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Student wellbeing

Leiden University's Winter Weeks

Tuesday 19 December 2023 - Tuesday 2 January 2024
Leiden and The Hague

Meet with other students and take part in fun activities!

Spending the festive season away from home? Get together with fellow students from all over the world during the Winter Weeks from 19 December to 2 January. Make new friends and have a great international winter break! You can take part in a range of free activities such as ice skating and a magical UV light tour through the Hortus.

Some activities have limited availability so sign-up today!

Programme Winter Weeks 2023

Programme Winter Weeks

16:30-17:30 - Magical UV light tour through the Hortus (ENG) - Leiden

Location: Hortus botanicus Leiden

The Hortus kicks off the darkest month of the year with bright spots in the tropical greenhouses. Discover the magic of plants during a Magical UV light excursion. When the tour guide shines the UV lamp on plants, you'll see surreal colours. Why do some flowers turn intense blue and what is the story behind that glowing carnivorous plant? Come and marvel!

Register - Hortus UV light tour

19:00-21:30 - Catena's movie night (ENG/NL) - Leiden

Location: Catena, Kolfmakersteeg 8, 2311 VG Leiden

As in previous years, V.S.L Catena is organizing a movie night where students are welcome to watch a fun movie together in the movie room. We have cinema seats to simulate the real cinema experience. Enjoy some popcorn and have a great time!

Register - movie night

17:00-20:00 – Winter Dinner (ENG) - Leiden

Location: Plexus, Kaiserstraat 25, 2311 GN Leiden.

The Meeting Point invites you to wrap up this year together by attending its annual Winter Dinner. This is an excellent opportunity to reconnect with your peers, enjoy delicious food, and socialize. Additionally, you can showcase your culinary creativity and culinary culture.

This Winter Dinner will be a potluck, we invite you to contribute by bringing a dish to share with others. Whether you choose to prepare a hearty main course, a delectable dessert, or a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage, your contribution will undoubtedly enhance the communal experience.

Register - Potluck Winter dinner (registration possible until 17 December)

20:30-22:00 - Christmas Karaoke Singalong (ENG/NL) – Leiden

Location: SSR, Hogewoerd 108, 2311 HT Leiden.

For the Winter Weeks, SSR is hosting a Christmas karaoke singalong. To embrace the Christmas spirit there will be hot chocolate available. Come and join us for a karaoke session with your favourite Christmas songs. Registration is not required.

15:00-16:30 - Christmas Carol Singing (ENG) - Leiden

Location: Lipsius, 2.34.

Everyone knows how quickly our holiday schedules fill up. But if you are looking for an activity to really get you into the Christmas spirit, you should definitely make time for this Christmas carol workshop. We will be singing a traditional Christmas repertoire, from Gregorian chants to Michael Bublé tunes, both in solo and multiple voice settings!

Register - Singing Christmas Carols

13:30-16:00 - Creative Writing: Found Poetry (ENG) – The Hague

Location: Wijnhaven, room 2.10B.

Poetry does not just live in the minds of such exalted talents as Maggie Smith and Ocean Vuong; it is all around us and, with the right eye and a good amount of practice, it can be distilled from the myriad of texts surrounding us, brought to the surface, re-examined in new contexts, and become art.

In this workshop, we will scour everything from speeches and news briefings, to traffic signs and menus for that poetic spark and experiment with making these words our own. We will also discuss related topics such as the concept of authorship and what it is that defines poetry.

This workshop is perfect for those who are new to poetry and looking for an accessible first taste, as well as seasoned poets in search of new techniques.

Register - Creative Writing

18:00-20:00 - Drawing session for Christmas cards and watercolor Winter landscapes (ENG) - The Hague

Location: Beehive, common room.

ESN The Hague invites students to join its drawing session for Christmas cards and watercolouring. We will have tasty snacks, a cosey occasion and joyful music according to the time of the year. During the event, students can design Christmas cards for their loved ones and follow their passion in water colouring. Also, we will be happy to answer any question regarding the Erasmus Student Network and its over 450 sections in 40 countries. 

Register - Drawing session Christmas cards

13:30-15:30 – Escape Tour (ENG) – The Hague

Start location: Rond de Grote Kerk 12, The Hague.

Join the Escape Tour with your fellow students and transport yourself back in time with the Escape Tour The Hague. Step into the shoes of King William III as you explore the city of The Hague on your quest to discover a secret passage. Take on various assignments in this city game, follow the clues, and unveil the hidden passage within the royal house of King William III. Your exciting journey begins at St. Jacobskerk. Good luck!

Register - Escape Tour

10:00-12:00 – Bouldering (ENG/NL) – Leiden

Location: Boulderhal Krachtstof.

Bouldering is a great way to exercise. It is a climbing sport, but unlike sport-climbing (which is done with a rope), bouldering routes are much shorter. This allows you to climb without a rope. A thick fall mat under the wall ensures that you can fall safely. The boulder routes are designed so that a combination of strength and technique is needed to complete the route. Every boulder is a new puzzle!

