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. Heritage Leiden (=Erfgoed Leiden) keeps hundreds of documents on the Pilgrims. In 2020 you can visit us, in groups or as individuals. Keep an eye on our website, because this information will be updated regularly.
Heritage Leiden is the place where the paper trail of the Pilgrims in Leiden can be found. All the original documents concerning their stay in the city are kept here. These include festive occasions such as marriages, business partnerships and house purchases, but also sad incidents like burials, last wills and testaments or court cases. To engage our visitors with these documents we have an elaborate program ready for you.
In the 'Ancestor Booth' visitors can stand eye to eye with these documents under supervision of a curator and even take a selfie with the document about their own ancestor. Additionally there will be short videos on individual Pilgrims’ stories, a reading corner and the possibility to digitally browse through all documents and their English summaries.
We expect to open the Ancestor Booth at the start of February.
The Ancestor Booth will be open to individual visitors Monday – Friday 9.00 - 17.00.
Tours and talks
For visiting groups Heritage Leiden organizes a variety of tours and talks.
• lecture on the Pilgrims during their stay in Leiden
• guided tour through the repositories
• visit to the Pilgrim monument and garden with explanation
• visit to the Ancestor Booth with explanation