De Observant – Amersfoort (EN)

Pleasant history


The Observant’s building has a rich, multi coloured history. In the fifteenth century a group of Observants built the monastery. In 1472, the Franciscans or Friars Minor were given the grounds on which De Observant now stands. The name of this monastery comes from the Observant, a 15th century movement of strict reform measures within the Franciscan monasteries.

The Observant was a breakaway of the Order of Friars Minor, a mendicant order founded by Francis of Assisi. From 1479 onwards the confessors and penitents in the Amersfoort monastery respected the rules of poverty and austerity as pure as possible. This observance is called observing. After the signing by Amersfoort of the Union of Utrecht in 1579, the Reformation, the Observers/monks left the monastery.

In the 19th century, the complex successively became an Artillery and Engineering School, a “working house to ward off begging” and a fire station. In the last century, De Observant was mainly used as a barracks and in this century it housed municipal services; from warehouse and fire station to social services and municipal archives. The monastery building was restored as much as possible to its original state in April 1982. The history is made visible by designations and names.

The Observant is the main location for the Dutch International Tangoweek on May 31 and June 1, 2020.

In addition to our tango festival, you can also enjoy the best jazz, Latin and classical music throughout the year.