The Munttoren, with its pedestrian passageway between the flower market on Singel and Kalverstraat, was originally part of the medieval city wall.
The Munttoren, built on a medieval city wall, was part of Regulierspoort, a complex of two towers and a gateway, constructed between 1480 and 1487.
When a new city wall was built in 1585, this gate lost its function. Following a fire in 1618, it was decided that only the west tower should be rebuilt. The building with gables and dormer windows behind was built in the nineteenth century on the site of a former guard house.
In 1620, the city stonemason Hendrick de Keyser produced a new design for the tower stump, the remains of the city gate. The superstructure is octagonal, the lead section rests on a timber frame. The stone addition has bricked-in archways positioned vertically one above the other, while the lead superstructure has an inlaid motif of classical columns. The open spire, clock with four faces and the later addition of the carillon made the new tower complete.
The tower’s name refers to the right to mint coins, which Amsterdam was temporarily granted in 1672. Because the mint cities Dordrecht and Enkhuizen were located in occupied territory during French rule, coins were minted in the Munttoren’s guard house. Muntplein came into being as a result of the successive widening of the wide bridge over Singel. The pedestrian passageway was created during the last widening in 1938.
The tower has one of the five carillons by the brothers François and Pieter Hemony in Amsterdam. The others are in the Oudekerkstoren, Zuidertoren, Westertoren and the clock tower of the Palace on the Dam. Today, the carillon comprises 38 bells and is played every Saturday afternoon between two o’clock and three o’clock by the city carillonneur Gideon Bodden.