Today, very few people would describe the telescope, more similar to modern binoculars, as a terrible weapon or an instrument that gives an unfair advantage to the generals who have one. Yet, this is exactly how the telescope was first described when a pair were demonstrated on top of the Mauritstower.
It was on September 25, 1608, that Hans Lipperhey came to Den Haag to demonstrate his newly invented farseer. He could not have chosen a better moment as the dutch king was hosting a large group of world leaders to discuss the 80 Years War. Among those in attendance was Frederik Hendrick, the future leader of the republic, and Spinola, a famous Italian general. Because of this, knowledge of the telescope spread all across Europe in a matter of weeks.
The tower itself was constructed during the early 1600s and was strategically important for many years. These days, it’s used as part of the parliamentary structure that houses the dutch government.
Know Before You Go
The tower is generally only accessible during open monument days, like the one held in April.