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Molen Molen

About Brielle

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"Den Briel"

Brielle is a historic stronghold town with some of the best-preserved fortifications in the Netherlands. The town has more than 400 heritage sites and monuments and has a place in the history books, because Brielle was freed from Spanish rule on 1 April 1572.

Inside the town walls, you'll find the unique Sint-Catherijnekerk (where William of Orange married Charlotte de Bourbon in 1575) and the interactive museum of the Eighty Years' War, which is located in the old town hall. Every spot, every gable and every stone has its own story. Reason enough for the enthusiastic group of Brielle town guides to organise regular walking tours.

Nice to know

  • Brielle has so many sights to see that it's impossible to view them all on just one day. We name but a few: the Jacobskerk, the Seamen's Mission (het Asyl), the Merulaweeshuis orphanage, the Arsenaal and the Infirmerie, the Geuzenkerk, the Sloepenloods with the buildings around the beautiful Maarland-haven, the mill and the fortifications dating from 1713
  • The first Dutch astronaut, Wubbo Ockels, played in the streets of Brielle as a child, as did television presenter Natasja Froger.
  • Brielle is the best-known pilgrimage site in the province of Zuid-Holland. Following the attack by the Sea Beggars in 1572, 19 Roman Catholic clergymen were executed - the Martyrs of Gorcum. This is commemorated every year on 9 July in and around the Bedevaartskerk on De Rik.
  • Brielle has one of the earliest plastered ceilings (dating back to roughly 1600) still preserved in the Netherlands and a large number of unique gable stones. Seafaring heroes Maarten Harpertzoon Tromp and Witte de With were born in Brielle, as were authors Johan Been (Paddeltje) and Toon Tellegen.


About Brielle

Libertatis Primitiae

Or: First to be liberated. During the Eighty Years' War, Brielle (Den Briel) was the first town in the Netherlands to be liberated from the Spanish. Admiral Lumey of the Sea Beggars liberated Brielle on 1 April 1572, 'in the name of Orange'. It's busy in Brielle on that date every year, when the event is celebrated on a large scale. The streets are decorated in 16th-century style and the enthusiastic inhabitants perform the play ‘for the key to the town’. Needless to say, both citizens and soldiers enjoy delicious Geuzen beer together afterwards in one of the ‘taveernen van Den Briel’.

In 2022, Brielle will be celebrating the 450th anniversary of its liberation on a large scale. There are activities revolving around 450 years of liberty and hospitality throughout the entire year, for young and old.