When my Argentinian friend Alejandro visited me in Tilburg, we went to the beautiful village of Heusden in the South of the Netherlands. The history of this charming little fortified town is littered with plundering, war and conquerors.
The settlement of Heusden on the river Maas started with the construction of a fortification to replace the castle destroyed by the Duke of Brabant in 1202. At the beginning of the Eighty Years War (1568-1648), Heusden was occupied by the Spanish. In 1577, however, following the Pacification of Ghent, the people of Heusden allied with William, Prince of Orange. William consolidated the town's strategic position near the river Meuse, and ordered fortification works to be constructed. Work started in 1579 and was completed in 1597.
By the early nineteenth century, the defence works fell into disrepair and were dismantled. In 1968, however, extensive restoration works started, and fortifications were carefully rebuilt, based on and inspired by a 1649 map of the city of Heusden.