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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...

Webinar The Pilgrims

From Refugees to Colonists

Sunday November 08, 2020 (19:00)

Four hundred years ago, the Pilgrims arrived in Massachusetts on the Mayflower after a long journey from Europe. Many of the Pilgrims actually started their journey in Leiden in the Netherlands,...

The Fortune seekers dinner

Fortune seekers dinner

Thursday November 26, 2020

The fortune seekers dinner is a total experience for all senses, focused on the universal feeling of home. From October 2015, Roos Tulen worked for nine months as an employee at the Leiden crisi...

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...

Launche of documentary ‘Stromingen' (Currents)

Sunday August 02, 2020

The 2nd of August 2020 marked exactly 400 years ago that the Pilgrims sailed from Delfshaven – via England – to America to establish their own religious community. Four hundred years...

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 ...