Amsterdamse Poort - Holland - Historical Gates
11-04-2018    229 times
Amsterdamse Poort

Amsterdamse Poort

Located at the end of the old route from Amsterdam to Haarlem, the Amsterdamse Poort is an old city gate of Haarlem in the Netherlands and the only gate left from the original twelve city gates. It dates from the 15th century, when this doorway had to be passed coming from Amsterdam and was known as ‘Spaarnwouderpoort’, as it was used for traffic by land eastwards towards Spaarnwoude.

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Until the 17th century, the Amsterdamse Poort, built in1355, was the city gate used for traffic by land towards Spaarnwoude, a hamlet in north Holland over the Laeghe weg (now known as Oudeweg in south Holland). In 1631 the Haarlemmertrekvaart, a canal between Amsterdam and Haarlem was dug, which shortened the waterway from Haarlem to Amsterdam considerably. Till that time, boats bound for Amsterdam did not pass the Amsterdamse Poort. Instead, in order to reach the IJdijk, located along the north bank of the IJ bay, they traveled up the Sparne river to pass the small sluice gate at Spaarndam, which is a small village on the Spaarne river and the IJ lake, in north Holland. Coaches traveling by land to Amsterdam did leave this gate over the Oude Weg to the Liede, a little river, where they used to cross at the Penningsveer, a ferry for a penny, to reach Spaarnwoude and from there, journey onwards along the old IJdijk to Amsterdam route.

Amsterdamse Poort (Haarlem)
Amsterdamse Poort (Haarlem)

With the new canal and its towpath, the trip became so short that it became much more popular, as it became possible to make a to and fro journey to Amsterdam on the same day. Thus the name of the gate changed from ‘Spaarnwouderpoort’ to ‘Amsterdamse Poort’.

Since the gate was in pretty bad shape and was blocking the construction of a new bridge on the location, the city government intended to demolish the Amsterdamse Poort in1865. But, due to shortage of fund, the proposal was postponed and the city council agreed to provide funds for a short-term renovation of the gate to make sure it would stay up for at least another two or three years. In 1867 the Papentoren, a tower, was demolished, and the munition that had been stored there needed a storage space. Incidentally, a room in the Amsterdamse Poort was found suitable for the purpose and hence, the munition was stored there. The bridge in front of the gate was finally reconstructed in 1869 and in1874 most of the stored munition was shifted outside the city. In 1889, with a sanctioned budget of 1,490 guilders, a small renovation was planned. As the city architect, J. Leijh, started the project, another 775 guilders was required to complete the job.

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In the 1960s the gate was declared a national monument and in 1985 a complete renovation of the gate took place.

Sculpture in front of the gate on the Haarlem side
Sculpture in front of the gate on the Haarlem side

Since then, this "gate-way from Amsterdam" has been well maintained. It is now a cross-point of roads, entering into the inner parts of Harlem. At this side of town you also see the "Haarlemmer trekvaart" (a straight canal) where the (small) boats from A'dam would enter town.

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Dibyendu Banerjee
Ex student of Scottish Church College. Served a Nationalised Bank for nearly 35 years. Authored novels in Bengali. Translated into Bengali novels/short stories of Leo Tolstoy, Eric Maria Remarque, D.H.Lawrence, Harold Robbins, Guy de Maupassant, Somerset Maugham and others. Also compiled collections of short stories from Africa and Third World. Interested in literature, history, music, sports and international films.
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