Top Historic Sights in Leiden, Netherlands

Explore the historic highlights of Leiden

Burcht van Leiden

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 ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Leiden, Netherlands

Bibliotheca Thysiana

The Bibliotheca Thysiana was erected in 1655 to house the book collection of the lawyer Johannes Thysius (1621–1653). Upon his early death, he left a legacy of 20,000 guilders for the building of a public library with a custodian's dwelling. Designed by the architect Arent van ‘s-Gravensande, the building follows the Dutch Classical style and is regarded as one of the jewels of Dutch 17th-century architecture. The Bi ...
Founded: 1655 | Location: Leiden, Netherlands

Marekerk

The Marekerk church was designed by the city architect Arent van ’s-Gravesande in 1639-1649, who also designed the Bibliotheca Thysiana on Rapenburg 25. It was opened in 1649. The main entrance was designed by Jacob van Campen in 1659. The organ was built by Pieter de Swart around 1560 for the choir of the Pieterskerk and it was moved to the Marekerk in 1733 and enlarged by Rudolph Garrels. It was restored in 1966 by Fl ...
Founded: 1639-1649 | Location: Leiden, Netherlands

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Gruyères Castle

The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.

In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.

A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.