Montelbaanstoren - Montelbaanstoren information and pictures

The Montelbaanstoren is a 16th century red brick tower, representing a rare remnant of Amsterdam’s former medieval city walls. Built in 1512 on the Oude Schans waterway, the tower was used as a sentinel for Dutch soldiers to watch for incoming invaders. Amsterdam was heavily fortified in the 16th century, as it was a wealthy city and was embroiled in the Eighty Years War with Spain’s Habsburgs.

The Tower - The sturdy Montelbaanstoren was given a facelift in 1606 with the addition of a soaring white spire and clock designed by architect, Hendrick de Keyser. He was Amsterdam’s city architect at the time and is known for his Renaissance style in such notable Amsterdam cathedrals, as the Zuiderkerk and Westerkerk. The locals dubbed the tower “Silly Jack” during the 17th century after the newly added clock failed to keep accurate time.

The tower became slightly tilted at one time and is sometimes referred to as the “leaning tower of Amsterdam.” The Dutch were renowned for their wealthy shipbuilding port and many trade routes. Sailors were known to congregate at the Montelbaanstoren before embarking on their long sea voyages. The tower now houses offices for the city’s water works.

Favorite Subject of Rembrandt - Dutch Painter Rembrandt van Rijn lived right around the corner from the Montelbaanstoren during his lifetime in Amsterdam. The tower was a favorite subject for many of Rembrandt’s sketchings. However, he always sketched the tower without its spire and clock, preferring the spare look of the medieval 16th century brickwork. Dutch landscape painter, Jacob van Ruisdael also painted the Montelbaanstoren minus its white spire.

Canal Cafes - Although the Montelbaanstoren is not open to visitors, you can patronize one of the many floating cafes dotting the Oude Schans Canal for a good view of this ancient Amsterdam landmark. Consider taking a boat tour along the Oude Schans for a view of the Montelbaanstoren, as homebound sailors saw it hundreds of years ago.

Where is Montelbaanstoren: Oude Waal-Oude Schans 2

How to get to Montelbaanstoren: Subway to Nieuwmarkt

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