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Holiday Travel Guide
Waag showing a river or creek, street scenes and a house

The classical building by the canal is where merchants once sent their goods to be weighed before market. These days it’s a music venue and gallery.

Leiden’s Waag (weigh house) was once a bustling hub for Dutch merchants weighing their goods for sale. Many towns in the Netherlands had these weigh houses, which would guarantee buyers that they weren’t being cheated as they purchased goods. Leiden’s Waag was located right on the Nieuwe Rijn so that boats could transport their cargo directly to the weigh house and from there to market.

The structure was built in the 1650s. Its architecture exhibits the styles of Dutch Classicism. The nearby Boterhuis was designed by the same architect, Pieter Post. Look up to see the sculptural relief by sculptor Rombout Verhulst of barrels of butter being weighed.

As the traditional methods for weighing goods like cheese became less necessary, the people of Leiden began to use the building for other purposes. One of the upper rooms was used by the Dutch anatomist Govert Bidloo to perform post-mortem dissections of the human body. It has also been used for events, weddings and concerts. The Waag houses a small gallery and sometimes has pop-up markets, reminiscent of trading of olden days.

See the Waag as part of a walking tour of the Leiden Loop, passing almshouses, the University and the Rapenburg Canal. Just across the Nieuwe Rijn from the Waag is De Burcht, a public park that was once a fortified shell keep. Take a moment to climb the stairs up the raised earth mound and onto the promenade on top of De Burcht to get a panoramic view of the city.

Rent a bicycle and explore farther afield from the Waag. Visit the sand dunes of the North Sea coast. Enjoy the colorful displays of tulip farms and the Kuekenhof garden. For an iconic Dutch experience, bicycle through and photograph the Kagerplassen area of lakes, peat meadows and windmills.

Top Trending Hotels Near Waag

Best Western City Hotel Leiden
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
3 out of 5
Lange Mare 43, Leiden
The price is £77 per night from 19 Aug to 19 Aug
Located in the heart of Leiden, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Museum Boerhaave and Burcht. Naturalis Biodiversity Center and Corpus are also within ...
3.6/5Good! (300 reviews)
"The room was ok nut de tv doesn’t work, the bathroom, the bath didn’t. The breakfast was good."

Reviewed on 27 Jan 2020

Best Western City Hotel Leiden
CTY Books
CTY Books
3 out of 5
Nieuwe Rijn 2, Leiden
The price is £112 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Located in the heart of Leiden, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Waag and Leiden University. Wall Poems of Leiden and Stadhuis are also within 5 minutes. ...
4.8/5Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Fantastic hotel, very stylish A++
"Fantastic hotel in the perfect location to explore the beautiful town of Leiden"

Reviewed on 13 Dec 2019

CTY Books
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
Schipholweg 3, Building B, Leiden
The price is £82 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
Situated in Leiden, this eco-friendly hotel is within a 15-minute walk of National Museum of Ethnology, Museum Boerhaave and Naturalis Biodiversity Center. Madurodam ...
4.2/5Very Good! (399 reviews)
"Excellent location, satisfied with cleanliness of rooms. Strange open shower (meant that water got everywhere) and only one wall dispenser of all-purpose soap provided for both sink and shower."

Reviewed on 6 Jul 2021

Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Top Hotel Deals

ibis Leiden Centre
ibis Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
Stationsplein 240-242, Leiden
The price is £60 per night from 15 Aug to 15 Aug
ibis Leiden Centre
CTY Books
CTY Books
3 out of 5
Nieuwe Rijn 2, Leiden
The price is £112 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
CTY Books
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
3 out of 5
Lange Mare 43, Leiden
The price is £77 per night from 19 Aug to 19 Aug
Best Western City Hotel Leiden
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
Tulip Inn Leiden Centre
3 out of 5
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The price is £82 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
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Steenhof Suites
Steenhof Suites
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The price is £101 per night from 1 Aug to 1 Aug
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City Hotel Nieuw Minerva
City Hotel Nieuw Minerva
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st.PIERRE
st.PIERRE
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Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
Fletcher Wellness-Hotel Leiden
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The price is £76 per night from 22 Aug to 22 Aug
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Villa Rameau
Villa Rameau
4 out of 5
16A Kloksteeg, Leiden, ZH
The price is £193 per night from 9 Aug to 9 Aug
Villa Rameau
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.