Amersfoort: old centre - medieval atmosphere.
The origins of Amersfoort date back to prehistory. At first a small settlement where the river Eem could be waded through (= a ford).
It developed to become an important trade town. The map above dates from 1649.
The 15th century bell tower of Our Lady is one of the tallest in the Netherlands, hence its nick name "Lange Jan" (= Long John).
The church itself does not exist anymore. After protestant take-over it was used for non-religious purposes. Like for ammunition storage, where shells were also loaded with gun powder. In 1787 this caused an explosion that completely destroyed the church. Only the tower survived because, by fortunate coincidence, it was built more or less freestanding.
Parts of the medieval city walls and several gates are still very much intact.
Like the "Koppelpoort" (image above left) from 1425, a water gate allowing barges to enter the city.
A heavy barrier could be lowered to close off the entrance. It was operated by people walking in a treadmill. A dangerous job. That's why it was done by convicted criminals.
The mechanism is still inside the gate, and in working condition.
When an earlier 13th century city wall was not needed anymore for defence, houses were built there using the old walls. (image right)
External links :
Amersfoort, east of Amsterdam, about half hour by Intercity train. See timetables railways : www.ns.nl
Amersfoort tourist info : www.vvvamersfoort.nl
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