Sixth edition of the Rapenburg Race on September 14, 2024!


Volunteers wanted for September 14!

Would you like to contribute to this beautiful Leiden event and help improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injury? Then sign up now as a volunteer for the Rapenburg Race on Saturday, September 14, 2024. The day will take place from 11:00-20:00. Together across Leiden! All help is welcome!

Become a volunteer!


Swim along for research on spinal cord injury

The Rapenburg Race is an annual swimming competition that raises money for a good cause: improving the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries. Every year hundreds of people swim 800 metres through the most beautiful canal in the city. The finish will be at the Steenschuur, where there will be live music, food and drink and a lot of fun all day long. In short: it promises to be a great day again!

Swim along!


The Rapenburg Race is a student initiative and is supported by all student associations in Leiden. Starting points are to draw attention to spinal cord injury research and to build a bridge between the city of Leiden and all its inhabitants. The reason for the initiative is the impressive story of Leiden student Maarten Jorissen. In the summer of 2016, he suffered a spinal cord injury due to an accident. After several operations and long rehabilitation, he started his master's degree in corporate law at Leiden University and is now a lawyer. The organization looks with respect at what he has achieved and continued to look positively at life despite all setbacks. We grant that perspective to all people with spinal cord injury.

In the Netherlands, between 12,000 and 15,000 people live with a spinal cord injury. Of these, 12% are under the age of 30. Due to an accident, illness or just plain dumb luck, they lost control of their bodies instantly. It is a nightmare that becomes reality when nerve failure suddenly changes life forever and obvious things like walking or going to the bathroom are suddenly no longer possible. People with paraplegia are also at much higher risk for kidney failure, bowel problems, lung problems and vascular problems. Learn more at



Aftermovie Rapenburg Race Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023:

Last year was the lustrum edition of the Rapenburg Race and this was a great success. It was a great day! Will you be there next year as well?

More information: Rapenburg Race Committee, chairman Mies Geskes 06-14730335 or


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Our History

On June 23, 2018, the first Rapenburg Race was organized in Leiden. The Rapenburg Race is a swimming competition covering 800 meters through the most famous canal in the Netherlands. During the first edition, funds were raised for educational projects benefiting refugee children. The second edition took place on September 21, 2019, and the proceeds were dedicated to research aimed at improving the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries. This cause remains unchanged ever since!

On September 19, 2020, the third edition of the race was scheduled, but unfortunately, it had to be canceled due to COVID-19. As a result, we launched an alternative action by creating a mini-series called 'A Day In The Life Of!' and an online symposium. You can still watch the mini-series through the menu on the left side of the page. Lastly, together with our 700 swimmers, we managed to raise 112,500 euros last year! It marked our first lustrum.

This year, the Rapenburg Race will take place on Saturday, September 14. We plan to make it grander than ever before! Will you join us too?

If you would like more information about the faces behind the Rapenburg Race, please visit our 'about us!' page!

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01/03/2023 | 20:47

Inschrijvingen geopend 2023

ZWEM MEE MET DE RAPENBURG RACE 2023! De inschrijvingen voor de Rapenburg Race zijn geopend! Schrijf je in als een team of individueel en zwem op 16 september mee met de lustrumeditie! Hopenlijk zien we jou dit jaar in het water!   Schrijf je in!
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The first Rapenburg Race was organized in Leiden on the 23th in June 2018. The Rapenburg Race is an 800 meter swimming competition through the most famous canal in the Netherlands. In 2018, money was raised for educational projects for refugee children. The second edition was organized the 21st of September 2019. The money that was raised went to research to improve the quality of life for people with paraplegia.