Leiden University hosts the Lorentz Center. In fact, it is (partly) one floor below the astronomy departement. The idea behind the Lorentz center is simple: rather than having researches re-invent the wheel for the logistics of a workshop, a dedicated institution will run the whole thing for you. Your idea is judged on merit and off you go. The LC will provide a cool meeting space, generate and host the website, provide some funds for travel, free lunch for all participants, prints posters, nametags, organizes a conference dinner (ours was on a boat trip!!), has free bikes on hand and helps with every other logistical aspect.
They do, so the workshop organizer does not have to. I cannot overemphasize how stupendously awesome this is. It means professional workshops, no dropped logistical balls, and a workshop organization that can focus on the topic and science, not whether there are enough seats at the conference dinner or if the Hotel still has space.
I have been trying to organize a workshop for a while now. In South Africa this was stymied because I had no idea where to even begin to ask for money. Or what a half-decent venue was. At ESA, it died in bureaucratic BS about the actual rooms it had to be held in. At the Lorentz center, it was a breeze...
So. I will be doing this again in the remaining time I'm at Leiden. Or perhaps afterwards.