During the black death incoming ships were forced to wait and sit at anchor for 40 days, to prevent possible infection. The Italian word for 40 is ‘quaranta’, this is where we get the word ‘quarantine’ from.

The island of Pampus

In the Netherlands in those days, ships had to anchor at Pampus, a small Island just before the port of Amsterdam. Hence the expression “voor Pampus liggen” meaning to be knocked down for a while, unable to do anything. Nowadays that expression is used when you are dead tired and parked out on the couch or just wasted drunk.
Located in lake IJmeer, about 20 minutes by boat from the fortress town of Muiden, the Fort Island of Pampus has a unique setting. Pampus is the most visited fort of the Defense Line of Amsterdam with over 40,000 visitors annually. De Stichting Pampus (Pampus Foundation) has developed an ambitious plan to preserve the fort for the future. Each year over eighty volunteers give guided tours to the visitors and organize treasure hunts and pirate themed events for the kids.