The canal: from defense line to city park
The impressive Plompetoren, almost 40 meters high, protected the entrance to the Plompetorengracht for centuries. Initially, the underpass was in the tower itself, but around 1540 a new water gate was made next to the tower. This new entrance was defended with cannons from the gun towers De Vos and De Beer. The watergate could be closed with two large iron gates. In case of emergency, a heavy iron-studded door could be closed in the middle of the underpass.
The Plompetoren, together with the Servaashek, the Weerdpoort and the Tolsteegpoort, was one of the four Utrecht water gates. Of all four watergates, the waters of the plompegracht were rarely busy. At most, a few supply ships passed for residents of the Plompetorengracht and the Janskerkhof.
Across the canal is the Plompetorengracht. Here you can admire the rare wall plants of Utrecht. Wall ferns, saxifrage ferns and wall snapdragons grow on the quay. These plants grow well on the calcareous mortar of old walls. To make the new walls suitable, mortar was also partly used here.
Illustration 1: Map of Utrecht around 1550
Illustration 2: The high Plompetoren with the water gate was guarded from 1540 by the artillery towers De Vos (left) and in the background De Beer (J.C. Droochesloot, Het Utrechts Archief).
Illustration 3: The Plompetoren seen from the city around 1660 (Herman Saftleven, Rijksmuseum).
Hi! Have you seen that plants grow against the walls in this place? They have nice names like wall snapdragon. If you were a plant, what would your name be and what would you like to look like?