To commemorate Oxford’s longest-standing twin city link, the official naming of the new Leiden Square, Westgate and unveiling of a mosaic to mark last year’s 70th anniversary of twinning link between Leiden and Oxford will take place at 12noon on Saturday 11 November, with civic visitors from Leiden, the City Council, the Oxford Leiden Link and local performers.
Leiden Square, in the new £440m Westgate Centre, will be officially named by the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Jean Fooks, and the Burgemeester of Leiden, Henri Lenferink.
From 11.10am–3pm the event will be celebrated with a party atmosphere of music from Leiden's K&G Band, Oxford's Cutting Edge band, dance from Messy Jam, and a bicycle bar created by Pedal and Post serving a specially brewed beer imported from one of Leiden's finest craft breweries.
The Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Jean Fooks said: "It's lovely to have this recognition of the twinning link at a time when it's important to maintain a close relationship with out twin cities in Europe.
“The mosaic is a fine way of marking this friendship and will serve as a reminder of it for visitors to the Westgate Centre for years to come.”
The mosaic commissioned for the square has been created by the international artist group Klick, which includes three young artists, Lauren Baldwin and Tamsin Corrigan from Oxford and Emma van Noort from Leiden. With Leiden Square to the south of the new Westgate Quarter, and Bonn Square to the north, the name will symbolically commemorate Oxford’s links with its two oldest twin cities.
Henri Lenferink, Burgemeester of the city of Leiden, said: “I am proud of the ties that Oxford and Leiden have had for 70 years now, and this wonderful occasion makes me very happy.
This mosaic is a beautiful, physical symbol of the twinning of our cities. It is a tremendous way of sealing our joint history. We must keep giving substance to our twinning arrangement in the future too, so that it will keep contributing to the good relations between our nations."
Cllr Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council said: "The generous agreement of the Westgate Alliance to the naming of Leiden Square was very welcome. It is fitting that our two longstanding twin cities are commemorated at either end of the Westgate Centre and the mosaic in Leiden Square is a really good addition to the square."
John Chipperfield, Chairman of the Oxford Leiden Link said: "We are delighted to have a prominent reminder of our twin city in the city centre. At long last we have recognition in place which everyone will see. We hope everyone will join in with these celebrations."
The event is free and everyone is welcome to come along on the day to enjoy the celebrations.