South Holland city voted the Netherlands' most beautiful fortified town

South Holland city voted the Netherlands' most beautiful fortified town

After months of nominations and voting, the city of Gorinchem in South Holland has been named the most beautiful fortified town in the Netherlands

The Netherlands' most beautiful fortified town

There are more than 160 fortified towns to be found across the Netherlands, with some of the most famous located in North Holland not too far from Amsterdam (i.e. Naarden and Muiden). Many of these towns are easily recognisable by their star shape, and were built hundreds of years ago as part of the New Dutch Water Line (which is now a recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site). 

After discovering the most beautiful town in the Netherlands last year, the Royal Dutch Touring Club’s (ANWB) launched a campaign to discover the Netherlands’ most beautiful fortified town, asking all its members to vote for one of 40 nominated cities or to nominate their own. 

Ultimately, the city of Gorinchem - also known as Gorkum - situated between Rotterdam and Den Bosch was voted as the most beautiful fortified town. The ANWB jury celebrated the top-notch preservation of the city’s historical sites, hailing it as a historic city with a modern vibe and congratulating the authenticity and liveliness of the city and its people. 

Gorinchem: a historic city with a modern vibe

Harbour Gorinchem

“Gorinchem is beautifully situated on the spot where the river Linge flows into the Merwede,” the jury says. “The ramparts have been beautifully preserved: a green ribbon around the city with knots of chestnuts and plane trees to stroll under and with a view of the surrounding countryside, the river and the many defence works.”

The city is thought to have been founded circa the year 1000, and it was established as a fortified town in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is home to the largest fort that remains fully intact, allowing residents and tourists alike to enjoy gorgeous views as they walk the entire perimeter of the town.

Visiting fortified towns in the Netherlands

Gorinchem isn’t the only beautiful fortified town in the Netherlands. The cities of Dokkum (Friesland), Bourtange (Groningen), Hulst (Zeeland), and Sittard (Limburg) were all recognised by the ANWB jury, securing spots on the jury shortlist. 

The Netherlands’ fortified towns make great day trips for anyone looking to explore the country more, giving locals, expats and tourists the opportunity to learn more about the history of the Netherlands and enjoy classic examples of Dutch architecture. The ANWB has published a book highlighting the top 50 fortified towns in the Netherlands, De allermooiste vestingsteden van Nederland.

Thumb: Steve Photography via Shutterstock.

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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