This is thought to be Rembrandt's first landscape etching and might well have been drawn on a prepared plate en plein air, with details added later back in his studio. The low viewpoint and his ratio of sky to land reflect his debt to the panoramas of Jan van Goyen, Salomon van Ruysdael and Hercules Seghers.
The viewpoint on the Kadijk, which ran up the north-eastern edge of the city, was only a short walk from his house on the St. Anthoniesbreestraat. The representation is not painstakingly accurate, but balances an atmospheric approach with strict veracity. The order of the buildings is faithfully recorded, but their heights and positions have been adjusted.
If this is indeed his first landscape then an obvious but unanswerable question arises: Why did the artist wait until the age of 35 to produce it - particularly when he had such a facility with the genre?