1. Leidse Burcht
You have to climb a few stairs, but then you have something! The Burcht in Leiden offers breathtaking views of the city. It is one of the most prominent monuments of Leiden. Once at the top, you walk along the ring wall and see how the Rhine flows together in the center of the city. In addition, you’ll have a great view of the Pieterskerk and the Hooglandse Kerk and other special buildings. The castle itself is also worth a visit: it is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in the Netherlands. In fact, this monument is older than Leiden itself and dates from around 1150.
2. Hooglandse Kerk
Actually, Leidse Burcht is the best place to admire this beautiful Gothic church: the seventeenth-century Hooglandse Kerk is a striking sight in the heart of Leiden. But also the inside of this church is worth a visit. Once inside, this church seems immense, especially because of the light and light colors that have been used on the walls. Although the Hooglandse Kerk was originally Catholic, you see nothing of that now. All artifacts and archives related to the Catholic faith were destroyed during the iconoclasm in 1566 and since 1572 the church has been in Protestant hands. Fun fact: church services are still held in the Hooglandse Kerk every Sunday.
3. Pieterskerk Leiden
Where the Hooglandse Kerk is still used for church services, in the Pieterskerk this is a very different story. Here are mainly events held, such as a fashion show, a wedding or a concert. The five-aisled cruciform church was built in late Gothic style and occupies a prominent place in the heart of the city. Historically, this church was even the main church of the city of Leiden! We are impressed when we walk around this immense building. Especially when we realize that Rembrandt van Rijn, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and King Willem-Alexander have all been in this church! Interesting fact: during the Second World War, the Pieterskerk was not only a place to hold church services but also to hide people in hiding, to train resistance groups and to hide important items of the university in the grave of theologian Coccejus. It is also possible to visit the Pieterskerk for a fee.
4. Hortus botanicus Leiden
Surprising, breathtaking and relaxing. Whether you are a plant lover or not, Hortus botanicus Leiden is worth a visit anyway. This beautiful place in the inner city of Leiden can call itself the oldest botanical garden in the Netherlands. It’s special to realize that the herb garden was already laid out in 1590 and that plants and trees grow there that are hundreds of years old. That piece of nostalgia you can feel and smell during a visit to Hortus. Tip: take a guided tour with one of the enthusiastic tour guides and find out interesting facts about the tropical plant world, the history of the botanical garden and all the beautiful things that grow here in the gigantic greenhouses. Read more about our visit to Hortus in: Hortus botanicus Leiden: here you will spontaneously fall in love.
5. De Valk Windmill Museum
This famous windmill looms up just about everywhere you walk in the city center: Mill Museum De Valk. Here you take a look at real miller life with original furniture, Delft blue tiles and family portraits on the wall. Learn everything about milling and admire the various exhibition rooms in the mill. On the second floor you will find the exhibition “The mill, symbol of Holland” and on the second floor you will learn more about mills in Leiden and the history of De Valk.