Het Raerop steekt de stompe kruin
Des breeden torens prat naar booven,
Daar 't in den Waterlandschen tuin
Vol grasrijk land legt als verschooven.
-Daniel Willink

 

Design for restoration of the N.H. church in Ransdorp, 1876. (Blueprint collection, Stadsarchief).

The mystery of the flat tower

Many stories circulate about the ‘flat’ top of the tower. Most historians believe that it has always been flat. In the sixteenth century, Ransdorp was a wealthy village where many shipping merchants lived. Some believe that the flat tower was built as a lookout tower with a bell to warn residents of impending danger. Others believe that the ground was too marshy, causing the tower to subside so much during construction that the builders did not dare add a spire to it. However, the reason most often given is that the money simply ran out. Ransdorp was in decline towards the end of construction.The ‘treasure chest’ of WaterlandIn the seventeenth century, archived documents about the Waterland villages and the monies from the toll house were kept in Ransdorper Toren (tower). These were kept in a safe that had three doors: a gold door, a wooden door and a copper door. There is no trace left of the gold door, while the other two remain. The doors had to be opened by three landgraves, or counts, each of whom had his own key. At the end of the nineteenth century, a niche in the building served as a prison.

 

A view of Ransdorp church from the South-West, 1925.

Open to the public

Ransdorper Toren is open to the public. From the roof visitors have a view over Waterland and Amsterdam. The adjacent church (1718-1720) was restored in 2006. The headstones in the floor, the pulpit, the baptistry, the church organ and the chandelier are original.

 

Church with blocky tower. Photo: E. van Eis, Stadsdeel Noord.