Save your signature
During the recent restoration of the AcademyBuilding, it became clear that the famous Sweat Room was in urgent need of renovation. The plaster is coming loose and cracks are appearing in several places on the walls, so that many of the Leidenalumni signatures are in danger of being lost.
We would like to ask you for a contribution to the restoration of the Sweat Room. With your support we will be able to restore the walls to their original state, and this important room will retain all its signatures for posterity.
What is the origin of the Sweat Room?
This used to be the room where candidates would wait for their doctoral examination. It was a nerve-racking time, and the students would often break out in a cold sweat. Hence the name.
You only really graduate from Leiden University once your signature appears in the Sweat Room.
It is a Leiden tradition for graduates, once they have received their diploma, to pencil their signature on one of the walls of this very famous small room in the Academy Building.
The room was originally a meeting room for the curators of the University. Later it was used as a store and a kind of second Senate Chamber for examinations. It was not until the 18th century that it was used as the waiting room that gives it its present name.
We do not know who was the first student to inscribe his name on the wall while waiting to take his exam, nor do we know when this took place. This first signature was the start of a long tradition, although students are now only invited to add their signature after they have graduated
or been awarded their doctorate. Famous Leiden alumni whose signatures adorn the walls include Queen Beatrix and Queen Juliana, King Willem-Alexander and Erik Hazelhoff Roelfzema, Soldier of Orange. There are also signatures of such famous people as Queen Wilhelmina, Nelson Mandela and Winston Churchill.
In urgent need of renovation
Corrie van Maris, collection specialist for the Academic Historic Museum, is responsible for managing the historic parts of the Academy Building: ‘We do all we can to keep this unique location, that holds such special memories for so many Leiden alumni, in good condition. The walls of the Sweat Room are currently in a poor state of repair. We need to take action soon if we want to save this historic room with the signatures of so many alumni.’
Would you like to contribute to the preservation of the Sweat Room?