The Pilgrim Archives Leiden give a surprising look in a unique piece of Leiden history: the story of the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were English Protestants, who fled England to escape the oppressive regime of James I and the Anglican established church. They lived and worked in Leiden from 1609 to 1620.

From 1620 groups of Pilgrims travelled onwards to North America: the 'New World'. There, people still celebrate Thanksgiving Day, in memory of the Pilgrims' ordeals and eventual deliverance. The influence of the Pilgrims on the future United States has been great. Just take the fact that no fewer than seven American Presidents are direct descendants of the Leiden Pilgrims.