This graceful tower looks monumental rather than functional, but it was originally built to strengthen Amsterdam's eastern defences in 1512. Positioned on the old city wall, it gave sentries a good view of suspicious characters on the wharves along Oude Schans. The decorative topping, octagonal base and open wooden steeple were added in 1606 to dampen the bells on the clock after neighbours complained. A few years later, it began to list under the weight, but residents attached cables and pulled it upright.
The elegant tower has two sets of bell works, four clock faces and a nautical vane like the one on top of the Oude Kerk.