ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Visiting Leiden Castle, Leiden, The Netherlands: between the history of the city and national historiography

Updated on February 25, 2013
Flag of The Netherlands
Flag of The Netherlands | Source
Leiden Castle, from the rear.
Leiden Castle, from the rear. | Source
Marriage of Ada, Countess of Holland and Louis II, Count of Loon
Marriage of Ada, Countess of Holland and Louis II, Count of Loon | Source
William the Silent
William the Silent | Source
Map location of Leiden, South Holland, The Netherlands
Map location of Leiden, South Holland, The Netherlands | Source

Stones, bricks and symbolism

Leiden Castle (Dutch: Leidse Burcht) lies at the heart of the old city of Leiden (1), The Netherlands. Located at the confluence of two branches of the Rhine (Dutch: Rijn) river, the Castle is built on an ancient, artificial mound.

Already in the Middle Ages the Castle, which is basically a keep atop the substantial, artificial mound, had undergone sieges. It is reckoned to have its origins in about 1100; in 1203 and again in 1420, the stronghold was besieged.

Much has been written linking prominent historical personalities with the Castle at Leiden. Its mistress, Ada, Countess of Holland (1188-1223), was imprisoned there in 1203. Dutch patriotic writers have also written about the associations of William the Silent (Dutch: Willem de Zwijger) (1533-1584) in relation to the Castle, although in fact by the 14th century the structure had already become largely obsolete in strict, military terms. When the city of Leiden was besieged in 1574 and 1575, with William the Silent playing a leading rĂ´le in its defence, the Castle was actually not preponderant in this successful resistance to Spanish forces, although its record of having undergone sieges previously gave the Castle somewhat of a symbolic status, as did William the Silent also.

The idea of a besieged, Medieval countess, and a Castle being supposedly symbolic of resistance to Spanish rule are certainly appealing from the perspective of popular historiography, whatever the precise facts may actually have been.

The Castle was originally built in stone, although following an early, destructive attack, its stone walls had already been supplemented by brick in Medieval times. Significant, further building work was carried out in the 17th century.

Today, the Castle's mound is well greened; a public park surrounds the structures. Access to the Castle is through more than one ornate gate.

Leiden in located in the South Holland (Dutch: Zuid-Holland) province of The Netherlands. Leiden Castle is situated at Burgsteeg 14, Leiden.

February 25, 2013


(1) Sometimes written 'Leyden' in English.

Also worth seeing

In Leiden itself, the Academiegebouw is the main building of the renowned University, the Hortus Botanicus of which is also famous; the ornate, Renaissance-style City Hall dates from the 16th century.

Amsterdam (distance: 45 kilometres); visitor attractions include the Nieuwe Kerk, the Royal Palance and Dam Square, the Rijksmuseum, and many others.


How to get there: Airlines flying to Amsterdam Airport from New York include Delta Airlines and KLM. The Dutch railroad company NS (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) maintains rail services from Amsterdam to Leiden. There is car rental availability at Amsterdam airport. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please be advised that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. You are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

For your visit, these items may be of interest


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)