Top 10 Walled Cities

Brielle, Netherlands


The Netherlands is full of walled cities – not surprising for a country bordered by the aggressive powers of France and Germany (and of course Britain just across the water). Many of the city walls have been demolished or were damaged during World War II, but Brielle remains intact – a fortified city boasting not only walls but also earth ramparts supporting them.Despite its fortifications, Brielle has changed hands a few times, including being ceded to the English in a treaty in 1585. A few years earlier, the Spanish invaders had failed to hold on to the city and the Dutch rebels captured it on 1st April 1572. This is remembered every year as “Chalk Night” (when locals deface the city with chalk”) and the events have been immortalized in this line of verse “Op 1 april verloor Alva zijn bril“. Literally translated word-for-word, this means “On 1 April, lost Alva his glasses”. Alva refers to the Spanish Duke and “bril” (glasses) is a pun on the city name. If you ever visit, recite it to a local. They’ll love it…