Look at a postcard of Naarden, about 8km east along the A1 from Muiden, and it seems as if the old town was created by a giant pastry-cutter, its gridiron of streets encased within a double ring of ramparts and moats that were engineered with geometrical precision between 1675 and 1685 to defend the eastern approaches to Amsterdam. Within the ramparts, Naarden’s attractive and architecturally harmonious centre mostly dates from the late sixteenth century, its small, low houses erected after the Spanish sacked the town in 1572, including the elaborately step-gabled Stadhuis, built in 1601 and still in use by the town council today. Naarden’s old town is readily explored on foot – it’s only 1km long and about 800m wide.

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