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Leiden2022: European City of Science

Leiden2022 is a 365-day science festival for everyone who has a sense of curiosity. Scientists from Leiden University will be making a major contribution. On 10 November, Leiden2022 presented the programme for the coming year, when Leiden will be European City of Science.

A tear-off calendar, a special beer (a sip of science), a new website for the festive launch in Naturalis are just a few of the things planned. There were warm messages from Paris (Shamila Nair-Bedouelle from Unesco), Brussels (EU Commissioner Jean-Eric Paquet) and The Hague (Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven from Education, Culture and Science). The three main elements of the programme were presented: 

  • 365 days for the curious-minded: interesting activities will be organised every day in neighbourhoods in Leiden and the surrounding villages, and on local radio. You can find the topics on the tear-off calendar.  
  • EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF), the biggest multidisciplinary conference in Europe, will be held from 13-16 July in Leiden.  
  • EUCYS, a competition for talented young scientists up to the age of 20 will be held from 12-18 September in Leiden. 

Tear-off calendar

All the activities that are part of Leiden2022 will have their own QR code. The QR code is also the Leiden2022 house style. The tear-off calendar, which will be available free of charge in the coming period, features a different subject every day, each with a QR code that will take you to the website showing the day's programme. At the launch, Meta Knol, director of Leiden2022, told us that the website currently already has about 10% of its future content, but the programme will be finalised and added to the website in the coming months.  

A fantastic example of teamwork

Annetje Ottow, President of the Executive Board of Leiden University, was present at the launch. Ottow: 'What's so great about Leiden2022 is that it's a fantastic example of teamwork, bringing together the strengths of so many people. We are proud to have been one of the initiators of Leiden European City of Science, and we're looking forward enormously to contributing to the programme, together with our partners, the LUMC, the municipality of Leiden, the Leiden University of Applied Sciences and Naturalis. I've already been hearing from our scientists about the many exciting activities they are planning -from sessions during the ESOF conference to an afternoon in a local community centre and walking tours of the city. The efforts of our researchers and students will be a key element of the festival over the coming year and I am delighted that everyone at our University is so enthusiastic and determined to make the festival a success.' 

The University's contribution

As the biggest knowledge institution in Leiden, the University is making a considerable contribution to the Leiden2022 programme. Below are some examples from the programme:  

ESOF conference

From 13-16 July, national and international researchers will be holding debates with policymakers, public officials, people from the business sector and journalists during the ESOF conference. EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) is Europe's biggest multidisciplinary scientific conference.

The five scientific themes of the conference are the key themes of the present day, including a sustainable society, cultural identity and societal transformation (think of such topics as migration and protest movements), freedom and social responsibility and a healthy society. Science working with society is one of the key themes of ESOF.

Leiden professors Corinne Hofman and Ferry Breedveld have determined the themes of EDOF, together with a scientific advisory council including representatives from all seven Leiden faculties. The call for proposals is open until 30 November 2021. Read the interview with Corinne Hofman about ESOF.

EUCYS: young researchers

EUCYS is the EU Contest for Young Scientists. National winners will be chosen in over 40 countries who will meet up in Leiden in September 2022. Henk Hoekstra, professor of Observational Cosmology, attended EUCYS 1991 in Zurich when he was a first-year student. During the launch of Leiden2022, he looked back on that experience: 'For me it was the first time that I was able to meet up with a group of young people who shared my passion for science. EUCYS is a way for Europe to show how important young researchers are. The message is: you are never too young to play a role in resolving problems. I hope we will be able to give the same inspiration to many curious young minds here in Leiden. That's one of the reasons why I am keen to do my bit to make EUCYS in Leiden a success.'   

Read more about EUCYS

365 days of curiosity

Every day you have the chance to find out more about a topic that arouses your curiosity: online, on radio and through activities in Leiden or the surrounding area. For many of these activities, Leiden scientists will be sharing their knowledge interactively with visitors of all ages. Here are a few examples from the varied list of events: 

  • 2 January: Robots

Joost Broekens from the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) will explain how people and robots work together. Come and experience what robots can mean for us, and you can even learn how to operate a robot yourself! 

Get to know a robot | Leiden2022

  • 21 February: Mother language

On International Mother Language Day (21 February), eight Leiden linguists will organise an open symposium focusing on minority languages. How can passing stories on from generation to generation contribute to preserving minority languages? The researchers will also organise sessions with multilingual Leiden families, where stories and multilingualism will be the main feature.  

A story in a different language: the added value of multilingualism - Leiden University

  • 23 April: Earth

Leiden's Hortus botanicus will welcome visitors on Earth Science Day: there will be stands in the Hortus where visitors can taste, listen and try out different things. Families can take part in a treasure hunt and scientists will give ten-minute pop-up lectures at different places in the garden. 

Earth Science Day | Hortus (hortusleiden.nl)

Life Sciences & Health Week 

For a week in June 2022, Leiden will be the European stage for everything to do with medicine development and health. Researchers and healthcare professionals will come together for a scientific debate while the public can delve into the wodrous future of medicine and disease prevention.The week is being organised by Leiden knowledge institutions, companies and the Leiden Bio Science Park. 

Life Sciences & Health Week | Leiden2022


In 2022, Leiden will be the venue for dozens of different conferences. The League of European Research Universities (LERU) will be celebrating its 20-year anniversary with a conference in Leiden (19-20 May) on the theme of the role of research-intensive universities in creating a resilient and sustainable society.  

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