Event: Leiden European City of Science 2022 - a 365-day science fest

01/21/2022 | by Leiden University | Event

On Saturday 22 January 2022, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf, will officially mark the beginning of Leiden's year as European City of Science. Leiden will be the first European City of Science to hold a 365-day science festival for anyone with a curious mind. Watch the online opening ceremony of EUniWell partner city Leiden as European City of Science.

Three people are standing on a paved square surrounded by buildings, with a church in the background. They are standing at the open doors of two three-wheeled vans bearing the logo of the European City of Science Leiden 2022. The persons are, from left to right: Annetje Ottow, Auke-Florian Hiemstra, and Leiden Mayor, Henri Lenferink.
Opening of the European City of Science Leiden 2022. From left to right: Annetje Ottow, Auke-Florian Hiemstra, Mayor Henri Lenferink. (Image source: Taco van der Eb)

Leiden will be at the centre of European science in 2022. As European City of Science 2022, Leiden  presents activities, exhibitions, workshops, excursions, and events related to science, knowledge, art and skills. The aim is to connect science and society for a year by engaging the public with the world of science. During international conferences and scientific meetings, the most important topics of our time will be discussed. Leiden2022 will also keep the year exciting for local residents by focusing on a different intriguing topic every day. From international science conferences to local neighbourhood initiatives: Leiden European City of Science 2022 wants to share the world’s knowledge with the heart of society.

Official opening with European Commission and CERN

This Saturday, 22 January, Leiden European City of Science 2022 will be officially opened by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Robbert Dijkgraaf. From 14:00 to 15:00 (CET) / 13:00 to 14:00 (GMT) a festive film premiere will be shown, which everyone is welcome to watch. Prior registration is not necessary. Afterwards, the film will remain online for future viewing.

Save the date, and watch the video premiere here.

In the opening film of Leiden European City of Science, biologist and artist Auke-Florian Hiemstra of the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre takes us with him on an adventurous journey through Leiden where he has a series of exciting encounters. He is followed by astrophysicist and Kavli Prize winner, Ewine van Dishoeck, who talks about the launch of the James Webb telescope. Singer, Nynke Laverman, then sings about the importance of future generations, and rheumatologist, Ferry Breedveld, talks about the prestigious EuroScience Open Forum that will take place in Leiden this July. Professor Ton Rabelink of Leiden’s Bio Science Park will talk about the innovations of NecstGen, artist Jan van IJken will screen his film, PLANKTONIUM, and prizewinning Carla Caro Villanova will speak from Spain about the European Union Contest for Young Scientists. The film will conclude with a mini-lecture by Fabiola Gianotti from CERN Switzerland, on the discovery of the Higgs boson and a contribution from Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth at the European Commission.

­Mariya Gabriel: “Leiden European City of Science 2022 will be a bridge building new connections between science and society in innovative, open and playful ways. The ambitious programmes with 365-days of events has strong connections with the European Year of Youth, with highlights such as the European Union Contest for Young Scientist 2022!”

A platform for European knowledge 

Ever since Leiden University was founded in 1575, the combination of international orientation, talent development, and knowledge sharing has ensured continuous change and innovation. It has therefore been a logical step to name Leiden as a platform for European knowledge in 2022. The European character of this scientifically-themed year is reinforced by the presentation of the Public Engagement with Research Awards of the European Research Council in July 2022. On top of this is the partnership of the organisation with the cultural programme: New European Bauhaus, which is part of the European Green Deal. The year 2022 is also known as the European Year of Youth. So, with its focus on talent development and the importance of future generations, Leiden2022 has also joined up with the European Year of Youth, solidifying its position as the European podium for science in 2022.

365 days of curiosity 

Leiden2022 is an accessible 365-day festival that anyone who wants to share science, knowledge, art and skills can take part in — locally, nationally, and internationally. The aim is to make connections between science and society in an open, playful, and sincere way. The motto? 365 days of curiosity!


The year-long programme will cover the entire knowledge spectrum, from fundamental science to citizen science. Some highlights to look forward to:

  • The interdisciplinary EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF) in July;
  • The European Young Talent Week in September where young talents between the ages of 14-20 from all over the world come to Leiden for the 33rd EU final Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS). Additionally, a new talent programme is being developed on behalf of the European Commission for young researchers aged 20-24. 
  • Scientific innovations in healthcare will be presented during the European Life Sciences & Health Week (May 28 to June 5);
  • The connection between art and science will be explored during the ArtScience Week (September 12 to 18);
  • And space travel and astronomy will be examined during the European Space Week (taking place from September 25 until October 2).

Background: Leiden European City of Science 2022 

Leiden European City of Science 2022 is an initiative of four of Leiden’s leading knowledge institutions: Leiden University, the LUMC, Leiden University of Applied Sciences, and the Municipality of Leiden. The title of European City of Science is awarded by EuroScience in Strasbourg and the upcoming science-themed year has been realised thanks to contributions from the European Commission, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Naturalis Biodiversity Centre, Rabobank and Leiden & Partners in collaboration with many partners at local, national, and international levels. Leiden European City of Science 2022 has been organised by a specially established foundation led by director Meta Knol. This jam-packed program has been compiled by intendant Lucien Geelhoed.

Further information: https://leiden2022.nl/en

Text source: European City of Science (press release)


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