The beautiful south ramparts with their small towers testify to Leerdam's long history as a fortified city. The city wall and its four gates are thought to have been built in the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries, and the bases of the towers, known as the ‘mouse towers’ (Muizentorentjes), date from the same time. These were designed to protect the wall against ice surges and the waters of the Linge river. In times of war, cannons were positioned atop the ‘mouse towers’ to defend the city. But how did they get this name? Around 1837, a quay was constructed here and houses were built in what remained of the ruined old towers along the wall. Unfortunately, people were afraid to live in them, since the enemy could simply cross the water into your house. Consequently, the towers stayed vacant, making them a haven for mice and rats. Hence the name ‘mouse towers’! These days, the towers are in use, some residentially, and one as a cute and cosy coffee and tea shop.