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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

June 02, 2020

'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...

Conference 4-Nation Commemoration: The Pilgrims and the Politics of Memory

August 26, 2020

Due to the corona measures, this event is being held online!

Invitation plenary sessions Pilgrims & The Politics of Memory Conference 

Taking plac...

Online opening Leiden400

Saturday May 16, 2020

On Saturday May 16, the digital opening of the Pilgrim Year Leiden400 took place!

The organisation took the viewer on a city walk through the historic city centre, interviewed directo...

Lancering docu-film ‘Stromingen'

Sunday August 02, 2020

Information will folow shortly

Pilgrim database

hundreds of Pilgrim documents online!


The Pilgrims fled England and arrived in Leiden in 1609. Here they lived for nearly 12 years, before leaving for America,  400 years ago. Much has been documented on their Leiden lives: in ...

First Americans

honouring indigenous resilience and creativ...

July 10, 2020

In First Americans the central focus is the experience of indigenous North Americans, their creativity and resilience.  In the year of the commemoration planned by Leiden 400 we bring to th...

Update events Leiden400


In recent years, we have worked long and hard to create a broad and in-depth commemoration programme. Due to the corona virus we are currently discussing alternative dates for the numerous progr...