NAARDEN, NETHERLANDS – a star fort in a star location

Naarden's fortified gates now never need their drawbridges raised.

For reasons I will probably never understand, there was a sudden rush to search this blog yesterday for information on Naarden, the small fortified Dutch town east of Amsterdam. I can only guess that Year Six were set an assignment on Naarden and were hoping I would do their homework for them.

I referred to Naarden briefly in a post on the Dutch Cycle Network, because it’s a village I regularly ride past, and I’ve occasionally stopped to refuel with koffie and appeltaart there.

Those who visited RT’s LOTR wanting serious information on the place would have been disappointed, so if you’ve got an extension on your homework deadline and still would like my expert help, here it is…

Naarden is an excellent example of a Spanish ‘star fort’, a walled town with vantage points shaped like arrow heads sticking out into a moat. It’s hard to take a single photo to show how they all fit together unless you have access to a helicopter. Or Google Earth:

Most other fortified villages in the Netherlands have now been swallowed up by the growth of the towns around them, their moats have been drained and only a few oddly-angled streets remain. Naarden has been restored, and boat tours of the moat and visits to its museum are popular with tourists and school groups.

Naarden was one of the largest cities in the Netherlands in the heady days of 1131, and was the capital city of Holland when Amsterdam was nothing but a few fishermen’s hovels along the banks of the River Amstel.

The old stadhuis (town hall) with its characteristic step gables is a popular wedding venue, while in the Waalse Chapel in the Kloosterstraat lies whatever remains of the Czech philosopher and theologian Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670). His most famous book, Orbis Sensualium Pictus (don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either until I googled it) was written in Naarden.

Comenius was a great believer in a united Europe, and his ideas eventually gave rise to the current charter of the United Nations.

I hope all this helps, dear students of Dutch history and geography. Don’t forget to mention this blog in the bibliography at the bottom of your assignments. And put my information into your own words. Cutting and pasting is called ‘plagiarism’ and you’re not supposed to do it.

Hope you all get A+.


Filed under Holland

14 responses to “NAARDEN, NETHERLANDS – a star fort in a star location

  1. Melinda Vance

    There was a posting on yesterday about the top 10 most beautiful walled cities to visit and Naarden was one of the cities listed.

  2. Browns

    yes, I saw the MSN posting and became totally fascinated by Naarden. Don’t ask me why, I have 8 children and none of them have ever done a report on Naarden. Thanks for the info though.

  3. It must have been a good MSN posting!

    And thanks for the visit to my site. Naarden is a beautiful village, but due to the narrow streets it’s hard to take one photo to do it justice.

    Sorry none of your 8 has done a Naarden project yet, but I’m sure you must have had plenty of other opportunities to use your internet research to help with homework!

  4. Nice info on Naarden, thanks! Hoping to bike there this weekend to catch the World Press Photo exhibit if the weather will finally cooperate. Looking forward to reading your blog as an ex-pat in A’Dam with a love for travel!

  5. Heather Klynstra

    My daughters and I are travelling to Heerenveen, Holland in August 2012 to visit relatives. We are there for one week then travel by tour bus through germany, switzerland and france. From my brief research via the internet, I can’t believe how interested I am in the Dutch history-the Spanish Star was very exciting find and want to know how we can travel there from Hereenveen and is it possible to do in a day trip. I must visit Naarden :-). Thanks, Heather Klynstra

    • Hi Heather,

      Pretty much everywhere in Holland is a day trip from everywhere else. It’s not a long drive From Heerenveen to Naarden, and if you’re doing it by public transport there are stations at Heerenveen and one at Naarden-Bussum. If you check the website it gives all point-to-point details for planning the journey. You can operate this site in English and your friends in Heerenveen will probably know about that too. Hope you enjoy it. The whole Naarden-Bussum area is very attractive really – very wealthy with lovely houses and gardens.

      • Heather Klynstra

        Thank you so much for your quick reply and information. very excited to enjoy their gardens of all shapes and sizes and history, history…

  6. We bloggers always like to be useful, Heather!

  7. Roger Waller

    My ancestors, the Quick family, left Narrden and came to New Amsterdam (New York) in 1640. I must make a visit. Thanks for the great information Richard.

    • James Jackson

      My name is Jim Jackson and my Quick ancestors on my mom’s side came to New Amsterdam (New York) also. We went over there in 2012 and stayed in Eindhoven and spent a day in Naarden. It is a unbeliueveable beautiful place. My ancestor was a mason and I wonderedif he had helped build any of the buildings we say. I hope you get to go and have a great trip.

  8. Reblogged this on Ferry to Holland and commented:
    If you don’t believe us, Richard Tulloch will convince you that Naarden, Netherlands is “a star location”!

  9. Pingback: Interior da Holanda, moinhos e canais: Kinderdijk, Utrecht e Giethoorn – história, viagens e livros

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