If you want to see a slice of medieval Amsterdam, the historic Montelbaanstoren tower on the Oude Schans canal is a must see attraction.
After being built in 1512, the tower was used to watch over Amsterdam's bustling shipyards and ports which were the focus of many attacks from abroad. The building was a hub of activity, as sailors and soldiers used to meet at the tower before setting off on long voyages. It is still standing in excellent condition, making it one of the few surviving sections of the original medieval defenses that previously surrounded Amsterdam's shipyards.
The tower measures 48 meters, including a decorative spire and clock added in 1606 when the building lost its defensive function.
Many still refer to the Montelbaanstoren as Silly Jack, which dates back to problems with its time keeping. The bells at the top of the tower would often ring at irregular times or sometimes not ring at all for days on end. The problems were only made worse by the clock face at the top of the tower, which very rarely showed the correct time.
The tower cannot be missed during the boat cruises around Amsterdam, and many say it is best seen from the canal itself. Rembrandt often painted the tower, stating that he admired its architecture.
Nowadays, the Amsterdam Department of Sewage and Water Management have their offices based in the building. As it is still actively used, the tower is unfortunately not open to the public. However, it is viewed easily from the Oudeschans bridge at the end of Kalkmark road.
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