When we were looking at the cities to visit nearby, we noticed the odd shape of Willemstad on the map, which immediately caught our attention.
It turned out that Willemstad is one of many star-shaped towns around Europe and especially in the Netherlands.
Here it is a bit of history:
The starfort first appeared in Italy at the end of the 15th century. Medieval-era fortifications tended to be ring-shaped, which not only allowed attackers relative safety when they got close to its walls, but were vulnerable to the new technology of artillery.
The design of the starfort did away with “dead zones,” or areas in which an attacker cannot be brought under fire, by the use of triangular bastions which command all approaches. The starfort concept was adopted by nearly every European nation and in the New World from the 16th through 19th centuries. Starforts are really cool! Their symmetric beauty and historic nature make them absolutely fascinating.
The small town of Willemstad, Noord (North)-Brabant, is one of the best destinations to visit in The Netherlands and it’s also a perfect day trip from cities such as Breda.
The town of Ruigenhil was made a fortified town by William of Orange, or Willem van Oranje in Dutch. When Willem was murdered in 1584, everyone started to call Ruigenhill ‘Willems stad’, or Williams city. And in 1585, the name Ruigenhil was officially changed into Willemstad.
Prince Maurits (son of William of Orange) then gave the assignment of expanding the fortifications and it was made into the current shape of the seven pointy stars fortress.
And here we go – went to visit it
Although the star-shaped construction is visible only from above (that photo is not mine), the fort was more than impressive. It’s a huge defending structure and when you think it was build 5-6 centuries ago…
Wow, what a work!!!
It was gray and quite cold day, but at least didn’t rain, so we were grateful. The full lockdown had just taken place and everything around was closed. Not even a single cafe to sit and warm yourself up. But hey, there is nothing better than the bad weather, isn’t it?! 😉
So, we went first to Fort Sabina – interesting and well managed place. We were even able to have a cup of hot chocolate by an open fire in the garden! With no sits of course, but who want to sit in that cold, anyway.
Afterwords we went for a short stroke trough the very Willemstad. Once again – the remains of the ancient defence were quite impressive to be seen! Unfortunately the bad weather didn’t support my photography. 🤷♀️
You can see more photos of Willemstad at the Gallery.