Making Leiden2022 echo into the future
Last year was an extraordinary one for the science community in the region. From the latest discoveries from the cosmos to exploring the biodiversity of a local park and everything in between, The Space Week and Leiden European City of Science offered a myriad of captivating themes. Leiden2022 ended with a bang and its successful formula of bringing science closer to society can now continue to reverberate throughout 2023 and beyond. During the Finale Festival of Leiden European City of Science, people of all ages curious about science and technology celebrated an incredible year filled with knowledge, art, and craftsmanship. We cannot wait to welcome you again at the Space Week on NL Space Campus in October 2023.
Leiden European City of Science
Few places breath science like the city of Leiden. It boasts the oldest university in the Netherlands and with its Bio Science Park the city hosts one of Europe’s most vibrant life sciences research communities. Home to the oldest university observatory that is still in operation and with the European Space Agency’s largest R&D facility in its direct vicinity, Leiden also has a long history and active role in high tech development and astronomy research. Add to that the city’s core values of freedom, curiosity and openness and it will come as no surprise that Leiden was awarded the title of European City of Science 2022 to showcase science on an international scale.
On a regional level, Leiden University is part of the strategic alliance Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) Universities. The three partners work together in various fields based on a shared vision. In the field of space, LDE and NL Space Campus see plenty of opportunities to strengthen cooperation such as with Space Campus Summer School and LDE Space Day.
From finale to future
During the Finale Festival Leiden2022, the audience was able to relive the highlights of the year. The Stadsgehoorzaal great hall was filled with activities and stands where you could attend science talks, try a local food market, and even go on a time traveling walk.
In the mobile planetarium visitors were given a glimpse of the mindboggling size of the universe. Inside a pitch-black inflatable copula, operators of the Leiden Observatory provided a mesmerising experience to gaze at the planets in our solar systems as well as the stars and galaxies beyond.
The overarching theme during the year-long programme was “Who Knows” and was all about asking questions and connecting science with society. For 365 days, continuous field tests and playful experiments covered the whole aspect of human knowledge including arts and culture, craft, and expertise. In doing so, the city introduced a new practice-based model for public engagement with science to stimulate sustainable interactions between scientists and citizens. Scientists are challenged to step out of their labs and study rooms to start dialogues with people in their everyday surroundings, while citizens are encouraged to take a leap and pursue something new and unexpected. Sparking curiosity, it allows everyone with an open mind to be student and teacher at the same time.
Looking forward to The Space Week 2023
Throughout the year, week events dedicated to specific topics took place. During spring there was the Life Sciences & Health Week bringing together stakeholders from Leiden, Europe and beyond to discuss ground-breaking innovation and scientific excellence in (bio)medical sciences. The Space Week 2022 was a week of events that took place in autumn, facilitated by NL Space Campus and in strong collaboration with the region and Leiden2022. It offered a way to demystify space for enthusiasts of all ages and was visited by over 10.000 people.
This successful 8-day space spectacle took off in Leiden and ended in the heart of the Dutch Space Industry at NL Space Campus in Noordwijk. Starting out with astronomy at SRON, followed by the “Seeing Stars” event which raised awareness about light pollution, and with “Astronomy on Tap” the topic lingered on in one of the many cosy bars in the city. At “Navigate to the Future”, happening on Campus, participants discovered how space data impacts society and creates new business. Later in the week, an extra-large edition of our monthly NL Space Campus Network&Drinks was hosted at Space Expo. Multiple start-ups and innovative companies pitched their potential and ideas and visitors expanded their networks. Finally, the closing weekend was at ESTEC open days. Visitors could get in touch with astronauts André Kuipers and Matthias Maurer at the Space Expo and the Walk of Space in Noordwijk, or even on stage on the Space Rocks podium.
Looking forward to 2023
As the topic of the day “Look towards the future” already suggests, the Finale Festival was not only about celebrating but also about anticipating. Leiden2022 revolved around co-creating and sharing knowledge and it is important that this continues to happen. During the closing session James Kennedy, Professor of Community Engaged Learning at Utrecht University, stated: “The future is about solving common challenges and in order to do that, knowledge institutes need to look for brokers.” When it comes to space, NL Space Campus is where science and research are transformed into cross-sector solutions and business opportunities. In line with the campus’ motto “Connecting the curious”, we aim to address challenges for a better planet together with knowledge institutes, industry and wider society.
The Space Week NL demonstrated how space technology has become accessible to all. After a successful edition in 2022, The Space Week NL will also take place in 2023. Stay tuned, the dates will be announced soon!