Born in Utrecht in 1807, Georg-Gillis van Haanen was a pupil of his father, Caspar Haanen and Bruno van Straaten. As early as 1835, he became a member of the Academy in Amsterdam. From 1842-66, van Haanen spent a substantial period abroad in cities such as Mainz, Antwerp, Vienna and Cologne. Van Haanen was best known for his highly polished town scenes and landscapes. In the present work, the artist presents a lively depiction of life in the Old Town where figures walk along the street and fishermen and merchants populate the canal below. Many aspects of the city have changed since the completion of this painting. The small tower in the left corner, long since gone, is now a medieval version of a crane used to lift merchandise from the docks up to street level. The facades of the houses have also since changed as well as the Old Town hall, which was replaced by a neoclassical building in 1830.