The two gilded silver city keys lie on a green velvet cushion, hemmed with gold wire. Technically, the emperor forgot to take them with him...
Napoleon visited the Netherlands, which had been part of the French Empire for a year at the time, from 24 September to 31 October 1811. The emperor and his retinue wanted to pass through Amersfoort on the 27th of October, and the city council was keen to welcome him in style. It commissioned the construction of two triumphal arches, which were festively lit and decorated with greenery along with the city's other public buildings. Residents living along Utrechtsestraat, Varkensmarkt, Langestraat, Kamp, Zevenhuizen, de Hof and the various canals had to decorate the façades of their houses with greenery and flowers. Shrubs were placed throughout the city and the entire route was sprinkled with sand to make any wet streets less slippery for the horse's hooves. The entire effort cost 2,641 francs, a substantial figure in difficult economic times. The emperor was welcomed by the mayors of Amersfoort, who were eager to present him with the keys to the city.
As it turned out, Napoleon barely got to see Amersfoort. He entered the city via the Utrechtsestraat, rushed along the Langestraat and left through the Kamperbuitenpoort. He never took the keys.
Author: Floor de Graaff