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Deventer

Deventer famous for its Cake! For over 400 years now the city enjoys international fame because of the high quality of the gingerbread, the “bijtjes” and the honey gingerbread. Only one cake factory has survived the ravages of time: Jb. Bussink. In the little shop with the same name on the Brink fresh cake is made every day. Therefore this is a good operating base to explore the dazzling, free, imperial Hanseatic City of Deventer over a cup of coffee with gingerbread.

Deventer is observed as one of the oldest cities of our country. The first record in the archives about a small settlement along the river IJssel goes back to the year 806. The Anglosaxon monk Lebuinus played a role of importance in the early Middle Ages in the history of the city.

He crossed the river IJssel by rowing boat in order to continue his christianisation activities there.

He built a small wooden church on the place where now the mighty Lebuinus church is glittering as scene-setting element on the Deventer skyline. Word even has it that the name Deventer was even pronounced in an English way, so something like Devuntur, under influence of the Irishman Lebuinus. The name Menstraat therefore could be a corruption of the word Mainstreet (Hoofdstraat).

Numerous restored tablets report about the history of the various buildings and their inhabitants. Just look around in the monumental Bergkwartier (Berg Quarter), once run-down to the bone but gloriously restored in the sixties. On one of the tablets in the Bergkwartier past and present is depicted. Saint Nicolaas as patron saint of the Deventer sailors, who, among other things, carried stockfish from the Norwegian town of Bergen, and the moneybag of Mrs. Klompé. The tablet can be seen near the former Saint Nicolaas church, now known as Berg church.

Deventer played a prominent role within the Hanseatic League. Every year no less than six annual fairs were organized, each lasting several days. Merchants from all over Europe came towards the IJssel City, and this led to a considerable increase of wealth in particular in the 14th and 15th century. It was also in these days that the Modern Devotion, a religious movement led by Geert Grote, which was very influential, came into being.

It was also the period in which merchant’s houses were built with the well-known Hanseatic gables, after the example of the most important (German) Hanseatic city of Lübeck. These gables can be recognized by the so-called pinnacles, little towers that are on the gables turned for a quarter of a turn. Deventer has too many places worth seeing to mention here. Therefore an excellent way to get to know the city is to book a city walk with the VVV tourist office in Deventer.

 In the Waag, dating from 1528 we find the historical city museum, where you can dive into the history of Deventer in a varied manner. The collection of the Speelgoedmuseum ( Toy museum) evokes nostalgic feelings, as does the Poppenkabinet ( Cabinet of Puppets). Deventer is bubbling and undoubtedly you will have undergone this during one of many special events the city hosts. The mediaeval festival “Op den Berghe” for instance, Deventer on Stilts, the largest Book Fair in Europe, the Dickens festival and we can go on and on.

Should you like to distance yourself from this buzz, we advise you to climb the tower of the Great or Lebuinus church. You do have to persevere (the tower has 220 steps) but the reward will be to see a beautiful Hanseatic city along the river IJssel from a height of 60 meters.

 

Hansa fact The oldest restaurant in the Netherlands hails from the Hanze era and can be found in Doesburg. It can still be visited (Grand-café de Waag, Koepoortstraat 2-4).