Quartermaster to explore possible Leiden Law Park
Over the coming year, a quartermaster will explore the possibility of a Leiden Law Park in the centre of Leiden. In a building close to Leiden Law School, researchers, students and legal companies and start-ups would together address the topics of technology, law and ethics.
Innovation hub on Raamsteeg
The building that might be suitable for the Leiden Law Park is the former Museum of Natural History at Raamsteeg 2. It currently has no official designation. Jan Hendrik Schretlen has been appointed as the quartermaster for the project and was introduced at a meeting with representatives from the Municipality and the Province and researchers and students from Leiden Law School. He has a year in which to issue his recommendations on whether the idea is feasible. He will also investigate how this innovation hub in the city centre would be funded. Leiden Law Park will facilitate cross-pollination between academia and business, as has proven so successful at the Leiden Bio Science Park.
Initiative of Leiden Law School
Leiden Law Park is the initiative of Leiden Law School, and the plan is supported by the Municipality of Leiden and the Province of Zuid-Holland. Leiden Law School envisages Leiden Law Park being a lively place where researchers and students work together with the business community.
Leiden Law Park should also be for the city’s residents. They could go there to ask students any legal questions they might have or could attend meetings and public lectures. ‘I see it as a great boost for innovation and collaboration,’ says Joanne van der Leun from Leiden Law School.
Van der Leun underscores how she wants the plans to be developed in consultation with the people of Leiden. Schretlen also emphasises that the people of the city will be involved. ‘We are going to speak to local residents soon, for instance.’
Leiden City of Knowledge
Alderman Paul Dirkse from the Municipality of Leiden is enthusiastic too: ‘It’s a great idea that will help strengthen Leiden’s reputation as an international city of knowledge. Leiden Law School has earned international prestige and has close ties to our city. The plan will not only benefit Leiden Law School itself but the local economy too, which in turn will benefit the entire city.’
Dimitrie Morrison, Head of Economic Affairs at the Province of Zuid-Holland, adds, ‘This is important not just locally but also for the whole region. The Park would be an innovative knowledge cluster with a broad appeal to citizens, businesses and government.’
In his study, Schretlen will focus on the five main prongs of Leiden Law Park. Schretlen: ‘The first is that it would be an open, physical location – the building on Raamsteeg – in which we would create a community. The second is that we will focus on innovative solutions to issues facing society. The third is that we want to inspire entrepreneurial students from the University to join in. The fourth is that we want to encourage economic activity, but then as a growth model: local residents needn’t worry about a sudden flurry of activity. And the fifth is the central location, and of the city of Leiden in particular. It is so close to Schiphol and big cities such as The Hague and Rotterdam, which is a huge advantage.’