The city Brielle has arisen from two villages namely Maerlant and Den Briel. At approx. 1330 Brielle became city law(s) and some years after that (approx. 1418) it became the right to provide the city with ramparts. The first ramparts were made out of wood and in case of emergencies these ramparts could be divided so that the wood could be used as fire beacons.
These ramparts – build in accordance with the Old Dutch fortress system – consist of 9 bastions (fortress or citadel) and 5 “ravelijnen” (triangular “front earthwork”). These resistance-works are one of the most important remaining fortress-works of the Netherlands. Brielle also owns a large number of public historic buildings; nowadays these buildings have a total different utilization:
- The “Arsenaal” (warehouse / depot for arms) is now being used as library
- One of the churches is a general medical practice
- The “Hoofdwacht” (main guardhouse = “switchboard” in defence of the city) “accommodates” a (café) restaurant
Brielle is a.o. known because of the “Inname van Den Briel”; every year on 1st of April this fact is celebrated during a play by the locals (the “Watergeuzen” were present at the north entrance gate and they claimed the capitulation of this small but strategic very important port town). The “Inname van Den Briel” also can be seen as the actual start of the resistance against Filips II.
Presently the community Brielle consists of the “centres” Brielle, Zwartewaal and Vierpolders.