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The Burcht van Leiden is a 20 metres high citadel in Leiden’s centre that served to defend the city. The construction of the hill is thought to have started as early as the 9th century with turf and clay. The citadel has walls that are six metres high and many embrasures. The citadel offered an excellent view of the city and its surroundings so that any approaching threats could be detected and a counter-attack mounted.