The village of Ruigenhil was once located on the silted up land along the Hollands Diep. William of Orange, the ancestor of the Royal House, ordered this place to be fortified into the military fortress of Willemstad. Unfortunately, William of Orange was not to live to see the completion of the fortress. His son Maurice took on the task of creating a full-fledged fortress starting in 1586. From Willemstad, soldiers could control the open sea connection of Dordrecht and Rotterdam. Today Willemstad offers an attractive combination of hospitality and a natural area outside the city walls.
Feel the history in the fortified town of the Oranges
Maurice expanded the fortress into a seven-pointed star and had a country residence built, the Mauritshuis. Experts consider Willemstad a textbook example of old Dutch fortress architecture. Thanks to wide moats, earthen walls and the ability to flood the surrounding land, enemies were kept at bay. Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte had the Kruithuis built in 1810 and improved the fortifications.
Willemstad and the Van Oranje family are still connected. For example, King Willem-Alexander is Lord of Willemstad.
Today, the city gates are open to visitors, who can take a walk on their own or with one of the experienced city guides.
Walk through Willemstad
Willemstad looks remarkably freshly polished after all these centuries. The cozy fortified town naturally offers hospitality, terraces of taverns surround the picturesque harbor. After all, we are in Brabant. Here you can relax after a green walk along the ramparts and through the town. Worth seeing include the Mauritshuis, the old town hall, the Arsenal and the fortifications. If you want to see the town from above, visit the more than 400-year-old Koepelkerk.
Sail with Spido to Willemstad and you will get a good impression of the Dutch delta. The ship sets course for the fortified town via the Nieuwe and Oude Maas through the Rotterdam port area, the Rhoonse Grienden, the Spui and the Haringvliet. After embarkation you can enjoy coffee or tea with a fresh slice of apple pie. During this trip we also serve a delicious buffet lunch, prepared by our kitchen team.
When everyone is back on board after an afternoon in Willemstad, the crew will serve a small dessert. On the return trip, the Spido ship passes the Drechtsteden, among other places. Around 6:30 p.m. we will dock at the foot of the Erasmus Bridge.
Would you like to discover Willemstad and enjoy the ever-changing, beautiful scenery along the way? Then book your spot on board quickly. You can check here when we organize this day trip.
Why the day trip to Willemstad offers the perfect getaway:
– Suitable for young and old.
– Lots to see during the cruise.
– Visit to a photogenic fortified town.
– Walk over green city walls with beautiful view over the town.
– Walking with experienced guides.
– Cosy terraces around the harbour.
– Good care on board of the ship.