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Leiden University celebrates 444 years and is coming to you!

Leiden University is 444 years old this year! And we have big plans to celebrate this special birthday in 2019 - together with the people of Leiden and The Hague.

Professors will be visiting junior schools, families and children can join in a treasure hunt through Leiden and The Hague, and staff and students will be celebrating with their neighbours on Neighbours' Day.  This news article gives you a sneak preview of of just some of the 444 events.

In the Town Hall, in classrooms, in cafés and at festivals. With a competition, a bike tour or a podcast. Residents and visitors in  Leiden and The Hague can get to know Leiden University in surprising places, at unexpected moments and in completely new ways during the 444 celebrations. There will be a different event every month, in Leiden and/or The Hague.  

‘We're coming to you’

Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus: 'The doors to our University are often open, but we know that it's mostly the same people who come inside. Not everyone knows us, what we do or where to find us. That's a good reason for us to turn things around for our 444 celebrations: this time, we're coming to you. To your classroom, your neighbourhood, your street. The whole celebration centres around connecting tjhe University with residents of Leiden and The Hague and to the many visitors to the two cities. The University is there for society.' 

Gift to the city

Legend has it that in 1575 Leiden University was given by William of Orange as a gift to the city of Leiden, to reward the people for their brave resistance against the Spanish. 444 years later it is time for another gift to the city: a celebration. And not only for Leiden, but also for The Hague. Because Leiden University is located in both these cities.

66 professors give lessons to school pupils in class 7

The Dies Natalis, Leiden University's 444th birthday marks the official start of the 444 celebrations. That morning, 66 Leiden professors, including Vice-Rector Hester Bijl, and President of KNAW and Professor of Physics Wim van Saarloos, will be giving guest lectures to a total of 1,600 year-7 school pupils at junior shools in Leiden and The Hague.  This Meet the Professor project is an initiative of the Science Hub (Wetenschapsknooppunt).

Robbert Dijkgraaf to receive Honorary Doctorate

The procession of professors in the Pieterskerk on 8 February will have the same musical acompaniment as 444 years ago. Physicist Robbert Dijkgraaf and cell biologist Melissa Little will each be awarded an Honorary Doctorate. On the day after the Dies, on 9 February, Dijkgraaf, along with others including astronomer Ewine van Dishoeck, will give a talk at the Women & Girls in Science Day.

Exhibition in Leiden City Hall

From 25 January, visitors to Leiden's City Hall can view the exhibition on 444 years of City and University. The close links with the Royal Family, student houses, the Leiden Bio Science park and much more: all these things show just what the University and the city mean to one another. There will also be an exhibition in the University Library and the Oude Bibliotheek, the University's central administration building, will be organising an afternoon with public lectures on 20 February.

Valentine's Day: Leiden loves Science

Leiden scientists declare their love for their subject during the Leiden Loves Science evening on 14 February, Valentine's Day, in the National Museum of Antiquities. There will be lectures by Christine Mummery and Honorary Doctor Melissa Little about stem cells and their future. 

Research by and with residents

A new study with and by the residents of Leiden and The Hague, organised by the 444 Citizen Science Project. We will be challenging residents and scientists to come and do some research on interesting social issues. 

Leiden canal run

Leiden University and the Canal Run have something to celebrate together: 2019 is also the year of the 44th Canal Run. To mark our 444th birthday, Leiden Univesity is sponsoring the Canal Run's charities.

Celebrations in The Hague

There will also be 444 activities in The Hague, where Leiden University has also had a location for the past 20 years.  We will be taking part in the Liberation Day festival, one of the biggest parties in The Hague, with a life-size '4 in a row' game, and lectures. There will also be a bike route of 44.4 km between the two university locations.  

Collectors item: 444 socks

The 444 logo was designed by Clara Lezla, a student at the Academy of Art. The logo is the design on the  only true 444 socks. It will also decorate the 444 carrier bike that will be visible in Leiden and The Hague to draw people's attention to the 444 celebrations. 

Photo header: the making of the the 444 City and University exhibition.  (Photo Marc de Haan)

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