Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden), Leiden

Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden), Leiden (must see)

"Take the high ground" has long been a sound military doctrine. The viscount of Leiden, Halewijn I, understood this. He built the Fort of Leiden in 1060. But this was the Netherlands. There were no "high grounds." The fort was built as a keep, a round fortified tower. The structure's high ground was a motte, an artificial hill.

In the 11th century, the keep was rebuilt, first with volcanic tuff stone and finally with bricks. It was raised to a height of 30 feet by the 12th century. Ada of Holland, the daughter of Dirk VII, Count of Holland, took up residence in the keep. She and her husband, Louis II, Count of Loon, fought to keep her father's legacy.

The Fort of Leiden was captured by Ada's uncle William. Ada was evicted. In the 13th century, the castle became less and less important as a defense asset of Leiden. The city grew up around the base of the fort. The keep's interior, built against the inner walls, was partially dismantled. By the 17th century, it was merely a romantic symbol.

In 1651, it was decided to change the fort into a water tower for the city. The piping system leading to the city squares is still intact today. In 1662, a new portal, designed by architect Rombout Verhulst, was installed. Two other gates to the keep exist. At the south gateway, a plaque in Latin teaches basic grammar to Leiden students.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Leiden. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden) on Map

Sight Name: Burcht van Leiden (Fort of Leiden)
Sight Location: Leiden, Netherlands (See walking tours in Leiden)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Leiden, Netherlands

Create Your Own Walk in Leiden

Create Your Own Walk in Leiden

Creating your own self-guided walk in Leiden is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
In the Footsteps of Young Rembrandt

In the Footsteps of Young Rembrandt

Once a thriving hub for trade and textile manufacturing, and a home to Holland's oldest university, Leiden also made history as the birthplace of Rembrandt van Rijn, one of the greatest visual artists of the mankind, renowned for his ingenious use of light and shadow, and life-like portraits. The Golden Age of the Netherlands can still be felt in Leiden, especially if you follow in the...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 Km or 0.7 Miles
Leiden Introduction Walking Tour

Leiden Introduction Walking Tour

In the year 860, at the confluence of the Old Rhine and the New Rhine, there was a settlement called "Leithon." This word referred to a canalized river. The name is appropriate. Leiden from its beginnings was a city of canals.

In 1060 Alewin I, landlord of Leiden, built his fortified keep, the "Burcht" ("Fort"). The village of Leiden huddled around the fortified...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 Km or 1.4 Miles