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The Pilgrim Fathers in Leiden Walking Tour

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2 hours

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Up to 5

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Did you know the pilgrims of the Mayflower started their life-changing journey America from Leiden? If you love to learn more about the founders of the United States and their lives before leaving on the Mayflower, this tour is a must!

In 1620, the now famous ship arrived in America with 102 pilgrims. They had fled the religious persecution in England. Before their departure to America they had spent 12 years in Leiden. Although the story of the Mayflower is well-known not everyone might be familiar with Leiden’s role in this piece of history.

During this interesting city walk you will explore the stories and memories the pilgrims left behind. You really get to see another side of Leiden! The fact that Leiden is filled with interesting details about the pilgrims of the Mayflower makes it a subject of great interest to historians. However, many visitors from the United States come to Leiden to explore their heritage and delve deeper into the history of their ancestors. Professional historians or heritage enthusiasts can truly feel how the pilgrims lived their lives before their  life-changing journey!

We offer this tour only on July 17th, at 14.00 hours and July 20th, at 10.00 hours. Please send us a message if you like us to offer this walking tour on another day (subject to availability of the guide and the number of participants).



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  • Discover the history of the Pilgrim Fathers
  • See how they lived in Leiden in the 17th century
  • A must do if you have American roots!

What you will do

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Leiden and the Mayflower

1620 - 400 years ago a group of English religious refugees, after twelve years of voluntary exile in Leiden, left for North America where they founded Plymouth Colony. Although not the first or most successful settlers, these English-speaking Protestants have gone down in history under the name Pilgrims as founders of America. Refugees in Leiden On 12 February 1609 the city government of Leiden granted 100 English religious refugees permission to settle in Leiden. In 1620 a group of these radical refugees left for America as Pilgrims and founded Plymouth Colony there. Most of the roughly hundred Pilgrims who found refuge in Leiden had previously lived off small-scale agriculture in England. Upon arrival in Leiden, they could immediately start working in the city’s textile industry – among the largest in Europe at the time. A colony of their own Most Pilgrims had little trouble integrating into this dynamic, multicultural society, and as a result their leaders feared that the group would eventually lose its religious and cultural identity. The establishment of a private colony to which they could retreat and where they could sustain their pure faith community became an increasingly enticing solution. Moreover it was economically attractive for many to leave the arduous textile industry, and build up a new life and home by cultivating new lands in the wilderness of North America.


  • Professional local English speaking guide
  • Personal Expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Voluntary tips for the guide


'Where does this tour starts and ends?
July 18th the tour will start and end at the Pieterskerk square (ICAS food and cultural market) 14.00 H. We advise you to be there at 13.45 to meet your group. You could also end the tour at the Pilgrim Father Museum in Leiden July 20 th the tour will start and end at the entrance gates of Museum of Antiquities (Museum Volkenkunde in Dutch), Steenstraat 1 Leiden 11.00 H. We advise you to be there at 10.45 to meet your group.You could also end the tour at the Pilgrim Father Museum in Leiden, that opens at 13.00h
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