• The city of Nagasaki

Nagasaki (長崎) is a city in the Prefecture of Nagasaki on the island of Kyushu (九州). The city has a population of approximately half a million and is situated in the Bay of Nagasaki.  The port city of Nagasaki was also home to the artificial island of Dejima (also Deshima) where initially the Portuguese and later the Dutch carried out trade activities with Japan. In 1614 the Shōgun banned Christians from Japan, however seeing as the Dutch had no other intentions other than to carry our trade and because they helped to drive out other Christians, the Dutch were permitted to sail to and from Deshima.  From 1641 to 1853 Dutch trade via Deshima was the only European contact Japan had with the outside world.

On August 9, 1945 three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the United States dropped an atomic bomb known as ‘Fatman’ on Nagasaki.  Thick clouds had obscured the original target of Kokura and as a result the second target, the industrial area of Nagasaki was hit instead.   The bomb exploded 469 metres above the town of Urakami, killing 74,000 and wounding 75,000.  Years later radiation from the bomb continued to claim victims.  Japan capitulated after the second bombing and after the war the city of Nagasaki was  completely rebuilt.

Today Nagasaki is a bustling city with activities in maritime, medical, tourist and IT sectors.

Population: 442,325 (2010)

Current Mayor: Tomihisa TAUE


  • The city of Leiden

The history of Leiden goes back a long way.  At the end of the 15th century Leiden was the largest city in the province of Holland.  To a great extent this was due to the international textile industry.

During the 16th century Leiden underwent dramatic economic changes.  It was a time of religious turmoil in Leiden in which witnessed the revolt against Spanish domination in 1572..

The population of Leiden – the second largest city after Amsterdam- continued to grow in spite of a number of devastting epidemics.  Urban expansion was necessary to accommodate this growing population in 1611, 1644 and in 1659.  The ‘singels’ or canals that were built at the time shaped the city and are still visible today. In 1670, at its peak the population of Leiden was 60,000.

The University of Leiden, established in 1575 is the oldest university in the Netherlands. It is said that the university was established in Leiden in recognition of the bravery shown during the Seige. Today Leiden University is one of the most important institutes of learning in Europe

Leiden has changed dramatically since the end of the 20th century.  The once impoverished textile city that fell prey to massive unemployment in the 1980’s when the factories closed is now a bustling metropolis thanks to the Bio Science Park and other high tech industries.  Unemployment is low and the population is one of the highest educated in the Netherlands..

The (restored) historic city centre with its monuments, museums, quaint streets and picturesque canals has much to offer for both its inhabitants and the increasing number of tourists who visit the city year year.

Population: 121.754 (2015)

Current Mayor: Henri Lenferink

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