Muiden is a fortified town and former municipality in the Dutch province of North Holland. Since 1 January 2016, Muiden has been merged with Naarden and Bussum to form the new municipality of Gooise Meren.



The first mention of the town of Muiden dates back to the early Middle Ages with an entry such as 'Amuthon'. In 953, Emperor Otto I donated this location with the Latin name villa Amuda, including all goods and the tolls won there, to the Dom chapter in Utrecht. 'Amuda' means 'Mouth of the Aa'. The 'Aa' is an old name of the Vecht.

The word Muide expresses the mouth of a river at sea, also think of IJmuiden, Arnemuiden, Sint Anna ter Muiden, Pleimuiden and Genemuiden. The mouth of a river on another river is called -monde, for example Dendermonde and IJsselmonde.



As early as 777 there was a church on this site and the fishing grounds around it were owned by the Utrecht church of St. Martin.

In 1122, Muiden received city rights from Emperor Hendrik V at the same time as Utrecht, although in the case of Muiden it may only have been a few urban rights.

In 1281 the Count of Holland, Count Floris V, acquired control of Muiden. The place now fell under the county of Holland, but was still formally under the bishop of Utrecht. In any case, the settlement received city rights from the bishop before 1285. After the land in which Muiden is located was donated to Count Floris V of Holland, Muiden again received city rights in 1296, this time from the count. In the same year 1296, Floris V was murdered in Muiderberg.

In 1576 the attack on Muiden took place. A State siege led by Diederik Sonoy during the Eighty Years' War, followed by fierce relief from the Spanish army.

In the disaster year of 1672, various hostile armies moved to Amsterdam. Naarden fell into enemy hands on 19 June, but the enemy was stopped for Muiden, partly due to the inundation of the area between Muiden and Gorkum.

In 1795 Muiden was taken by French troops, although there was hardly any resistance. In October 1811 Emperor Napoleon visited the place for a few hours, he was in transit to Naarden. In 1812 the emperor merged Muiden and Muiderberg into a municipality. On December 1, 1813, Prussian troops and Russian Cossacks liberated Muiden. The Russians stayed in Muiden for a few months to expel the French from Naarden.

Groote Zeesluis
After a century of futile negotiations between Holland and Utrecht, there was still no agreement to construct a new lock at the mouth of the Vecht in Muiden. The Vecht was an important connection with the Zuiderzee for Utrecht. The old lock at Hinderdam, about 5 kilometers inland, was built in 1437 and was under the control of Utrecht. When Utrecht was occupied by the French army in 1672, Holland seized the opportunity and construction of the lock in Muiden began.

The lock had three primary tasks: a lock for shipping traffic between the Zuiderzee and Vecht, the defense of the country against the Zuiderzee and a military function. Muiden was part of the Dutch Waterline. In the event of inundations, the control of the inlet of Zuiderzee water was essential. The lock also prevented the flow of water from those areas upstream that had been inundated.

The lock was completed in 1674. The complex consisted of a double-turn lock and a discharge-cum-discharge sluice on both sides. The lock complex had the task of turning the water on both sides; both on the sea side at high tide and on the river side at low tide. To be on the safe side, the lock got an extra set of storm surge gates that were closed at extremely high water. Shipping traffic was then impossible. The lock had a length of 50 meters and a width of 7.5 meters. The lock complex was expanded in 1676 with a wall along the mouth of the Vecht to prevent flooding.

After the Muiden fortress was closed in 1926 and the Zuiderzee closed off by the Afsluitdijk in 1932, the lock's importance declined. Restoration and modernization of the lock began in March 1975. In order to preserve the original appearance of the lock, various parts such as bridge railings and lampposts were removed and replaced after being refurbished. Hydraulic installations took over the manual work to operate the lock gates. The work was completed in 1976. The program had cost 8 million guilders. The lock is now mainly used for pleasure craft.


The fortifications

Muiden's first defenses date from the first half of the 15th century. In 1590, the walls were replaced by earthen ramparts with bastions designed by Adriaen Anthonisz. The Muiderslot was also given its own wall, whereby the outer castle of the castle had to be demolished due to a lack of space. In response to developments in warfare, the fortress was modernized again after the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). The route of the rampart was changed and a number of brick, bombproof shelters were placed. Notable examples of this are the barracks at the Vestingplein, the Muizenfort (named after the mouse-gray soldier uniforms) - a capponière casemate built into a raveline - and the hollow bear.

The bear is a dam in the fortress moat that must separate the salty Zuiderzee water from the fresh water in the moat. Such structures are more common in fortified cities, but this one is unique because this bear contains a corridor with loopholes from which an inundation sluice could be opened. Opposite the Muiderslot, on the other side of the Vecht, is the Westbatterij. This fortification dates from 1868 and consists of a small tower fort with a battery in front of it in the dike body.

Muiden was part of the (New) Dutch Waterline. From January 9, 1901, Muiden belonged to the Defense Line of Amsterdam. The fortress island Pampus, located within the municipality of Muiden, was built in 1887-1897 and was intended, together with the Vuurtoreneiland at Durgerdam and the battery at the Diemer Zeedijk, to protect the entrance to the IJ.