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Never too young to learn: Leiden University in the 3 October parade

For the first time ever, a float from Leiden University is taking part in the Grand Parade during the Relief of Leiden or Leidens Ontzet. October 3 is one big party in Leiden, and the University is joining in big style to celebrate its 444th anniversary.

A cast of over 130 will represent Leiden University in the Grand Parade. This year’s theme is ‘Jong geleerd is oud gedaan,’ meaning something along the lines of, ‘You’re never too young to learn.’ This has provided the inspiration for the University’s entry, which will lead the parade on 3 October. A unique procession of the University’s professors and their children or grandchildren will walk alongside the float, which is inspired by Leiden Observatory and shows academia from past to present. The procession will obviously include students from through the ages, as well as staff from all around the world. The city of Leiden will thus see all facets of the University, as we all celebrate 445 years of liberation from the Spanish and 444 years of Leiden University.

Gift from William of Orange

On 3 October, Leiden celebrates beating the Spanish during the Eighty Years’ War. After a long siege, the city of Leiden was liberated, and the Sea Beggars brought herring and white bread for the starving populace. William of Orange, the leader of the revolt, wanted to thank Leiden for its courageous resistance. Legend has it that the city could choose a gift: no more taxes or a university. Leiden chose the latter, and Leiden University became a fact in 1575.

Links between city and University

Now, 444 years later, it is time for the University to give a gift to the city. This is in the form of our 444th-anniversary celebrations in a year full of activities for young and old. And to emphasise the special link between the Relief of Leiden and the University’s foundation, the University will be there in all its glory at the Grand Parade on 3 October.

Come and watch the Grand Parade on 3 October

The Grand Parade is one of the highlights of the Relief of Leiden celebrations. On 3 October, hundreds of people from Leiden, young and old, follow a route through the centre of the city. The theme this year is ‘Jong Geleerd,’ and this will inspire all the costumes and floats. The parade will set off at 13:00 hours. Route and more information (in Dutch).

Want to know what the University float looks like? Check the sneak preview below!

3 October University

Is there life on other planets? Can orangutans fall in love? How do you dig up a dinosaur? What is true and false on the internet? This year’s 3 October University is especially for children. Researchers from Leiden University will be waiting to answer all your questions in the tent in the Van der Werf Park. Come and see, hear and experience science – even if you’re no longer a child yourself!

Programme (in Dutch):

  • 12:15 - 13:00: Tom Roth and Ajouad el Miloudi on Tinder for orangutans
  • 13:15 - 13:45: Anne Schulp on digging up dinosaurs
  • 14:00 - 14:30: Alexander Pleijter on how to recognise fake news on the internet
  • 14:45 - 15:15: Ignas Snellen on extraterrestrial worlds

More information (in Dutch)

The Relief of Leiden and the foundation of the University

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