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One of my favorite places to read in Leiden or relax in Leiden is the De Burcht. This castle turned fortress in Leiden has a fascinating history. Today, it’s free to visit this stunning park in Leiden. I’ll include some tips for visiting De Burcht and a bit of de Burcht history!
De Burcht’s History
The Leiden Burcht is a castle in Leiden that is on top of a hill, which was once used as Castle’s main castle that dates back to the 12 century. It is one of the oldest surviving castles in the Netherlands.
Today, it’s mostly a ring of walls on top of the hill, however, there was once a tower on top. Many joke that the only defense that this castle serves at this point is against the greatest Dutch enemy: water.
One of the most famous stories about the Burcht is about the daughter of one of the descendants of the castle, Ada van Holland. As the
The castle remained in the hands of the various rulers of Leiden, including Bavaria (1420), however, the castle along with rights to make beer was eventually sold to the city of Leiden in order to fund a ransom. Since then, it has been owned by the city who have since converted it into a park. Some say that even the Pilgrims (who lived in Leiden) enjoyed this green public space! Today, it remains free and open to the public.
Tips for visiting De Burcht
Do like the Dutch and picnic! You can stop off at the Albert Heijn near the station (or one of the sandwich shops along the way) to gather supplies for your picnic. If you’re only seeking a coffee, I love working at
I never find that de Burcht is that crowded, but you can avoid the mostly local crowds by coming here on a weekday. It’s a popular spot for kids and parents to enjoy a moment of quiet although kids love to play on the fortress. I always love walking past the original gate on Burgsteeg.
It is not handicap accessible as you need to climb the hill (9 meters) using the stairs. Once inside of the Leiden castle, you can climb a narrow additional staircase for views over de Burcht. It’s one of my favorite places to take a stroll in Leiden as the views over the city can’t be beat. Be sure to spy the Marekerk from here as well as the Hooglandse kerk (shown above!)