De Waag (weigh house), Hoorn
Netherlands, Hoorn, Square "De Roode Steen" (Roode Steen square) with the weigh house (De Waag) which was built in 1609. A weigh house or weighing house is a building at or within which goods, and the like, are weighed. Most of these buildings were built before 1800, prior to the establishment of international standards for weights. Originally there were seven scales for weighing all the goods. Today “De Waag (Rode Steen 8, near the West Frisian Museum/ Westfries Museum)” is a café/restaurant. A splendid building from 1609, the Waag (weigh-house) stands in the picturesque Rode Steen, Hoorn's main square. In a niche in the facade you can see a unicorn with a coat of arms in which the horn of plenty is depicted.
Stroll down Grote Oost past the Oosterkerk, a Gothic church founded in 1450. Its stained-glass window from 1620 depicts a famous naval battle. Turn right at Slapershaven and amble along the picturesque harbor, busy with pleasure boats. The early-16th-century Hoofdtoren was a part of the old fortifications, and sports a delicate belfry from 1651. From here you may want to just wander around and soak up the delicious atmosphere before returning to the train station and Amsterdam.
As public control of the weight of goods was very important, they were run by local authorities who would also use them for the levying of taxes on goods transported through or sold within the city. Therefore, weigh houses would often be near a market square or town centre. Between 1550 and about 1690 people accused of witchcraft were at times brought to a weigh house in order to be subjected to a witch test. If a person was found to be lighter than a set weight, he or she was deemed guilty. Weigh houses were especially common in the Netherlands, Germany, where they are called waag and waage respectively (both meaning scale) and Poland (smatruz, in Krakow and Poznan). Outside the Netherlands and Germany the public weighing usually didn't take place in a special building, but in a town hall, guild hall, courthouse, or the like.
In good weather it is nice to spend time on one of the numerous terraces in De Roode Steen and in the harbor. Light lunches, plus full French seafood specialties in the evenings.
Location and Contact:
Rode Steen 8
1621 CV Hoorn
Telephone: +31 (0)229 215195
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