Skip to main content
What is Leiden European City of Science?

Leiden European City of Science 2022 is a 365-day long science festival! Packed with activities, lectures, workshops, excursions, exhibitions and events, it’s perfect for anyone with a curious mind.

Every two years, EuroScience in Strasbourg awards the title of European City of Science to a different city. The title relates to Europe's largest biennial multidisciplinary science conference, the EuroScience Open Forum (ESOF). In 2022, the ESOF will take place in Leiden. Although the title has been around for some time, Leiden is the first city ever to present a year-round program on science, knowledge, art, and skills.

Many cities claim to be a city of knowledge — but Leiden really is. Since 1575, the combination of talent and knowledge has been responsible for Leiden’s development, change, and innovation. It is, therefore, only logical for Leiden to profile itself as a European city of knowledge. With this in mind, a number of city partners teamed up in 2017. Together, they managed to bring the title of European City of Science to Leiden.

So, this year, Leiden is the Dutch stage of the European scientific world. The major issues of our time are discussed during countless conferences and special meetings. Simultaneously, with and for residents of the city and region, we have designed an exciting program, in which every day is centred around a different, intriguing topic. The ultimate goal of Leiden European City of Science is to connect science and society.

For whom is Leiden European City of Science for?

Science is relevant for everyone. We want to make a difference by creating meaningful encounters between scientists and people who don’t usually think they come into direct contact with science. We go for the quality of the real encounter because we truly believe it is the most effective way. We’ll do this by engaging with people about their common interests. If you're into stargazing, great! And we don't care if you're a winner of a Nobel Prize or a curious 10-year-old girl. Whoever you are, you are welcome!

In addition, Leiden European City of Science is a platform through which we can celebrate science at a European level — where the quality of science itself is paramount. In 2022, top scientists from all over the world will come to Leiden to examine the big questions of our time, such as climate change, migration, health, artificial intelligence, and a sustainable future.

What and who is the Leiden2022 foundation?

The organisation of Leiden European City of Science, or Leiden2022 for short, has been outsourced to the Leiden2022 foundation. This foundation was set up in 2020 specifically for this event. Director Meta Knol is in full charge, and the program contents have been compiled by Lucien Geelhoed, intendant and editor-in-chief of Leiden2022.

Does the foundation have a supervisory board?

Of course. The supervisory board consists of Henri Lenferink (chairman and mayor of Leiden), Annetje Ottow (chairperson of the Executive Board of Leiden University), Joost Scholten (a representative of the business community), Kim Smit (Executive Board LUMC) and Joeri van den Steenhoven (College of Leiden University College Board).

What is ESOF2022?

During this year's summer, Leiden hosted the ESOF conference. The EuroScience Open Forum is the largest multidisciplinary scientific conference in Europe. Working in close collaboration with EuroScience in Strasbourg, the tenth edition took place between July 13 and 16, 2022, in Leiden. The structure of the conference was led by two Champions specially appointed by Leiden University: professors Corinne Hofman (Caribbean Archaeology) and Ferry Breedveld (Rheumatology). They are working with the help of a Science Council, consisting of Ewine van Dishoeck (Mathematics and Natural Sciences), Pieter ter Keurs (Archaeology), Frits Koning (Immunology, LUMC), Rick Lawson (Law), Hannah Swaab (Social Sciences), Kutsal Yesilkagit (Governance and Global Affairs), Rob Zwijnenberg (Humanities), Wim van den Doel (Leiden-DelftErasmus), Noel de Miranda (Pathology, LUMC), Nicole de Voogd (Marine Biology, Naturalis) and Suzan van der Pas (Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Applied Sciences Leiden).

What is the Youth Talent Week?

In September 2022, the city will be filled with young international talent. In the Young Talent Week, we bring the most promising young talents in touch with science, R&D and innovation, in the beautiful city centre of Leiden, with art and culture as sources of inspiration. 


The 33rd final of the major European science competition for young talents, the European Union Contest for Young Scientists, will take place in Leiden from 13 to 18 September 2022. 150 young people (aged 14-20) - who won national competitions in 40 countries - will then compete for the title of Best European Scientific Project 2022. EUCYS will take place in and around the Hooglandse Kerk, where a Play Zone will be set up where companies can present themselves to the young people with playful challenges. More information about EUCYS sponsorship can be found at the bottom of the page. More information about the highlight can be found here.


  • EU TalentOn

Besides EUCYS, the organisation of Leiden2022 has been commissioned by the European Commission to create an entirely new concept for Young Career Researchers and Early PhD students aged 21 to 30. This will take place from 14 to 18 September during the EU TalentOn. There, young academics will be challenged to tackle societal challenges.

EU TalentOn is a pressure cooker event that encourages talented young researchers to come up with solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. The central stage for the event is PLNT, Leiden's centre for innovation and entrepreneurship. Input from science and business, creative thinking and pitching workshops, cultural experiments, lectures and much more: the teams will be fully supported on their journey to presenting their innovative solutions to the general public, and of course to the grand jury. Find out more here.

We are very proud to announce that EUCYS and EU TalentOn have been selected as flagship events of the European Year of Youth by the European Commission.

I have a question about science

It’s inevitable that Leiden2022 will make you think more about the world in which you live. In fact, you’ll probably have questions immediately. That’s why we will open Postbus71, starting January 1st 2022: the place where you can ask all kinds of questions in the field of science and knowledge. Send your question, and you’ll receive an answer from the relevant experts. How? Write down your question and send it to PO Box 71 in Leiden. Have you seen one of our Leiden2022 tuk-tuks or a special Postbus71 mailbox somewhere in your area? You can also post your question there. Just don't forget to include your name and address so we can actually reply to you! You can, of course, always send your question online. Simply go to or check #DurfTeVragen. We will share the best questions (anonymously) on the radio and via our socials.