Universiteit Leiden

The Fencing School
The Fencing School Copper engraving by Willem Swanenburg after Jan Cornelisz Woudanus, first quarter of the 17th century

Soon after it opened, the University began a fencing school in the Faliede Bagijnkerk, a former church that now houses the University’s administration department and Executive Board. The fencers followed precise mathematical sequences. This print is one of a series of four: the others are of the Hortus botanicus, the Anatomical Theatre and the Library. The prints show the main academic institutions in 17th-century Leiden and may have been a form of early-modern city marketing aimed at attracting more students and scholars.

The oldest gown
The oldest gown Silk velvet gown, 1775

Three long-forgotten gowns were found in the corner of an attic of the Academy Building during a clear-out in 1993. This silk velvet doctor’s cloak turned out to be the oldest preserved gown in the Netherlands. It was worn at a PhD ceremony during the celebration of the University’s second centenary, on February 9 1775. An old drawing made it possible to identify these gowns as PhD ceremony cloaks. Today, this antique gown is resplendent in a display case in the Academy Building.

Women take over the Senate Chamber
Women take over the Senate Chamber Hanging up the new portraits in March 2018. (Photo Marc de Haan)

An anatomical model of a heart or photographs of strong women in the family. The 14 new portraits of female professors in the Senate Chamber incorporate both personal influences and research motifs. Until March 2018, professor of Greek Sophia Antoniadis was the only woman with a portrait in the Senate Chamber. High time for a change, the Executive Board decided. ‘The place where so many women defend their thesis should be inspiring and representative,’ Carel Stolker commented at the unveiling.