Leiden Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Leiden

When it comes to secrets and exceptionally beautiful places, the Dutch city of Leiden is second to none. Some of the local streets haven't change much of their appearance and character for centuries. When in Leiden, watch your steps as you might follow, quite literally, in the footsteps of great Rembrandt himself. This orientation walk is set to reveal to you some of the local secrets and the most notable landmarks that make Leiden so special.
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Leiden Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Leiden Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: Netherlands » Leiden (See other walking tours in Leiden)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 18
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.2 Km or 2.6 Miles
Author: nicole
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • City Hall
  • Botermarkt
  • Korenbeurs Brug
  • Hooglandse Kerk
  • Burcht
  • Hartebrugkerk
  • Museum Boerhaave
  • Molen de Valk
  • Molen de Put
  • Rembrandt Statue
  • Sieboldhuis
  • Waalse Kerk
  • Gravensteen
  • Hortus Botanicus
  • Academisch Historisch Museum
  • Pieterskerk
  • Leiden University
  • Van der Werfpark
City Hall

1) City Hall (must see)

City Hall is a Renaissance building, constructed in the 16th century. It has typical red brick walls and a complicated structured roof. City Hall also has a clock tower that looks a bit unusual - the upper part has some Muslim and Tudor style influences. The old building is an attraction for both tourists and locals, as it is a part of the city heritage and displays old architecture styles in Leiden. It also has a small restaurant on the first floor.

2) Botermarkt

The Botermarkt shopping street is always busy. Sometimes shopping and a night out are combined here as the mix of boutiques with interesting souvenirs, postcards and funny jewelry merge with dozens of little restaurants, pubs and cafeterias make this phenomenon possible. Botermarkt open air market is a great place for children too - lots of hand painted Dutch dolls and wooden sandals appear to be the favourite items here.
Korenbeurs Brug

3) Korenbeurs Brug (must see)

The Korenbeurs Bridge is the largest bridge that connects De Burcht area and the old market site. This name was attributed around 1443, when the first merchants arrived and the first transactions at the market were made. The columns are designed in Ionic style, and the roof dates from 1825, designed by the city architect of that time - Salomon van der Pauw. When seen from above, the shape of the roofs betrays a bilateral symmetry of the design.
Hooglandse Kerk

4) Hooglandse Kerk (must see)

The edifice was built out of bricks more than 5 centuries ago, at the beginning of the 15th century and the design used has several Gothic elements. Hooglandse Kerk is dedicated to St. Pancras and today is a church used by the Protestant community of the Netherlands. The sanctuary was finished in 1391 and the ambulatory, in 1415. The whole church is white inside, giving the impression of heaven on earth. It is very high and large, with a lot of light, Corinthian columns and an arched roof. It is considered one of the most beautiful buildings in Leiden.

5) Burcht (must see)

The Burcht van Leiden is an old Shell keep in Leiden constructed in the 11th century. It is located at the spot where two tributaries of the Rhine come together, the Leidse Rijn, and another river, now a canal. The structure is on top of a motte, and is today a public park. From humble beginnings, the hill was raised during various periods of history up to 9 meters above the surrounding landscape in the 11th century.

Ada van Holland, Countess of Holland, used the keep as a residence until her father died in 1203 and she was captured by her uncle. In the same year the previous stone building was rebuilt after an attack on the castle, with tuff stone, and after Ada's removal, in 1204 it was attacked again and rebuilt with brick. Later in the 13th century the building was considered antiquated, since more and more townspeople and houses were built around the base of the hill, making defenses impossible without destroying most of the city. The old "interior keep" that had been built against the interior walls (a similar ronded keep construction can still be seen in Teylingen) was slowly dismantled and reused for city construction.
Sight description based on wikipedia

6) Hartebrugkerk

Hartebrug is a Catholic church with a very high tower and very warm, pleasant and comfortable interior. The basic style used in architecture and design is Gothic, although there is some Tudor style and early Renaissance influence. The unusual peach and pale orange colours of the interior walls give a slight sensation of home and summer. The roof is in the shape of a half tube, and the columns have Corinthian capitals.
Museum Boerhaave

7) Museum Boerhaave

Museum Boerhaave is a museum of the history of science and medicine, based in Leiden. The museum hosts a collection of historical scientific instruments from all disciplines, but mainly from medicine, physics, and astronomy. The museum is located in a building that was originally a convent in central Leiden. It includes a reconstructed traditional anatomical theatre. It also has many galleries that include the apparatus with which Heike Kamerlingh Onnes first liquefied helium (in Leiden), the electromagnet equipment used by Wander Johannes de Haas (a Leiden physicist) for his low-temperature research, and an example of the Leiden jar, among many other objects in the extensive collection.

The museum is named after Herman Boerhaave, a Dutch physician and botanist who was famous in Europe for his teaching at Leiden and lived to a great age, receiving brilliant students from all over Europe, including Peter the Great, Voltaire and Linnaeus.

