On a colder than anticipated Sunday in March 2022, Oriol took me for a surprise one-day road trip to the Netherlands for a hike. First we walked the Moerputten Bridge near ‘s-Hertogenbosch, we then went to Gorinchem (also spelled as pronounced Gorkum or Gorcum), to Dordrecht and we ended the excursion at Willemstad.
Willemstad is a fortified town in the Dutch province of North Brabant, not to be confused with Willemstad on Curaçao. It’s located in the municipality of Moerdijk. Its population as of 2019 was 3,125.
Willemstad is a small historical town with well preserved fortifications. It lies on the Hollands Diep, close to the Haringvliet and Volkerak. Until 1584 its name was Ruigenhil, but became Williamtown after the assassination of William the Silent, prince of Orange.
It received city rights in 1585. The Reformed Church was built in 1607 as the first new Protestant church building in the Netherlands. Willemstad was a separate municipality until 1997, when it became part of Zevenbergen, which changed its name to Moerdijk in 1998.
“If you want to go back in time, Willemstad is the place to be. Williamstown is one of the most strategically located fortified towns of William of Orange. The bond with Orange is still there; King Willem-Alexander still bears the title Lord of Willemstad today. Willemstad is one big monument. During a walk, the most turbulent periods in the Dutch history pass by. Old cannons peer over the high city walls. But don’t be alarmed, the cannons don’t threaten….. they welcome you”, the tourism website welcomes you.
“That is what makes it so much fun to organize your arrangement in Willemstad. The atmosphere is already there! On this site we give you a lot of options that you can do in Willemstad. Is the arrangement you have in mind not listed? Feel free to contact us. We can combine endlessly and make a tailor-made proposal for you.”
What does this mean in practice? We saw cute buildings and loads of expensive cars. It was a cold Sunday evening and people were dining out or watching tv. Very Dutchly, they don’t have curtains for privacy.
Coat of arms
Willemstad has an interesting coat of arms, with a lion holding an escutcheon in the escutcheon. It’s the escutcheon of Jan II van Glymes and is also the coat of arms of Zemst in Flemish Brabant in Belgium.
- Willemstad (Wikipedia).
- Coat of arms of Willemstad (Wikipedia, Dutch).
- Willemstad, Zuiderwaterlinie (Dutch).
- Willemstad Toerisme (Dutch).
- Op stap in Willemstad (Dutch).