House & PropertyStories

The historical background and evolution of this deserted dwelling

Hammetje, also referred to as Hammetjes Paradijs and officially named Ham Viswaterplas, is a parcel of land featuring a whimsical fortress situated on Domstraat, north of the canalized river Laak near the Vathorst district in Amersfoort. Originally, the structure served as a folly and did not function as a fortress. It comprises two towers, named Willem I and Willem II. A portion of the 8-hectare property includes a desanding pond, which was excavated to facilitate the construction of the A28 motorway.

The inventor and eponym, Willem Ham, began constructing it in 1988 as a defense against the encroaching city of Amersfoort. He adorned the parcel with trees and shrubs, utilizing materials such as boulders, rubble, and sewage pipes to build the fortress. Additionally, he incorporated various other items like church windows, agricultural tools, and figurines. Ham also created islands using rubble, with two of them named after the Wadden Islands of Texel and Rottum. Another island, known as Man, takes on the form of a reclining nude Eve, which has undergone changes over time due to vegetation growth.

In 1992, his project was featured in a report on the television program Paradijsvogels. During the bird flu outbreaks of 2003 and 2006, the poultry on the property had to be preemptively culled, which included hundreds of chickens, fowl, peacocks, ducks, and geese. Additionally, Ham kept other animals such as sheep and ponies.

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