Naarden (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈnaːrdə(n)] ( listen)) is a city and former municipality in the Gooi region in the province of North Holland, Netherlands. It has been part of the new municipality of Gooise Meren since 2016.
Naarden was granted its city rights in 1300 (the only town in Het Gooi with these rights) and later developed into a fortified garrison town with a textile industry. The actual fortification was built by the Spanish Empire in 1572 by the King Phillip II of Spain.
Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius) was buried in the city, his mausoleum can be visited.
The city's distinctive shape made it a rallying point for Allied bombers returning to England after raids on Germany. The shape of the fortification is an example of a typical Spanish fortification easily to find among old Spanish Empire.
Naarden is the home of the Netherlands Fortress Museum (Nederlands Vestingmuseum). Naarden hosts the bi-annual Naarden Photo Festival and, on Good Friday, a performance of Bach's St. Matthew Passion in the local church, which is called the Great Church or St. Vitus Church.
The Great Church (Grote Kerk) is situated on the Markstraat and dates from the 15th century. Prior to the Protestant Reformation it was named for St. Vitus. It is one of the oldest surviving churches in The Netherlands, having had the good fortune to survive the Spanish invasion of 1572 and the subsequent burning of the town. The church has numerous wooden vaults that are painted with scenes from the Old and New Testaments. These were hidden for many years and were only rediscovered in a recent restoration. The church is the venue for a number of cultural activities such as organ music nights and the bi-annual Naarden Photo festival.
The Spanish House (Spaanse Huis), situated at Turfpoortstraat 27, was originally a church building converted to house migrants. In 1572 Spanish troops conducted a massacre of some 700 inhabitants who had gathered to hear a peace proposal. The Spanish then fired on the assembled citizens, and went on to set fire to the town. A plaque above the lintel of the door and below the eaves commemorates the massacre. In 1615, after the population had reestablished itself, they built the city hall on the site. Part of the building was given over to De Waag (The Scales House), the municipal office entrusted with the verification of weights and measures. The building later served a French garrison as a bakery, turning out over 1000 loaves per day. From 1967 until 1992 it served as the Comenius museum.Today, the historic building serves as the Weegschaal Museum.
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