D O C . 9 8 S E P T E M B E R 1 9 1 9 8 1
98. From Paul Ehrenfest
[Leyden,] 2 September 1919
Dear Einstein,
In connection with other circumstances, we are now suddenly all in agreement
that we must attach you to Leyden. The matter is extremely simple: provided you
just say yes, it will—at least in all human probability—become possible to arrange
everything in no time according to your wishes:
1. You’ll get as much remuneration as is necessary for you, your children, and
whatever else—you have to calculate that yourself. (Our remuneration’s maximum
of 7500 guilders is your
2. Absolutely no lecturing duties will be imposed on you—the only real obliga-
tion will probably be to choose Leyden (or its surroundings) as your principal place
of residence.
3. You can take as much time as you like to work in Switzerland or elsewhere,
give lectures, travel, etc., so long as one can say “Einstein is at Leyden—at Leyden
there’s Einstein.”
You understand: I speak as if I already have it all in my pocket, but that, of
course, isn’t the case.—But tentative discussions awaken most encouraging hopes
that all will immediately be arranged according to your wishes, provided only that
you say (to me) that in principle you are ready to negotiate with us.– It may perhaps
interest you to hear that Onnes especially (not to mention the rest of us!) is very
enthusiastic about the idea as
Never will you find it necessary to lecture in Dutch. You will learn whatever
Dutch you need for practical living in a fortnight.

Here you will have in your immediate proximity or be in easy contact with
Lorentz, de Sitter, me, Kuenen, Droste, de Haas, his wife, Fokker, Burgers, Julius,
Zeeman, and will regularly see intelligent and impressive young fellows of pleasant
personalities. Moreover, guests like Nordström,
If you live farther out of town, you will be able to isolate yourself as much as
you like.
Dear, dear Einstein, don’t say no but come and see us as soon as you can for a
fortnight or at least for a week.—But at all events, reply to me directly: “Well, what
you are suggesting to me isn’t that silly.”–
Dear, dear Einstein!—I don’t need anything more than that in order to set every-
thing in motion right away. But listen: don’t reply with a direct rejection—because
even if you can’t decide to do it in the end, it will nonetheless have already been of
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