"Costs were not spared and it has become a beautiful building, which gives the harbor a beautiful sight when entering", wrote the Hoorn historian Theodorus Velius in his chronicles. He meant a striking building on the most southerly point of the sixteenth-century Hoorn: the Hoofdtoren.
The defensive work was built in 1532. Before that time there was already a wooden pier at this spot: the Wooden Head. In the centuries that followed both Hoorn and the port grew, because trade and shipping became increasingly important. The berth and the defense tower in the harbor became indispensable.
The Hoofdtoren is a late-Gothic structure, built on the sea side of white-yellow natural stone and brick on the city side. Actually the Hoofdtoren is an enlarged view of the towers that protected the north side of Hoorn. You can still see this at the Mariatoren, the only remaining tower of the northern city walls.
In 1614 the Hoofdtoren was no longer needed as a defense work. The Compagnie van Spitsbergen, also called the Nordic Company, which engaged in whaling in the Arctic Ocean, settled in the tower. In 1651 the Hoofdtoren received a bell tower. In the clock tower you found two clocks: one read at the departure of the barge to Amsterdam, the other clock rang on the whole hour. When the Main Tower was destroyed by a thunderbolt a hundred years after its construction, it was rebuilt in its original style.
The Hoofdtoren is still an eye-catcher in the Hoorn waterfront. When you enter the tower and take the round spiral staircase upwards, you can admire the Houten Hoofd and the view while enjoying a snack and a drink in the restaurant.