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rapenburg canal
dinner in the temple hall

The National Museum of Antiquities is situated on one of the most picturesque canals in Leiden, the Rapenburg. It houses the national collection of objects from Dutch sites, from the Prehistoric period to the Middle Ages, as well as large representative collections of the material remains of the most important ancient cultures of the Mediterranean region: Egypt, the Near East, Greece, and Italy.

It also boasts an unbeatable collection of Egyptian mummies and artifacts. The Egyptian collection, which numbers some 23,000 pieces, includes some which were collected as early as the 1620s by a Dutch citizen visiting the area of Saqqara.

It is one of the oldest state museums in Europe and the only general museum for archaeology in The Netherlands. It was founded in 1818 at the instigation of King Willem I, the first ruler of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

From the outside, the museum may look small and unprepossessing; but step inside and a visitor comes face to face with a transplanted Egyptian temple, the Nubian Temple of Taffeh in the lobby. And this is where we shall dine.

But not only will we dine in this magnificent Temple-hall, all the rooms of the museum will be opened especially for us throughout the duration of the evening, so we can visit its many treasures at our leisure.