VELDE, Willem van de, the Younger
(b. 1633, Leiden, d. 1707, London)

Blockhouses on the Amstel outside Amsterdam

Oil on canvas, 32 x 45 cm
Private collection

This view shows the blockhouses on the Amstel outside Amsterdam, with three men in a rowing boat approaching a barge in the foreground.

In July 1650, Prince Willem II of Orange made a failed attempt to invade the city of Amsterdam. In order to prevent any such future attack it was decided that defences should be erected, including two blockhouses on the Amstel just outside the city. Built of timber and oak piles, they were completed in the summer of 1651. They proved to be an impediment to river commerce and were removed in 1654 after only three years.