Operation hours: Tuesday to Sunday: 10 am - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Molen de Valk

8) Molen de Valk (must see)

The Windmill de Valk is a hot spot in Leiden, as it represents an unusual fact in a big city - a huge windmill! Dozens of pictures are taken here every day and this is a very pleasant place for children because the mill is open to explore. The guides will tell you a lot of interesting stories connected to it. This edifice was built in 1743, and is now the home of the Molen de Valk museum that contains old farming objects, photos of the past and much more.
Molen de Put

9) Molen de Put (must see)

The Molen de Put is a modern reconstruction of another mill, which was erected in the 17th century. The modern structure was built in 1987. An interesting fact is that the mill is designed in such a way that it can turn to face the wind. Since it was reconstructed, the windmill turns a single millstone. It is located right next to the river and is a brilliant site.
Rembrandt Statue

10) Rembrandt Statue

Many talented people that dedicated their lives to art and science were born in Leiden. Among the painters that lived and worked here, the most famous is Rembrandt van Rijn, born in 1606. In 2006, when 400 years passed from his birth, the authorities organized many festivities dedicated to this occasion. On Rembrandtplaats was erected an interesting statue of the painter: Rembrandt himself during his work. Each year the statue is painted in order to give it a better appearance, and it really looks alive.

11) Sieboldhuis (must see)

Sieboldhuis represents the nucleus of the Scientific Museum of Leiden. Its great collection contains ancient Japanese arts, as well as scientific and medical materials. Philipp Franz Bathasar von Siebold (1796-1866) was the person that researched and gathered materials and created this wonderful museum. The exhibit shows objects from daily life, arts and masterpieces and unknown handmade beauties: jewelry, vases, cups, plates, figurines of humans and animals, all hand-painted. The clothes room is also an interesting spot - unusual shapes and colours dance all around the spectators.
Waalse Kerk

12) Waalse Kerk

Waalse Church is one of the oldest edifices in Leiden. It was built in 1275 and the chapel was enlarged in 1635. Other major changes happened between 1737 and 1739, when the tower and the fa├žade of the church were renewed and several Gothic style decorations were added. The red brick construction is a single-floored, arched church and the walls are decorated with bas-relief sculptures, also in a Gothic manner. Services are held in French.

13) Gravensteen

The Gravensteen (The Castle of the Count) used to be a prison in the city of Leiden, but nowadays houses the law school. It was built as a fortress in the 13th century, but it had many applications, namely that of house, library and prison. The edifice has three main levels, with another semi-level on top; the upper level is decorated with three sculptures and two columns - all designed in old Gothic style with some Baroque influences in details.
Hortus Botanicus

14) Hortus Botanicus (must see)

Hortus Botanicus is one of Europe's first botanical gardens. Nowadays it represents a part of the University of Leiden. The Botanical Garden also has a Japanese garden that bears the name of Von Siebolt, a Dutch scientist who did botanical research in Japan in the 19th century. Another garden is named after the Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. The most important thing is that children love this place - so much to see, smell, touch and so much space to run and play. Don't forget to take pictures and send them to your friends and relatives!
Academisch Historisch Museum

15) Academisch Historisch Museum (must see)

The Academisch Historisch Museum (Academy Museum of History) hosts a collection of early, historical Dutch documents, maps, photographs, old books and scientific reports dating from the 16th century until the present day. The edifice that was erected at the beginning of the 16th century also contains ethnology materials, like clothes, household objects, some art pieces and former uniforms of the Dutch army.

16) Pieterskerk (must see)

The Pieterskerk is a late-Gothic church in Leiden dedicated to Saint Peter. It is best known today as the church of the Pilgrim Fathers where John Robinson was buried. In around 1100 the site held the county chapel of the counts of Holland, rebuilt in 1121. The present building took approximately 180 years to build, starting in 1390. Famous Leiden dignitaries are buried there, including the painter Jan Steen and the Leiden professor Herman Boerhaave.

The beautiful stained glass windows already took a terrible blow during the Beeldenstorm, but somewhat more than a century later were completely destroyed in the gunpowder explosion of January 12, 1807. The windows were boarded up, and it wasn't until 1880 that a large-scale restoration took place. During multiple restorations a lot of discoveries were made, they are on permanent display in the church. A mummy is also on display, it was decided not to make it a subject of a scientific scrutiny. Though the windows have been lost, the various grave monuments by prominent Leiden sculptors can still be seen. The building is open to the public.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Leiden University

17) Leiden University (must see)

The Leiden University is considered to be among the oldest universities in tulip country, with six faculties and more than 50 departments. This university has an outstanding international reputation. The walls in aula gather an astonishing collection of portraits that portray many famous professors. Some science buffs nowadays call this collection the history of science. The main building is composed of three floors, cherry-colour brick and dark, stoked windows. The decorations painted in white are designed in Gothic style, as is the big wooden door, delicately decorated with reliefs.
Van der Werfpark

18) Van der Werfpark

Every parent knows that kids need fresh air, good water, good food and love in order to grow up healthy and brilliant. Because we care, we propose a nice walk in the Werfpark, a large green area, perfect for parents to rest while children are running, jumping and having a snack. In this park you will see the Mayor's Van der Werf Statue and the adjacent exotic garden. It is usually a quiet and pleasant place, and the lake beside the park is a delight in the middle of a noisy, long day.

Walking Tours in Leiden, Netherlands

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