This activity is hosted in association with Social Creators.

Register - Bouldering

12:00-14:30 - Tote bag painting (ENG/NL) – The Hague

Experience the joy of Christmas at our Tote Bag Painting event! Join this merry student gathering where you'll design and paint your own festive tote bag. We will provide all materials. Embrace the season's magic as you create unique designs—whether traditional or modern. Come solo or with your friends for a creative, joy-filled holiday celebration!

This activity is hosted in association with Uni-life.

Register - Tote bag painting

12:00-14:00 - Christmas lunch (ENG) - Leiden

Location: Plexus Student Centre, Living Room.

If you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you are with...

Join this festive lunch around the Christmas tree at Plexus. Hospitality and generosity are key aspects of this season so what better way to show it than by sharing food together. Vegan, Vegatarian and Glutenfree options are available.

Register - Christmas Lunch

15:00-17:00 - Photography walk (ENG) - The Hague

Start location: in front of theatre Diligentia.

Would you like to learn how to take better photographs while exploring The Hague? Or just enjoy capturing moments while meeting new people? Then join us for the Photography Walk The Hague.

A little bit about the workshop leader: I’m Mar and obtained my BA Photography degree at the Royal Academy of the Art | KABK in The Hague. I would love to show you around, share a few of my favourite spots in the city and answer questions you may have, to improve your photography skills. This tour is perfect for absolute beginners to semi-pro photographers. You are welcome to come along with your camera-phone, or digital camera - from iPhone to Hasselblad, Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Leica, Panasonic - you name it and above all let’s learn from each other!

Register - Photography Walk

14:00-15:00/16:30 - Ice skating lesson (ENG) - The Hague

Location: Uithof, Jaap Edenweg 10, The Hague.

Skating rink De Uithof is the perfect place for an afternoon of skating. No worries if you have never skated before. We have an instructor ready to get you on your way and teach you all the tricks. The class lasts 15:00 hrs after which there is free skating until 16:30.

Register - Ice skating

15:00-17:00 - Board Games (ENG) - Leiden

Location: Het Gebouw, Arubapad 2, 2315VA Leiden

Social Creators brings young people (18-35) from Leiden together by organizing fun activities and voltuntary work. Social Creators & the University invite you to join us for an afternoon of playing boardgames, while enjoying a gluhwein or other beverage.

Register - Board Games

15:00-17:30 - Painting (ENG/NL) - Leiden

Location: International House, near Plexus Student Centre

Do you want to drink chocolate milk while painting with 30 other International/Dutch students during your Christmas break? Come to our activity! Whether you are creative or not, it will be fun!

Register- Painting

13:00-15:00 - Oliebollen walk (ENG) - Leiden

Start Location: in front of Augustinus student association, Rapenburg 24, Leiden.

During the Winter Walk, or ‘oliebollen wandeling’, you can enjoy a snack and a hot drink while exploring the city centre of Leiden. The winter is not complete without a good winter walk, so be sure to join us! During the Winter Walk, we form groups of two, will stop at L.V.V.S. Augustus for the most important thing of the day: the oliebollen. Make the most of the last day of 2023 and join this walk!

Register - Oliebollen walk

15:00-16:00 - How to become more zen (ENG) – The Hague

Location: Wijnhaven, 2.60.

Do you ever experience stress (performance pressure, time pressure, fear of missing out) and would you like to be a little more zen? Then this is your chance. In this one-hour Zen workshop you will learn Zen techniques, background information about the age-old Zen philosophy and practical tips. Zen is the art of living: the central theme is doing one thing at a time with all your attention. Meditation is an important aspect of Zen. Taking the time to process the many impressions we gain every day can help you on your way to peace of mind.

Register Zen Course

Programme subject to change.

Free Fitness & Group lessons*

During the Winter Weeks, USC & Buzz have a special offer. One month of free sport to get your new year off to a healthy start. Pre-registration required by 17 December! Check out the opening hours of USC & Buzz.

*All classes are open during this period, except for courses you must register for.

Other fun & (almost) free winter activities for students

In addition to our own Winter Weeks programme, we have listed a few other activities that students can enjoy in Leiden and The Hague. Fancy going to one of these activities but don't want to go alone? Host or join a meet-up via the Uni-life app.

Winter Wonderland Christmas market – The Hague

Visit the website for more information.

22:00-04:00 – Student Closing Party – The Hague

Visit the website for more information.

12:00 - New Year’s Dive – The Hague

Visit the website for more information.

10:00-21:00 - Floating ice rink - Leiden

Visit the website for more information.

16:00-22:00 - Winter Walhalla – Leiden

Visit the website for more information.

Need a listening ear?

If you need a listening ear during this period, contact Rapenburg100. Available daily (7 days a week) between 16.00-18.00 - 20.00-22.00 or on phone number 071 - 744 0168. Also during the holidays!

For an overview of all well-being activities and services, visit the well-being website

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