The Montelbaanstoren is a historical tower located by the Oude Schans canal in Amsterdam and was original a sentinel facility during war times.
Origin and History
In an effort to bolster the city’s defenses, the lowest section of the tower was built in 1512. It was built during the medieval times of the city in a location that allowed for a prime view for protecting the wharf area. Amsterdam was a particularly wealthy city at this time and was heavily guarded against enemies by a series of similar fortifications. Much of what remains of these historical buildings can still be visited today.
Almost 100 years later, in 1606, the tower was upgraded under the guidance of Hendrick de Keyser, who was the city’s architect at the time. He is responsible for the Neo-Renaissance style of the additions. The base and wooden steeples were added in an effort to deaden the sound produced from the tower’s clock bells, so that they would not bother the occupants of nearby homes.
The weight of the tower, with the additions, caused to entire structure to start leaning. Cables were attached and tightened in an effort to prevent this and consequently, the tower is still standing today. Locals began to call the tower “the leaning tower of Amsterdam” due to this structural anomaly. Another popular name given to the tower was “Silly Jack,” after a clock was installed in the 1800s that did not keep proper time.
Attractions and Facilities
While visitors are not actually permitted entrance to the Montelbaanstoren, there are a number of cafes located on the nearby Canal. From one of these floating eateries, tourists can enjoy an ideal view of the tower. Boat tours are also available on the Oude Schans Canal, giving people a chance to experience the attraction in the way that sailors would have long ago as they came home from a journey.