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WHO KNOWS theme of Leiden European City of Science 2022

Leiden will be scientific capital of Europe in 2022. The theme of the festivities was announce on 28 October: Who Knows. After all, does anyone have a monopoloy on wisdom these days? Who decides what is true? And does anyone actually know what the future holds?

Science, knowledge and expertise are part of Leiden’s DNA; packed with knowledge, culture and science, there is a reason Leiden is known as the City of Discoveries. The centuries-old centre of knowledge and culture is famous for its university, which is of international renown.

It therefore makes perfect sense for Leiden to be the European City of Science in 2022, offering a 365-day programme for anyone with an inquiring mind. In addition, Leiden European City of Science offers a long-term perspective for the period after the coronavirus crisis.

Director Meta Knol: ‘In 2022, we can hopefully breathe new life into public life. We plan to design an interactive programme that will appeal to everyone: from top-class international scientists to local amateur inventors. We will raise the profile of science, knowledge, art and expertise through local action, on a national stage, with international appeal.’

Who Knows

Who Knows touches upon the spirit of our times, an era in which people are searching for reliable information while the authority of science is brought into question. You can read it with a question mark, an exclamation mark, a colon or a full stop. It raises the topical question of how we can safeguard access to knowledge, and what this means to every one of us. Who Knows is also a firm nod to the discoveries that are waiting to happen. It symbolises the eternal, inquisitive thirst for knowledge. Lucien Geelhoed, intendant responsible for the content of the programme: ‘For one whole year, Leiden 2022 will focus on curiosity and questions, on healthy inquisitiveness and sharing knowledge. Knowledge has intrinsic value. You are what you know.’

Promotional video

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Programme for 2022

In 2022, Leiden will be the prestigious European stage for the Dutch field of knowledge, a place where renowned international scientists will meet to attend lectures, to share knowledge and to enter into debate. In addition, an interactive 365­day programme will run in 101 neighbourhoods in Leiden and the surrounding region, under the motto ‘A little bit wiser every day’ (‘Elke dag een stukje wijzer’). The Leiden European City of Science 2022 programme consists of three separate lines: Contemplate, Participate and Celebrate. An example of the Contemplate programme line is ‘EuroScience Open Forum’, an interdisciplinary scientific conference that will be held in Leiden in July 2022. The Local Knowledge Flow project (Kennis door de Wijken), which involves intensive collaboration with local instigators, will be the main backbone of Participate. Finally, the Celebrate programme line provides a stage for celebrating science, knowledge, art and expertise through exhibitions, presentations, awards and events.


Leiden European City of Science is an initiative of the Founding Partners: Leiden University, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Municipality of Leiden. During the livestream, it was announced that University of Applied Sciences Leiden would join the Founding Partners for Leiden 2022. This means that all of the participants in the Leiden City of Science agreement (2017) are now represented in the organisation. Joined by other partners from in and around the city, they will be responsible for organising Leiden European City of Science in 2022. Naturally, this will involve an extensive cultural programme organised together with local museums, theatres, creative talents and artists from Leiden and the surrounding area. The Bio Science Park in Leiden makes it the perfect breeding ground for bonds between science and the knowledge-intensive business world.

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