Nature has a profile on physics and astronomy in Leiden. The bottom line: despite being a small city (in a small country), we do excellent research. Our small size is also evident from the fact that the piece was written by Nature‘s Germany correspondent. Still, it’s well worth a read.
Leiden is one of the country’s centres for physical sciences. With a population of 117,000, it lies in the Holland region, a highly urbanized ring in the west of country and one of the most densely populated areas of the world. An old windmill, quiet canals, flocks of cyclists and the odd coffee shop remind one that this is the land of Vincent van Gogh, cyclist Joop Zoetemelk and pragmatic cannabis policies.
But just below Leiden’s tourist-pleasing surface is a rich and active tradition of science. The Leiden Bioscience Park is one of the oldest and largest in Europe. The university, where the seventeenth-century astronomer Christiaan Huygens studied law and mathematics, also hosts the country’s largest and best-equipped astronomy department. Most research takes place in international collaboration, thus affording privileged access to telescopes, data and computing facilities.
You can read the full article (PDF) here.