The Times wrote: ‘This is one of the most important scientific and medical history collections in the world’. As a national treasury of science, Museum Boerhaave puts five centuries of history on display regarding natural sciences and medicine. The emphasis lies on contributions from the Netherlands, including the microscopes made by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, the oldest Dutch planetarium, inventions by Christiaan Huygens and objects once owned by Dutch Nobel Prize laureates. The museum was named after legendary professor Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) who made Leiden University into the most famous institute of higher learning of Europe. It is situated in the former Caecilia hospital which is a museum all on its own. This listed building dates from 1440 and is located right in the middle of downtown Leiden.
Museum Boerhaave has several historical rooms at its disposal for business gatherings such as meetings, presentations, symposiums or dinners: from the Anatomical Theatre for 35 people to the Auditorium for 150 people. In good weather, the characteristic courtyard garden can be used. In consultation meetings can get tailor-made with explanatory lectures and guided tours.
The Anatomical Theatre in the museum is the only one of its kind in the Netherlands. It is a replica of the theatre which was opened in Leiden at Rapenburg in 1594. This was where people demonstrated what humans looked like on the inside by dissecting dead human bodies on the slab. The film in the Anatomical Theatre – which was awarded multiple international awards – takes the visitor along through seven centuries of science in seven minutes. The film shows what it is all about in science: curiosity, guts, creativity and perseverance.
The interior of the museum will be renovated in 2016. Museum Boerhaave will be reopening in mid-2017, after which its rooms will be available for rent again.
The museum is situated at about a 10-minute walk from Leiden Central Station. For visitors who arrive by car, the museum advises parking at the Haagweg car park. Free shuttle buses leave from this location to the museum. In 2017, the new Lammermarkt underground car park near Molen de Valk will be ready. From this car park, the museum will be accessible within a few minutes.