Naarden was founded in 996 as a village on the Zuiderzee, but due to regular flooding the old village disappeared into the sea. It was rebuilt as a fortress and it is one of the best preserved examples of fortified towns in Europe.
During the Eighty Years’ War, Naarden was occupied by the Spaniards in 1572. In one of the largest mass murders in the Netherlands 800 people, almost all residents, were brutally murdered.
During the French period, the fortifications were further expanded with six bastions and the intact, star-shaped ramparts from the period 1675-1685 have been beautifully preserved and are a in perfect condition.
Due to its strategic location, it has always been a military city with barracks, double ramparts, warehouses for weapons, a moat, bastions and city gates. The star shaped fortress, provided with bastions, avoides dead spots and were able to give flanking fire. The enemy was always visible.
Naarden fortified city is much visited by Czech because of the Comenius Museum dedicated to the Czech theologian, philosopher, educator and fighter for human rights Comenius.
The large St. Vitus Church dates from 1380. The church is best known for the annual performance of the St. Matthew Passion by J.S. Bach. The interior is particularly beautiful, with a large organ and paintings.
The Town Hall from 1601, with two beautiful Renaissance stepped gables, is opposite the church.