in Leiden, a business continued by his descendants through 1712 and the name subsequently adopted (in a variant spelling) by contemporary publisher Elsevier.

In 1572, the city sided with the Dutch revolt against Spanish rule and played an important role in the Eighty Years' War.

Tradition tells that the citizens were offered the choice between a university and a certain exemption from taxes and chose the university.

; in English and archaic Dutch also Leyden) is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland.

The municipality of Leiden has a population of 122,915, but the city forms one densely connected agglomeration with its suburbs Oegstgeest, Leiderdorp, Voorschoten and Zoeterwoude with 206,647 inhabitants.

Within a week John of Bavaria conquered the castles of Poelgeest, Ter Does, Hoichmade, de Zijl, ter Waerd, Warmond and de Paddenpoel.

On 24 June the army appeared before the walls of Leiden.

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