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2020 marks the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, a ship that transported a group of English separatists known as the ‘Pilgrims’. Before the Pilgrims set sail to America and founded Plymouth Colony in 1620, they spent twelve years living, working and praying in Leiden, free from religious persecution by the English crown.

Four centuries after this journey, America, England, the Native Nations and the Netherlands will organize an international, inclusive commemoration. It will highlight not only the story of the Pilgrims but the cultures and places they came into contact with as well.

The Commemoration Year 2020 will see many local and international activities and events to focus on the story of the Pilgrims and study it from a range of viewpoints so as to contribute to mutual understanding and critical reflection in order for future generations to be inspired. 

This is why our motto is: One commemoration, 4 nations, a 1000 voices.

The Program

Together with the city and partners abroad, an extensive programme was developed during the past two years based on cultural, scientific, educational, heritage(tourism) and social perspectives.

A few highlights:

Pilgrims to America – and the Limits of Freedom

no date yet

'Pilgrims in America - and the Limits of Freedom' examines the limits of freedom. The exhibition is an account of the extraordinary journey of the Pilgrims early in the 17th century. They starte...

First Americans: Honouring indigenous resilience and creativity

Friday May 15, 2020

In May 2020 Museum Volkenkunde will open the exhibition FIRST AMERICANS, showcasing contemporary indigenous lives, art and politics in North America. Consistent with our emphasis on peoples and ...

Official opening Leiden400

no date yet