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Amsterdam borough advertises 16th century tower for rent

Amsterdam, Sep. 8, 2009 (DutchAmsterdam.nl) — The City of Amsterdam is offering a 16th-century canalside tower for rent — on Marktplaat.nl, an auction site.

The Montelbaanstoren was built in 1516 as part of the defense wall around medieval Amsterdam (the so-called Stelling van Amsterdam).

Montelbaanstoren

Montelbaanstoren at the Oude Schans, Amsterdam
© Copyright DutchAmsterdam.nl. Want to use this photo?

At the time, the tower was situated at the edge of the city — fronting the water of the IJ and Amsterdam’s harbor.

When the city expanded, in 1591, the tower lost its function. The Montelbaans is now alongside a canal called Oude Schans (Old defense line)

The decorative appex of the tower, designed by famed Dutch architect Hendrik de Keyser, was added in 1606 — but wasn’t painted white until 1967.

Malle Jan

The origin of the tower’s name has been lost, though some historians believe it was named after a local count.

However, soon after the appex was added the tower gained the nickname "Malle Jaap" (Silly Jack) because its bells would ring at unpredictable times – or would be silent for days on end.

For rent

The tower has been used for a number of purposes, including a police station and as offices for the Department of Sewage and Water Management.

Montelbaanstoren

Gablestone shows the Montelbaanstoren as part of the defense line built in the second half of the 16th century. Behind the wall, roofs of houses, ships in the harbor, and the tower of the Old Church, which was built in 1566.
© Copyright DutchAmsterdam.nl. Want to use this photo?

The much-photographed building was fully restored in 2007, and has been empty ever since.

That is why the city has now turned to auction and advertising site Marktplaats.nl, where it offers the tower’s 165 square meters for rent at €9.000 a month.

Amsterdam Center borough does not want the tower to be used as a hotel or restaurant. It prefers to see the space used for offices — preferably for a company whose activities take place on water. It will permit the ground floor to be used by a shop.

It would also like to see the entire space, including the cellar and a workplace underneath the bridge, to be occupied by one renter.

Update, July 5, 2010: Muslim LGBT organization rents historic tower in Amsterdam

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This post was last updated: May. 25, 2017