Mini Museum ‘Spoithois’

Mini Museum 'Spoithois’

Come and admire an original 1840 firefighting device that has saved many a wooden building…  

In 1661, the Zaan region implemented path regulations for fire prevention, and in 1673, Jan van der Heyden (painter, entrepreneur and inventor) invented the firefighting hose. After Zaandam purchased two of these revolutionary devices in 1687, the foundations were laid for this revolutionary device to improve fire safety for Zaandam’s wooden buildings. In 1699, Van der Heyden used an illustration of the fire at Oil Mill ‘De Zeug’ in Wormer on a pamphlet to advertise his firefighting device. Visitors to the ‘Spoithois’ (literally ‘spray house’) in the Zaanse Schans can admire an old hand-pulled and hand-operated fire engine (1840) from Westzaan. It comes from the Zaens Firefighting Museum collection, and has certainly earned its spot in the Zaanse Schans.

Mini Museum 'Spoithois’


In the second half of the 19th century, every man over the age of 18 years was required to serve in the fire brigade, with only administrators, doctors, church ministers, schoolmasters and other dignitaries being exempt. Whenever the constable went through the village sounding a bell or rattle, everyone had to turn out to fight the fire. Those who showed up at the fire handed in their token as proof they had been there. Those who had attended received money, while those who didn’t had to have a very good reason, or face a fine… The spot where the ‘Spoithois’ now stands is where Hulling Mill ‘De Grootvorst’ (1697) used to be. Unfortunately, this windmill was completely destroyed by fire in 1928. Although a very old (circa 1840) hand-operated firefighting device from the nearby oil distillery ‘De Oude Wolf’ was also used in the attempt to extinguish the fire, De Grootvorst still succumbed. Sawmill ‘De Gekroonde Poelenburg’ is now located here. A 1699 ‘advertising pamphlet’ by Jan van der Heyden promoting his firefighting device, which had saved oil mill ‘De Zeug’ in Wormer