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Especially on weekends a lot of tourists, mainly by boat, come to visit the picturesque town of Willemstad, near Volkerak and the Hollands Diep. Originally the fortified town in Noord-Brabant was called Ruigenhil, but in 1584 it was renamed by his son prince Maurits after Willem van Oranje was murdered on 10 July that year by Balthasar Gerards. Because of his support for Protestantism Willem van Oranje was outlawed by the Spanish king Filip II.

Fortified town

The fortified town has a rich history and various monumental ancient buildings, among them is the hunting lodge and manor which was built by prince Maurits, which he named Princehof, but later on was changed to Mauritshuis. This national monument is a popular wedding location. By order of Maurits the fortified town of Willemstad was expanded and received its current shape of which the bastions became the points of a star. Each point was named after one of the seven provinces who were fighting against Spain.

Also the first protestant location for worship was built in Willemstad with financial help from Maurits. It is the still existing Koepelkerk which was built in 1607. King Louis Napoleon and his brother the emperor Napoleon both visited Willemstad in the beginning of the nineteenth century. The French strengthened their coast defence against the English with two forts south of the town. In May of 1940 Willemstad was still a part of the countries defence against the Germans, but after a few days it had to capitulate. The Germans used the old fortified town for maritime purposes. These days a lot of pleasure yachts visit the harbours.