Hollar left Prague, city of his birth, at the age of 20. In about 1630, after a brief period living in Strasburg and Stuttgart, he settled in Cologne. A number of his landscape drawings and etchings of the Rhineland, and from two excursions south to the Danube, survive. The present drawing is the earliest record of a visit to Düren, a town in the Duchy of Jülich between Cologne and Aachen, which would be the subject of a number of etchings and landscape drawings. There are a number of working drawings of the environs of Düren dated 1632 in a sketchbook in the John Rylands Library at the University of Manchester, and in 1634 he was working on his etching of a bird's eye view of the town (Parthey 841). Another drawing inscribed 'Bei Düren', of similar composition to the present drawing, is in the Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin (H. Geissler, Zeichnung in Deutschland, Deutsche Zeichner 1540-1640, Stuttgart, 1980, no. P10).
In 1636 Hollar met the Earl of Arundel on the latter's ill-fated mission to the Emperor Ferdinand II, and returned with him to London.