The “Pagaddertoren”

The Belgian word “Pagaddertoren” refers to a small watchtower used by shipowners in the 16th century (Antwerp. Ghent, Bruges).

Days before the anticpated arrival the owner would camp at the top of the tower scanning the horizon waiting for his ship (usually loaded with spices)  to appear.c

The name “Pagadder” is derived from the Spanish word “pagadores”. Pagadores were responsible for paying the wages to the Spaniards garrisoned in Antwerp. Beause they were of short stature they were not allowed to participate in the actual fighting.

At present the habit of nicknaming small children “Pagadders” is still in use.

It must be said that different interpretations have been given for the origin of the name “Pagadder”. We have highlighted only one.

The Pagaddertoren featured at the top of this page is situated at the courtyard of house ‘den Rhyn’ in Antwerp, a former exchange for spices.