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Heusden a historical fortification city

Heusden is a municipality and a city in the South of the Netherlands. It is located between the cities Waalwijk and 's-Hertogenbosch.

Castle
The settlement of Heusden, bordering on the river Meuse (Maas), as we know it today dates back to the 13th century, and started with the construction of a fortification to replace the castle that was destroyed by the Duke of Brabant in 1202. This fortification was quickly expanded with water works and a donjon (castle keep). The city of Heusden received city rights in 1318. The castle of Heusden was the property of successive dukes of Brabant, in 1357 it went over to the counts of Holland. With the construction of ramparts and moats the castle became located within the city's fortifications, and the castle lost its function as a stronghold. The donjon was now used as a munition depot. A disaster marked the end of the castle of Heusden and caused the economic demise of the city; on 24 July 1680 a terrible thunderstorm hit Heusden, and lightning struck the donjon. Sixty thousand pounds of gunpowder and other ammunition exploded, and destroyed the castle. It took the people of Heusden seven weeks to clear the rubble and debris. The castle was never fully rebuilt. However, the original outlines of the main features were restored in 1987.

Fortifications and restoration
During the first years of the Eighty Years War (1568-1648), Heusden was occupied by the Spanish. In 1577, however, following the Pacification of Ghent, the people of Heusden chose to ally with William, Prince of Orange. William decided to consolidate the town's strategic position near the river Meuse, and ordered fortification works to be constructed. Work started in 1579 with the digging of moats and the construction of bastions, walls, and ravelins. and was completed in 1597.

By early 19th century, the defence works were fallen into disrepair and dismantled. In 1968, however, extensive restoration works started, and fortifications were carefully rebuilt, based on and inspired by a 1649 map of the city of Heusden by Johannes Blaeu, son of the famous Dutch cartographer Willem Blaeu. In 1980, the city of Heusden received the European Urbes Nostrae restoration prize. Heusden now draws over 350 thousand tourists every year who visit the historic town centre and walk the walls that once made it a formidable stronghold.

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