The Dutch city of Leiden has rarely played a dramatic role in European history. Quiet, rainy and tucked away close to the sea, it is in many ways the Durham of the Continent. It was besieged by the Spanish in the Eighty Years’ War, Rembrandt was born and worked there, Einstein taught intermittently at its university — and that is about it. Yet this week Leiden is at the centre of European politics, and in a way that almost no one could have expected.
In the city’s science park, the biotech company Halix has a crucial role in manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.