New strategy for Leiden University for the coming 5 years: Freedom to Excel

Leiden University has a new strategic plan. For the coming five years the focus will be on stimulating excellence and talent, innovation in education, building an international research and teaching environment, strengthening impact and innovation and the further expansion of Campus The Hague.


The University can look back on many successes achieved over the past five years in the period of the previous strategic plan Inspiration and Growth. More young people are now opting to study at Leiden University: the number of students currently enrolled has risen by more than a quarter since 2010 (2014: 24,500). More of our students complete their bachelor’s and master’s programmes on time. The University has also become more international, with more of our international students, PhD candidates and academics coming from abroad. Our faculties increasingly work together in effective partnerships: this is one of the successes of our policy of research profiling. Our Campus The Hague has developed into a full-fledged faculty, with activities that are closely linked to the profile of The Hague as the city of international law, peace and justice.

Excellence and talent

With this new institutional plan, Freedom to Excel, we intend to proceed in this same direction with a set of new ambitions. We want Leiden University to be a fruitful environment for excellent research, for stimulating the talents of all our staff and students, for successful study performance and for quality and innovation in education. Our aim is to achieve a greater and more visible impact for our research and education in society. We intend to be a university with an even more explicitly international image, and we are committed to further expansion of Campus The Hague.

The key theme of this institutional plan is ‘Freedom to Excel’, a theme that unites two core values that have characterised our University since its foundation in 1575. Our motto is ‘bastion of freedom’. In a world in which freedom can be taken less and less for granted, Leiden University aims to be a leading international research university that offers its academics and students the opportunity to thrive in an environment where they can develop their potential to the full. We want to be an excellent university that promotes a safer, healthier, more sustainable, more prosperous and more just world – locally, regionally and globally.

Leiden University’s six ambitions for 2015-2020 are:
  1. An environment for excellent research

  2. Activating talent

  3. Innovation in teaching and learning>

  4. Greater impact and more innovation

  5. Research and teaching in an international environment

  6. Expansion of Campus The Hague

Freedom to Excel (version for the general public)

Freedom to Excel (complete version)

Last Modified: 12-02-2015