Mint Tower

How the gold of the rich ended up in the Mint Tower

Tourists, flowers, stores – it’s always a busy place in Muntplein, but in all this bustle, have you ever looked up? The Mint emerged in turbulent times and is an important part of Amsterdam’s history.

Fire in the city wall
Today you can still see in three places in Amsterdam where the city wall stood: the Schreierstoren, the Sint Anthoniepoort (the Waag) and the Regulierspoort once formed the entrance to the city and are well preserved.

In 1618 there was a fire in the city wall in which the Regulierspoort and its two towers (partially) fell. One of the towers was rebuilt with the help of the architect Hendrick de Keyser. That tower we know today as “The Mint.

Disaster Year
In 1672, disaster struck: the Netherlands was attacked by England, France and the dioceses of Cologne and Munster. Soon Utrecht, Gelderland and Overijssel were occupied. The fight required a lot of money. In response, the States of Holland thought of something clever: they made the rich pay extra taxes on their income. This tax did not necessarily have to be paid in coins; silver and gold items could also be used to pay.

Amsterdam Mint
Normally, coins would be minted from all those silver and gold candlesticks, goblets, cutlery and jewelry. But since the mints of Dordrecht and Enkhuizen were in occupied territory, Amsterdam was temporarily granted the right to mint coins. The stone guardhouse of the former Regulierspoort at the end of Kalverstraat, just below the tower, was chosen as the site for minting its own coin.

Silver riders and gold ducats
Fleeing experts were flown in from occupied areas such as Zwolle and Overijssel who cut stamps and checked the coins for the amount of silver and gold used. The “silver riders” and “gold ducats” that were minted proudly displayed the coat of arms of Amsterdam.

Au revoir
In 1673, the French withdrew and the Amsterdam mint became obsolete. That Amsterdam tried hard at that time is evidenced by the number of coins minted in that one year: 1,386,230 silver riders and 56,560 gold ducats. That’s about 4,000 a day….

After this time, the mint house turned into an inn, appropriately called “The Mint. In 1877, the building was demolished and replaced by a sturdier case, which still stands today. Mint Square was created when the bridge was widened and the pedestrian passageway was created in 1938.

Now that you know the history: look up as you sail under the coin. The tower is not only beautiful to look at but has endured a turbulent history.