In 1645, the Siege of Hulst (to control the left bank of the Schelde river) occurred. It was led by Prince of OrangeFrederick Henry, during the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) with Spain. An earlier siege by his brother Prince Maurits took place in 1591 who took Hulst also from the Spanish. Spain took it back in 1596. A further siege took place in 1702, where General Menno van Coehoorn defended the town successfully for the Dutch and in 1747 when it was taken by the French after incompetent defence by Lt General Pieter de la Rocque.
In the seventeenth century, a star fort was constructed. The fortifications, constructed during that time, are historic examples of Dutch fortress architecture.
The name Hulst (Holly in English) would appear to come from the shape of the battlements. Holly is depicted growing around the towns crest.