city centre of Amersfoort
|Photos and historical
descriptions from Amersfoort
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
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
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.
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
During summer it is a
great place to sit and enjoy the view.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.