From 1856 onwards about 260 water towers were built throughout The Netherlands. Of the 175 still remaining few are still in use for the regulation of the drinking water mains (towers in
Amsterdam and still being in
use). The introduction of hydraulic engineering in the 1950’s being the main
Each tower is unique in its design; influenced by a different architectural period, this diversity is not often seen in other parts of the world. Contrasting with the Dutch landscape they are the visiting card of each city.
The first water tower in The Netherlands was commissioned by Willem III in 1680 in order to create sufficient water pressure for the fountain in the grounds of the palace Soestdijk (The former
and Prince Bernhard). Other early water towers were built to supply the steam
locomotives of the railway. Less imposing than their drinking water cousins,
none of these still exist today. palace of Queen Juliana
The height of the water towers varies from 35-60 metres. The water reservoir held enough water to keep a constant pressure on the waters mains and acted as a buffer supply on demand.
As the numbers of water towers in use declines, these characteristic landmarks become protected monuments often with other functions. The oldest water tower in The Netherlands can be found in
The tower is a mix of Neo Romanesque, Neo Renaissance and Moors construction
styles. In its day it had a water reservoir capacity of one million litres. Out
of commission since 1977 and a protected monument, it now houses seven
apartments, office space, and a café/restaurant! An equally impressive water
tower (also a monument) can be found in Rotterdam
in the Schildersbuurt (painters’ neighbourhood), on the corner of Dr. C.
Hofstede de Grootkade and the Herman Colleniusstraat). Groningen
First published in the Connections magazine #16 Summer 2007,