The trick with the peat barge during the Capture of Breda is one of the most famous events of the Eighty Years’ War. Inspired by the Trojan Horse, prince Maurits came up with a clever trick. On the 4th of March 1590, seventy soldiers hid inside a barge filled with peat that was meant for the Castle of Breda. Once the barge had entered through the city walls, the soldiers could take over the Castle and the city in no time.
Bordering between the northern and southern Netherlands, Breda has always had a strategic position and an extensive defense was built early on. Breda’s first city walls were constructed in 1531 and were eventually fortified at least four times. Some of these fortifications still exist today, like the water gate with the Granaat Tower on the left and the Duiven Tower on the right. The peat barge could have never sailed through here. The real Spanjaardsgat, literally meaning ‘Spaniard’s gap’, was actually situated by the lighthouse (an artwork by Aldo Rossi).
A surprising fact is the lack of bullet holes in the hefty shooting towers. This is because the towers that the canons were placed on used to be flat. The points were added during a renovation at the start of the 20th century.