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SandRhoman History #History and Archaeology

The Fall of Holland | The Siege of Haarlem (1572)

On the 11th December of 1572, a Spanish army under the command of Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo arrived at the Dutch town of Haarlem.

This marked the beginning of a siege characterized by cruelties on both sides, a sea battle on the Haarlemmermeer and the arming of citizens to defend their town – most famous of all a woman called Kenau Simonsdochter Hasselaer.


The siege of Haarlem was one of the most discussed and most vividly remembered sieges of the Eighty Years’ War. There is a 2014 movie titled “Kenau”, various stage plays, historical novels and even a siege-themed escape room in modern-day Haarlem. This is how contemporary historiography tells the story of the staggering siege of Haarlem.

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