Heusden’s history began around the year 1200 with the establishment of an urban settlement beside the River Maas. Its heyday was the construction of the fortifications: from the end of the 16th century Heusden was a garrison town accommodating thousands of soldiers. Then, mostly as now, the town resembled the 17th century drawings made by the Amsterdam cartographer Joan Blaeu: a fortification surrounded by sturdy earthwork ramparts with bastions, moats and ravelins. The Second World War inflicted much damage and human suffering. Subsequently the town was fully restored, honouring Heusden with the highest European award, the ‘Europa Nostra’ prize for restoration. This charming town is certainly worth a visit. Wander through its picturesque streets and alleyways and discover numerous buildings dating back centuries. This historic setting is the home to galleries, speciality shops, friendly restaurants and pavement cafes. There are well-equipped harbours for tourists arriving by water and there are lovely views of the town, the river and the surrounding countryside from the ramparts.