The city centre of Amersfoort
Photos and historical descriptions from Amersfoort

The Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren (The Steeple of Our Lady), towering 100 meters above the city, was completed around 1480. The Steeple and the small spire symbolise the Holy Mother and Child.
The occasion for building the tower was the legendof a wooden figurine of the Holy Mary, that in the early Middle Ages was thrown into one of the canals of Amersfoort. When it was found a short while later, a number of miracles took place. For instance, candles would burn without being consumed. These miracles gave rise to pilgrimages to Amersfoort - and an economic boom for the city to boot.
In front of the Steeple there is an X/Y marking showing the exact centre of the Netherlands.
It was 2nd of august 1787, the church was used to store gun powder. You now can imagine what happened with the church that kept us left with only the tower. 400 grenats, one bomb and 2 barrels of gunpowder exploded.

Below an old gravure from the tower, but with church


De Koppelpoort   dates from before 1427. This is a water and land gate which connects to the Eem river and also makes it possible to sluice water out of the canals. The combination of water and land gate is unique in The Netherlands.
The 15th century expansion can be distinguished here. This gate is part of the second defesive belt that was built after the original ring of walls had become too small for the growing city. The course of the river was diverted and a port was built. The gate was built to span the new course of the river. By aid of a great wooden wheel a huge wooden door could be lowered and so close off the city. The small rooms in the towers originally were intended for the guards. Later, the boatmen's guild were established here. Today, the tower is the home of a puppet theatre.


This is a small detail, located to the left of De Koppelpoort, of the part that is used to control the water level in the canals in the city and to refresh the water.



A few from the site of 't kleine Spui of the Koppelpoort. Over the water gate there is a small bridge, which gives you a perfect few over the canal.

During summer it is a great place to sit and enjoy the view.


Inside the Koppelpoort there is a tredmill operated by people to lower and raise the gate. The Dutch word "Raddraaier" comes from here since in the middle ages a punishment for bad behaviour was to work in the tredmill.
On the leftyou see the land gate of the Koppelpoort. On the outside, the proud land gate bears the Great Seal of the city. The old doors that were used to close the land gate are gone, but when you take a close look at the gate itself, you can imagine that they must have been huge!
The Kamperbinnenpoort dates back to before 1425. This gate was part of the first defensive belt built by Amersfoort. Later, the city expanded and a second, lager belt was built around the city. Originally, fish was brought at this gate to the city. The section now located at the Langestraat is only a part of the original mediaeval building. In the rooms under the gate, the guilds used to hold their meetings. In the alcoves on and under the galleries, artisans had their shops. The gate was restored in 1933. The additions date from that time.

The pub De Grote Slok (lit.: The Great Gulp) dates back to the early 17th century and was restored in 1943.
After the restoration the building looked more orignal then before. Nowadays it is still a pub and worth a visit, special the inside.


This is the Kapelhuis or Chapel House, on Krankeledenstraat on the corner of the Lieve Vrouwe-Kerkhof. This house was built around 1500. Its Gothic chracteristics are still evident. This building is, what I believe, one of the most beautiful and authentic houses in the city.
In the corner you see in the front there used to be a little statue of Our Lady. Refering to the miracle in 1444 that made Amersfoort a famous city. The story: A girl by the name of Geertje Arends from the small village Nijkerk came to the city to go to the monastry Agnietenklooster. She had a little statue of Maria but she was ashame of it because she thought it was ugly, so she threw it in one of the canals.
On christmas a maid by the name of Margriet Alberts got a vision in which Maria told her that she should get the little statue. She didn't believe it and only after two more visions she went to the canal and she found the statue unharmed. After she found the statue some miracles started, candles placed close to the statue didn't burn up anymore.


The Oude stadsmuur or Old city wall. New military tactics made the old defensive works superflous. The old wall felt into decline and were partly taken down. This is how they look today. In front how it was at the end of the last century and at the back a restored part of the wall.
The Tinnenburg, one of the historic houses (first mentioned in 1414) on the Muurhuizen. Several guilds were housed in this building.
This is a view of the Tinnenburg from Singel. The Singel was the original defensive moat around Amersfoort. Remains of the old water gate still are evident on the side wall of the building.
The Muurhuizen, or wall houses, are typical for Amersfoort. These houses were built on the location of the first original defense ring around the city.This belt was broken down when a second, wider belt was erected around Amersfoort. The stones were used to build houses.
Watch towers were built at regular intervals to defend the city walls and Amersfoort itself. A few of these small towers have survived in the 'wall houses'. The original brick walls were plastered in the last century. In some places this plaster layers survives to this day.

The Monnikendam (first mentioned in 1434), had to be built after the expansion of the defensive belt around Amersfoort. The original gate at Tinnenburg on the Muurhuizen, thus became superfluous. The water from the river Eem flowed past this water gate into the city.
The water gate has two defensive towers, used in time of hostilities.
People living in the City

The number of people living in Amersfoort in 2007 was 139.065. And in 2022 it is expected to be around 161.441. Looking at the growth rate of inhabitants of the city we get following graph. Starting with3000 people in 1450. Only around 1750 and 1810 there was a decrease in inhabitants.
1810 could be due to the annexation of the Netherlands by Napoleon and a recount of the people in 1812 because of the introduction of the Civil Registration in The Netherlands. Or people left the city so they didn't had to serve in the army of Napoleon. For the periode of 1750 I have not found an explination.