On a flight to Berlin from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, the plane flew past the star-shaped fortress town of Naarden Vesting. The aerial view I had of Naarden Vesting from the plane window was amazing!

Aerial view of Naarden Vesting from the plane window.

Located about a 20-minute drive east of Amsterdam, Naarden was granted city rights in the 14th century. In 1675, the city was fortified with six bastions and two moats which can still be seen till this day. One of the most famous visitors to the city was Napoleon Bonaparte who came to inspect the fortress in 1811, a year after annexing the Netherlands. The French remained in the fortress till 1814 when they were ousted by the Dutch forces.

Things to see in Naarden Vesting

Naarden Vesting is one of my recommendations for beautiful towns to visit in the Netherlands. A prime example of a star fortress (there are several others in the Netherlands such as Heusden and Fort Bourtange), Naarden Vesting is part of the larger town of Naarden, and is a lovely place to visit. I recommend it as part of a day trip from Amsterdam or a Holland road trip for a stroll around its historic centre, which is full of boutiques, antique stores and art galleries. At the centre of the town is the Grote Kerk (Great Church), which is famous across the country for its MatthäusPassion concert every year around Easter.

Naarden Vesting is a charming town with historic buildings, boutiques, art galleries, cafés and restaurants. This is the old City Hall in a Dutch Renaissance style.
One of the old cannons in Naarden Vesting.
Het Arsenaal (‘arsenal’) is a striking historic building in Naarden Vesting. Previously a military depot, the building is a national monument and houses design/concept stores and a top-notch restaurant.
The main street in the historic centre.
Charming houses inside the fortress walls.

One of my favourite things to do in Naarden is to walk along and under the fortress walls. From April to October, it’s also possible to join a boat tour around the moats. You can also visit the Vesting Museum (Fortress Museum) to learn more about the history of the fortress.

things to see naarden vesting
The view of the walls from the Vesting Museum (Fortress Museum).
A great thing to do in Naarden Vesting is to go on a leisurely stroll around the walls.
A walk atop the walls of the fortress.

After your walk, have a drink or a meal in Naarden Vesting. Some of my favourite cafés for drinks/lunch include Het Hert and the Vesting Hotel Naarden (opposite the Grote Kerk church). For dinner, I can recommend Lokaal wijn & eten and Acquavite.

However, the best way to appreciate Naarden Vesting’s star shape is from the air. If you’re flying into Amsterdam and the approach is from the east/northeast, you might be able to spot it if you’re sitting on the left side of the plane (row ‘A’). If you’re flying out of Amsterdam in an easterly direction, row ‘A’ will give you the best aerial view of Naarden on a clear day. Naarden Vesting is on my list of incredible plane window views.

Read about my visit to Slot Loevestein, a medieval castle, and Heusden, another formidable star-shaped fortress in central Netherlands.

See other Plane Views posts:

Read more about the Netherlands on Velvet Escape:

4 Responses

  • […] Located approximately half way between Amsterdam and Amersfoort is the historic town of Naarden (map). Naarden is famous for its star-shaped fortress (Naarden Vesting) which is best seen from the air. This charming town makes for a lovely stop to stroll around its cobblestone streets, browse around the many antique shops and art galleries, and wander along the fortress walls. Read more about things to see in Naarden Vesting. […]

  • Hi Nim! Thanks for sharing your memory of Naarden. It really is a lovely place and I always get excited when I’m taking off from Schiphol on the Aalsmeer runway and heading in an easterly direction because I know we’ll fly past Naarden! I know, that’s the geek in me. Haha! I’ve taken several photos of it in the past but this one’s the best so far.
    Hope you’re well.


  • Oh Keith – i remember visiting Naarden as a child by train from the Hague, with my Oma! Its a beautiful place and how lucky to see the layout so clearly from the sky.

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