We walk along the Veermanskade (Ferryman's Quay) crossing the white drawbridge and continuing along the Doelenkade and around the bend of the Slapershaven. Near the end stop to look at the unique 17th C houses on the left. These are called the 'Bossu Houses'.
These three 'Bossu Houses' have a continuous bas- relief frieze commemorating in verse and illustration the renowned Zuider Zee battle of 1573,when patriot West Frisian and Zeeland ships defeated the Spanish fleet commanded by Count Bossu. On the first house we see the mythological figure of Venus, who arose from the foam of the sea and appeared riding the waves on a shell.
In the frieze are lines by the poet Jacob Coenraetz Mayvogel:
The next house has (roughly translated) the text:
And without doubt there were those who were in the middle of it,
As were those on land who prayed to God and Moses
That men shall be victorious, and so it did take place
Where now there is not a hide or other clear sign to be seen.
The house on the corner, Grote Oost nr.132, also has lines from Mayvogel:
O praiseworthy deed O wondrous golden times,
Whoever reflects on that is still bound to rejoice,
The nation shakes and trembles at the enemy's approach,
He desires like Amelech to defeat all Israel,
He comes with mighty force but God has granted us
Both Aaron and those whose names are written.
The historic Battle of the Zuider Zee took place off the coast of Hoorn on October 12 in the year 1573. The Spanish fleet was defeated and Admiral and Governor Count Bossu taken captive. He spent three years imprisoned in the orphanage in the Korte Achterstraat (15 on the map).
At the time of the battle the turbulent 80 Year's War had started. Towns and provinces in the Netherlands were as yet not united in their struggle against Spanish domination. Amsterdam for instance chose to stay faithful to Spain. The struggle on land and sea progressed with difficulty but after the Sea Beggars took Brielle in 1572 several towns in North Holland, among them Hoorn, supported the rebellion leader William of Orange.
In North Holland the rebellion reaches its turning point in the following year. The Sea Beggars, together with the West Frisian patriots, attempt to blockade Amsterdam harbour. The Spanish Governor Count Bossu takes his fleet out to do battle with the Orange ships. The ensuing battle lasts six days and nights, the West Frisians under the command of Admiral Dirkszoon, Burgemeester of Monnickendam, were outnumbered, but through their determination and helped by fresh men and supplies from the nearby harbours, they won the day..