Clubs & Societies

Welcome to Leiden

Leiden houses the most clubs and societies of all the student cities in The Netherlands . They vary from student fraternities, sports clubs, study associations to internationally oriented associations and religious associations. During the OWL we will be organising an “infomarket” where many of these organisations will present themselves on a fair.

The two main internationally oriented associations are ESN and Leiden United.

ESN Leiden is part of the larger Erasmus Student Network (ESN) organisation and is one of the biggest interdisciplinary student associations in Europe. ESN Leiden organizes events, hosts a mentor programme, provides information for international students relating to their study period in Leiden and has many clubs for every kind of hobby! During the OWL week you will get to know ESN. Want to know more already? Visit ESN.

Leiden United is about meeting students from all over the world and making life-long friendships! It is an initiative for both Dutch students as well as international students. Leiden United forms mixed groups of Dutch and international students, with which you will attend dinners at the big student associations of Leiden and do plenty of other activities. For more information please visit the Leiden United website.

Cultural Associations

Leiden Pride:
Leiden Pride is a non-profit foundation hosting inclusive events of all kinds for the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, etc.) community in and around Leiden, The Netherlands. Leiden Pride prides itself on being able to provide an inclusive and safe environment for all individuals involved in the LGBTQI+ community regardless of their background, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, and socio-economic status. Please visit our website, or follow us on Facebook or Instagram for more information.

Do you like to play tabletop-, board-, card- and video games and are you studying at Leiden University? Then LSSV Het Duivelsei is the perfect students association for you! With a members fee of only €35,- euro’s we’re one of the cheapest students associations in Leiden. Only staying here for six months? We have a special price for exchange students who are only interested in joining for half a year: simply half the price (€17,50,-) !
Check their website.

Prometheus is Leiden’s cultural student society. Every Wednesday evening, we organise lectures with subjects ranging from genetically engineered fish to Dutch medieval literature. Other activities include workshops and film screenings on alternating Tuesdays, and on the weekends, we might visit a museum or attend a dance performance. In addition, we have two weekend trips a year, and one longer excursion in Europe. Of course, all of our activities are followed by drinks at Café de Keyzer! On top of all this, there are the guilds: small groups of people who share a common interest such as literature, blues and jazz, or even shopping at IKEA! More than a hundred and fifty students from all academic fields are here to welcome you. Membership is only 35 euros a year, and membership is open to all, but do bear in mind that most activities are conducted in Dutch. For more information, pay a visit to their site or send an e-mail to!

Leiden Debating Union:
If you want to mix with Dutch students in an English-language environment and learn an awesome new skill then the Leiden Debating Union is the society for you! We are a society that practices competitive debating, a sport based on arguing on assigned topics in a set format. Since almost all our debates and most debating tournaments we go to are in English you can immediately participate and become an awesome debater. Find out more about how to participate in one of our evenings for free at our website.

Internationally Oriented Associations

Besides the aforementioned ESN and Leiden United there are various other international oriented associations.

AEGEE-Leiden is the European Students’ Association of Leiden. AEGEE is the biggest student associations in Europe, covering 200 cities in 40 countries and uniting 13,000 students. AEGEE focuses on cultural exchange, active citizenship and higher education. As a member of AEGEE-Leiden, (which you can become for only €50,- a year!), you are a member of the entire European network. This means that you can apply for all activities that are organized by any AEGEE-local in Europe, of which the Summer Universities are the best example. But in Leiden we also have a wide range of activities: parties, lectures and a social drink on Tuesday.
For more information, please check: facebook AEGEE Leiden or their website: AEGEE Leiden

SIB Leiden and is an organization that focusses on international relations. They organize international dinner parties, movie nights, lectures and forums. Each year they organize several trips abroad. The organization is partially composed of theme groups, each with a different focus. For example, they have groups that focus on development issues or international organizations and groups that focus on specific continents. Many of the activities are in English and international students pay half the annual membership. Check their website for more information.

The Association of Chinese Students and Scholars (ACSSNL):
The ACSSNL exists especially for Chinese students/scholars in the Netherlands.
They have a strong local association structure ensuring students are supported in all aspects of life in the Netherlands. The association wants to ensure that the views of Chinese students and scholars are heard and represented effectively. For more information, check their website.

Sports Clubs

At Leiden University, you can practice a large number of sports, both on a recreational and on a competitive basis. If you are interested in a specific sport, you can join a sports club as well. Student sports clubs are easily to find through the website of the University Sports Centre.
This is a perfect combination of sports, meeting new people and fun (activities)! You can find sports clubs for 19 different sports, so there is enough to choose from!

Student Fraternities

Student fraternities are typical for Dutch student cities and especially in Leiden. Most of them are accessible for foreign students. The largest fraternities are: LSV Minerva, LVVS Augustinus, ALSV Quintus, VSL Catena and SSR-Leiden. You can read more general information on this webpage: Student Fraternities Leiden.

Study Associations

Every study department has its own student association. They offer a wide variety of extracurricular activities that are study-related; think of guest lecturers or symposia. Study associations offer book sales as well, most of them with a discount! Furthermore most study associations organize parties and social activities, like trips and movie nights. Examples of study associations are Labyrint for Psychology, JFV Grotius for Law and BIL for Public Administration.

Religious Associations

The two largest religious communities in the Netherlands are the Protestant and the Catholic. Third on this list is the Muslim community. This is especially true in the bigger cities. A wide range of different religious centers (churches, mosques and a synagogue) can be found in Leiden and the area. If you want to know more, please check out the link . It provides information about services and religious student associations.

Contrast Leiden:
Contrast connects Dutch and international students and is brought to you by Christian students from around Leiden. Our aim is to make international students feel at home in Leiden. Contrast organizes lots of informal, small-scale events during which you can really, properly meet other Dutch and international students, and hopefully build friendships. You don’t have to be a Christian to come along; everyone is welcome. Check their website.

Radiate Leiden:Radiate is the student group of the International Church of Leiden. We meet every Tuesday to have dinner together and afterwards have a Bible study or a social night. We also offer mentorships with adults from our church, Alpha courses (to understand the basics of Christianity) and opportunities to volunteer in different areas. You’re welcome to join us at ICL on Sundays or Radiate on Tuesdays.