The name of the new south square in the Westgate development was officially unveiled at a special reception.
The reception welcomed visitors from Oxford’s twin cities who were visiting for the Remembrance weekend and served as the ideal opportunity to announce the new square’s name.
The reception was hosted by the Lord Mayor of Oxford, Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan and Oxford City Council Leader, Councillor Bob Price.
The square has been named Leiden Square to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the twinning link between Leiden and Oxford. 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.
The Burgemeester of Leiden, Henri Lenferink and the Burgermeister of Bonn, Helmut Kollig was present at the reception, as will Pascal Clouaire, Adjoint to the Mayor of Grenoble responsible for international links.
Cllr Price said: “Oxford is proud of its long-standing links to cities both in Europe and throughout the rest of the world. As an international city, twinning is a tradition that we intend to strengthen and to encourage strong participation from all sections of Oxford’s community. The naming of the new Leiden Square is an opportunity to commemorate our friendship in a permanent form as we approach the 70th anniversary of twinning with the city, and to remember the tragic events of World War 2 which brought the three cities of Bonn, Leiden and Oxford together.”
Sara Fuge, Development Manager for the Westgate Alliance added: “We are delighted that visitors to Westgate Oxford will be able to enjoy using the new Leiden Square when we open in October 2017. This exciting new space in the heart of our scheme will be somewhere for everyone to enjoy, whether it’s a stop-gap from shopping or eating out, to rest and take in your surroundings, or to enjoy the events that we will host here. We are pleased that the name of the square has such an important meaning to Oxford and look forward to welcoming everyone next year.”
Next year, on Remembrance weekend, the City Council is planning to unveil a plaque in the square to mark the 70th anniversary in a ceremony which will be attended by the Burgemeester of Leiden and enlivened by performances from the Netherlands most famous marching band which was set up by the Free Dutch Army and the exiled Dutch Royal family in Congleton in 1941.