King opens new wing of Leiden Instrumentmakers School
King Willem-Alexander visited Leiden on 6 December to open the new wing of the Leiden Instrumentmakers School. Students of this vocational programme make instruments needed for scientific research.
Questions for students
The king was quickly set to work in the new wing on the Bio Science Park: wearing protective glasses, he blew glass at an open fire, attached wires and tightened screws. Assisted by two students, he illuminated a model of two keys, symbol of the city of Leiden. While all this was going on, the king had a lot of questions for the students, about the sophisticated equipment the students worked with and where the instruments they made were used.
Pollen sensor LUMC
The Leiden Instrumentmakers School (LiS), a vocational school for precision technology, is celebrating its 115-year anniversary this year. Graduates of the school, all precision instrumentmakers, construct instruments for the medical sector, the air and space industry, the high-tech industry and for university research departments. Students of the school have made such devices as a pollen sensor for LUMC to measure pollen in the air, and highly sensitive measuring apparatus for studying microbes such as bacteria and fungi.
Founded by Nobel Prize winner Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
The link with the university has existed since the foundation of the LiS in 1901. Leiden professor and Nobel Prize winner Heike Kamerlingh Onnes founded the school because he and his fellow scientists needed specialists who could develop the tools required for the scientists' research.
Discoveries depend on sophisticated apparatus
This special school with 380 students is the smallest vocational school of its kind the Netherlands. But the demand for these technical specialists is growing and a new building was needed so that more students could be trained in the most up-to-date teaching facilities.The school hopes to start a higher level training programme in 2017. The king praised the students for their highly specialised technical knowledge, sentiments that were echoed by director Dick Harms. The instrumentmakers produce the sophisticated apparatus that scientists need to be able to make their discoveries.
(LvP/Photos Monique Shaw)