Leiden's entire city centre is a historic monument in its entirety. Located within such a short distance from one another, a walk along the canals to view the most conspicuous monuments hardly takes any effort and is well worth the time!
Walking around Leiden, the city's glorious history seems to come to life. The Academiegebouw, which is the ceremonial seat of the university, De Waag (the Weigh house), De Burcht (the Citadel), the stately mansions lining the famous Rapenburg canal, the beautiful Pieterskerk (church of Peter), the Hooglandse kerk (Highland church), and the 35 hofjes or almshouses in the city all tell the story of Leiden's history.
The Leiden tourist office has several maps and guides available. If you prefer a Personal tour, let us know and we can make sure you'll get to see all the sights! Click here to find out more
The Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden) is one of the oldest remaining forts in Holland. Itis built on a motte, an artificial hill, and was part of a so-called shell keep. Archaeologists have determined that the hill was built towards the end of the ninth century. The top of the hill was circled by a wall, and in the past also supported a tower. The fort lost its military function as early as the fourteenth century. This picturesque spot is an absolute must-see during any visit to Leiden; at the top of its numerous steps, a magnificent view of the city awaits you.
Rapenburg canal was dug to ensure that Leiden could be well defended. In the 17th century, it developed into the most important and most fashionable canal in the entire city, the canal where rich merchants and famous professors lived. Princess Beatrix, King Willem-Alexander and other members of the Royal Family lived on Rapenburg canal during their studies, and Leiden University’s Academy Building, the National Museum of Antiquities, the Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Japan Museum SieboldHuis and many student houses are located there.
Pieterskwartier quarter is one of Leiden’s oldest neighbourhoods. Located around Pieterskerk church, this is an area full of history and narrow streets and alleys. It is home to countless specialised boutiques, galleries, cafes and restaurants, and is a wonderful part of Leiden to amble around in and taste the nostalgia. Kloksteeg alley, commanding a view of the centuries-old Pieterskerk church, is among the most splendid and convivial pub and eatery streets in Leiden.