Dragon Tower or Stockman Tower

The Drakentoren or also called Stokmanstoren / Stockemanstoren is a former tower with the most evocative name in Zwolle. The Drakentoren is one of more than 20 towers that Zwolle once boasted. Fortunately, there are still places to visit in Zwolle where you can get a good idea of how it once was. In the book “Historical walks in and around Zwolle” by W.A. Elberts, we read the following:

Among the towers, which still withstood the mallet for a relatively long time, are the Dragon Tower and the Bulderbast Tower. The first, formerly also called Stockeman’s Tower, stood in Korte Kamperstraat, on the spot where there are now two neat houses, no. 24 and no. 26, and used to serve, among other things. to military provost. The lower portion had been converted into a dwelling. Presumably the tower bore that strange name because a copper dragon performed the service of weathercock on it; ‘t may also be that the dragon was a consequence of the name. In 1853, when the Council sold several small and insubstantial houses, the Drakentoren also came under the hammer. It was a sturdy, square building, with an enclosure and above it a slate, four-sided, pointed roof. The walls had a colossal thickness, so much so that one of the former residents of the adjacent house had carved cupboards and bedsteads into them. The tower brought f 3110 in public auction and the buyer demolished the building. It is also reported that when the slate roof was removed, myriads of flies had hibernated on the wooden ceiling underneath and were awakened from their torpor by the cherishing rays of the April sun.

Selling price Dragon Tower

W.A. Elberts’ book tells you that the tower was sold in 1853 for the sum of f3110 (3110 guilders). On the wikipedia page about the guilder you read that in 1840 the guilder had a value of 9.45 grams of silver. One could say that the Dragon Tower was sold for a value of 3110 x 9.45 = 29.39 kg of silver. In May 2024, the silver price was about €850 per kg. You could then now estimate the current value of the selling price as €850 x 29.39 kg = €24981.

The tower was purchased in 1853 to be demolished and housing built there. Those are now the houses on Korte Kamperstraat 24 and 26. Not surprisingly, a tower sold for just under 25 thousand euros. If the Dragon Tower were for sale right now for that amount, would you buy it? To restore it and put a Bed and Breakfast in it, for example, or a catering establishment. Just as happened with the Pelser Tower and the Widow Tower.

The name Dragon Tower

Zwolle’s Dragon Tower had a copper dragon on the roof. It served to determine wind direction. Where you often see weathervanes on towers, this tower had a dragon instead. Whether the dragon was placed on the roof because the tower was called the Dragon Tower or whether the tower got that name because of the shape of the weather vane is unknown. Unfortunately, the weather vane or an image of it has stood the test of time. Therefore, it is impossible for you to get a picture of this.

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