Medieval city wall found in Amsterdam

Part of medieval wall discovered while working on quay wall on Singel in Amsterdam, 27 Jan 2017
Part of medieval wall discovered while working on quay wall on Singel in Amsterdam, 27 Jan 2017. (Photo: Gemeente Amsterdam)

The remains of a medieval city wall was discovered during quay works on the Singel near Kattengat on Friday. According to city archeologist Jerzy Gawronski, this is part of the wall that protected Amsterdam between 1480 and 1603, Het Parool reports.

On Friday the canal water on the Singel was partially drained so that the outer layer of bricks could be removed. The piece of medieval wall was found behind that wall, which is normally under water. On Monday the entire wall was exposed. It consists of 27 connected medieval natural stones. They are remarkably big - about 39 by 70 centimeters each.

The city wall was built in 1480 by order of sovereign Maximilian of Austria. It ran from the Haarlemmersluis on the Singel via the Mint, the Kloveniersburgwal, Nieuwmarkt and Schreierstoren to the Gelderskade. It can be clearly seen on the oldest existing city map of Amsterdam, that of Cornelis Anthoniszoon from 1538. 

"In all of Amsterdam there was no trace of this wall, and this is also the first continuous area of city wall that we have ever encountered", Gawronski said to Het Parool. "The buttresses at the back are also still there. The large stone blocks were in fact the foundation of semicircualr arches of about five meters high. On top there was a path, the walkway or parapet. Soldiers walked there to defend the city of Amsterdam from behind the battlements."

Amsterdam expanded at the end of the 16th century and the wall became unnecessary. It was therefore largely demolished. 

During the next month the stones will be carefully removed - the wooden poles they rest on no longer provide adequate support and they need to be replaced with new concrete foundation. They will be placed on the Gelderskade in the new quay, above water level this time. sterdam gemeente