Naarden, the Star of the Netherlands

Naarden by kliek

Naarden by kliek

Naarden is a small town in the province of North Holland in the Netherlands, and represents a perfect example of the star-shaped fortification style that became common in Europe during the 16th century.

In 1300, Naarden was the first city to obtain city rights in the Het Gooi region. Along with other rights (for example the ability to levy taxes and to mint coins) this allowed Naarden to build city walls.
But the original walls were not very well maintained and when the French invaded the Netherlands in the 17th century, the city capitulated quickly in the hands of King Louis XIV, as did other important cities like Utrecht.
Then the Dutch reacted by flooding the land, which stopped the French Army invasion and allowed them to reconquer most of the country, including Naarden.
After these events, the fortifications were updated and modernized, and most of the walls that we can admire now were built during this period.
A second modernization happened in the 19th century when the increased power of firearms made walls less useful than before and lead to the constructions of bomb shelters.

The 20th century, with the advent of new war techniques and tactics which saw the ever increasing importance and use of the air forces, marked the end of the life of fortifications in general, and of Naarden in particular.
Luckily, it was saved from demolition and converted into a monument, and we can still admire it today as one of the best preserved fortified towns in Europe.


Center map

Picture credits:
Naarden by Kliek (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Naarden from Air (Postcard) by Roger W (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Naarden by Claudia Regina (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Naarden Vesting by Johan Wieland (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Naarden Vesting by Johan Wieland (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Naarden by mykaul (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Naarden(128) by Bert Knottenbeld (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

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