The area around Weesp was already inhabited before our era. Due to its strategic location on the border of Utrecht and Holland on the Vecht river.
Originated as a dike village, it grew into a real fortified town and it was located on an important trade route with Flanders. As early as 1355, Weesp acquired city rights.
Weesp had many city mills and these provided the raw materials for the breweries and brandy distilleries. In addition, the quality of the Vecht water was excellent. Even in the 19th century, ships with drinking water left for Amsterdam every day.
Three town mills remain: Het Haantje, De Eendracht, and De Vriendschap.
To protect Amsterdam, Weesp was made into a fortified city in 1672 with canals, redoubts and a fortress. Later it became part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam. An 1853 law stipulated that only wooden houses could be built at a distance of 300 meters from a fort. They were easy to break in the event of a war threat. See the colored wooden houses on the Molenpad.
The Gemeentemuseum is located in the interesting 18th-century town hall. It exposes also the history of the van Houten cocoa factory that settled in Weesp in 1850. The chocolate manufacturer had more than a thousand employees at its height, which doubled the city’s population.