Coming soon: a new website

Leiden University will shortly have a new website. What will change for internal and external visitors to the site? And for the web editors who work on the site?

500,000 visitors to our homepage

The homepage alone of Leiden University attracts more than half a million visitors a year: school pupils looking for a study programme, academics looking for information about research carried out in Leiden, journalists wanting to get in touch with an expert, partners collaborating with Leiden, job-seekers interested in working for the University and, of course, our students and staff who need information for their studies or their work.

The main changes for visitors

A lot has to be changed, so the renewal of the website will take place in stages. The plan is to go live with the first part of the new website before Christmas 2015, with other parts following in the course of 2016. It’s going to take some time, but it will be worth the wait. The changes are detailed below:



The Leiden University website is made up of more than 60 individual sites.


There will be three sites: an external site for the general public, a site for students and a site for staff.


The structure of the website matches the structure of the organisation and is supply driven.


The website will be organised on the basis of themes and will be demand driven, which makes it much more accessible for visitors.


Few links to other parts of the site.  


Every page will show related information: the page of a researcher, for example, will have a link to the teaching and research in which he or she is involved (and vice versa).


The design of the website is outdated and not suitable for use on mobile devices.  

A fresh, new design, with more room for images and suitable for all screen formats.  


Outdated or incomplete information.


Up-to-date and complete information.


Limited search function.


Extensive search possibilities.

What will change for the web editors

A lot will change for the editors who publish information on the site. There will be a new Content Management System (CMS), Hippo, that is more user friendly, faster and more stable than the current CMS, Tridion. As the new website is a fully integrated system, the information only needs to be modified in one place, and will appear automatically in other relevant places. To see that this runs smoothly, the web editors will work together more closely. The principles for the editorial structure and content of the new site have been agreed in discussion with the senior web editors at the faculties. Another advantage is that the new site structure will make it easier to track visitor behaviour via visitor statistics. The information from these statistics will in turn make it easier for the web editors to continue to make the site more user friendly.

Links to other websites

Not all types of information are ideally suited for the structured design of the new website. One new element in the project is the so-called ‘free space’, with templates for, for instance, personal websites, weblogs or conference websites – for anyone who needs these. Linking additional websites to the overall website will have mutual benefits.

The website will be renewed in stages. The first stage comprises the following parts of the external website: homepage, news, coming events, research, researchers, faculties. Work will continue on the following sites in 2016:

  • Student website

  • Staff website

  • Other parts, including teaching and prospective students, ‘working at’, alumni, library, free space


‘Complex project’

Henk Bodt is programme manager for the DIS 2.0 project:

‘DIS stands for Digital Information Strategy, which shows straight away how complex the project is and that it affects many different processes and many different parts of the University. I know the kinds of problems that this involves, from previous projects with organisations like Achmea, Rijkswaterstaat and KPN. There’s more to it than just launching a new CMS. What’s we’re actually doing is re-inventing the University website and all the processes that go on behind the scenes. At the point when you launch the new website all the different aspects have to come together: technical, design, people and content.’


‘Ambitions for the new site’

Jos de Kooker is Web Communications Adviser at Strategic Communication and Marketing (SC&M):

‘If you have ambitions for your website – and the University certainly does have ambitions – there are a lot of issues that have to be addressed simultaneously, from technology and content to design. Our website is  big and complex: more than a hundred editors work on it every day, at the faculties, within SC&M and other departments. That makes heavy demands of the systems we use as well of the underlying structure of the site. Ultimately, what matters is the content. Now is the time to clean up the content of the website, to present the information as attractively as possible and – most important of all – to present it in a way that will appeal to visitors. It’s like moving house: you look at what you want to take with you, what needs a lick of paint and what can be thrown away.’


More information

You will shortly be informed within your faculty about the practicalities of the new website. If you have any questions about the updating of the site, you can contact your faculty senior web editor or Jos de Kooker (Web Communication Adviser, SC&M).

(3 November 2015)

Last Modified: 03-11-2015