Masterclass ‘Leiden and its sisters’ online


Thursday, August 25th, Blaauwberg celebrated its 25th anniversary with the Masterclass ‘Leiden and its New Sisters – Celebrating 25 Years of Knowledge’. We look back on a day filled with facts, appreciations, ambitions and goodwill.

We had an attendance at the event of more then 100 people with origins in all kind of places 0ver the world: Leiden, The Hague, Amsterdam, Groningen, Greece, Chili, Italy, Germany, Australia and lots of other muncipalities in Netherlands and elsewhere. In a vibrant atmosphere Aart talked us all through major topics such as: the demographic transition all over the world, the transformation of Leiden and other old industrial cities, the rise of knowledge hubs, the importance of mobilizing talent and business and the prospects for the future.

Click on the video on the right side to see the “aftermovie” with some reactions from the public.

We are part of business life, we deliver services. August 25th was for us the occasion to give something on our own account: an autonomous view on our home city and its place in the larger world. Looking at declining birthrates worldwide, Aart van Bochove gave us some insights in increasing regional disparities and latest trends in urbanization. Coming to Leiden, he described the development Leiden has taken from starting in 1980 as a poor industrial county town and arriving in 2020 as a thriving European knowledge hub. He further elaborated on what it takes to be a knowledge hub, looking also at other European examples. Cities need to be prepared for the future, hosting a more diverse population which is increasingly empowered and articulate. The Masterclass closed with an optimistic outlook on modern urban life. Concepts like the “15-minutes city” which stipulate that all of our basic needs should be met within a 15-minute walk or cycle from our home serve to make cities more attractive and liveable.

Part 1/ 19: Introduction

Part 2/ 19: The same place, different worlds

The Masterclass was accompanied by a Syllabus (download with button on the right) in the form of some mini-essays about the city of Leiden, the European context of its development and its future outlook. We choose for a ‘meandering’ form, writing from four perspectives: Leiden 1980, Leiden 2020, Europe 190, Europe 2020. You can read from beginning to end. You can also start reading in any mini-essay. In the second part, we look at knowledge hubs elsewhere in the continent. We sum up four examples (Copenhagen, Manchester, Rhein-Neckar, Flemish Diamond), together they form a mirror for modern Leiden.

–> Download the syllabus <–

As our venue, the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Leiden, PLNT, offered us hospitality and we gratefully accepted. We feel that PLNT’s approach to stimulate innovative entrepreneurship is a good fit when celebrating Blaauwberg’s work and vision on policy-innovation, social organization and region building.

We are grateful that so many people spent our 25th anniversary with us and paid attention to our ideas. A great encouragement for us. And we sure hope that our guests from out of town – Venlo, Republic of Chile, Groningen, Eindhoven, Amsterdam, The Hague, Helmond, Lisse, Schagen, Waddinxveen, Greece, Uithoorn, Enkhuizen, Italy, Germany, Apeldoorn, Utrecht – have brought home inspiring ideas for their own communities.

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