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

Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre

Built around AD 90 to entertain the legionaries stationed at the fort of Caerleon (Isca), the impressive amphitheatre was the Roman equivalent of today’s multiplex cinema. Wooden benches provided seating for up to 6,000 spectators, who would gather to watch bloodthirsty displays featuring gladiatorial combat and exotic wild animals.

Long after the Romans left, the amphitheatre took on a new life in Arthurian legend. Geoffrey of Monmouth, the somewhat imaginative 12th-century scholar, wrote in his History of the Kings of Britain that Arthur was crowned in Caerleon and that the ruined amphitheatre was actually the remains of King Arthur’s Round Table.

Today it is the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain.