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Hattem

“There lies a city on the river IJssel, on the edge of heather and wood, it is surrounded still by moats, and walls are covered with moss”. 

The Hattem people were and are proud of their city and they have good reason to be proud. The former fortress is located beautifully on the foothold of the Veluwe massif.

 From the old city centre the broad-leaved and coniferous forest of the country estate of Molecaten is no further away then a ten-minute stroll. Anyone looking for more space turns his steps the other way, towards the river IJssel.

 The flora and fauna of the washlands on the Homoet attract numerous nature lovers every year. But do not set out into nature without having visited the small but extremely charming town centre first.

In ancient files dating back to 891 we find the first record of “Hatheim”. The settlement on the river dune is strategically located on the edge between the rivals Gelre and the Oversticht (now the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel). All the more reason for the count of Gelre to grant the little town city rights in the year 1299.

With all haste trowel and shovel are subsequently taken up in order to build sturdy and robust city walls. The castle of Saint Lucia springs up and is soon popularly called the “Dikke Tinne”. In the nickname the awe for the towers (tinnes) with the thickest walls of the Netherlands is expressed.

Anyone who strolls through the small city today, still sees numerous reminders of the turbulent times in which kettles with boiling oil, crossbows, cannons and halberdiers stood standby on the city walls in order to keep the enemy outside the walls.

 Go and have a look in the Herb Garden near the French School and do take a pair of scissors with you: for you are allowed to cut deliciously fragrant herbs for your evening dinner!

 Whenever a city in former ages was besieged, the food supply was not supposed to be at risk.

 The city mill within the fortress walls therefore was no luxury. On the Molenbelt we can still find the flourmill “De Fortuin”. Every Saturday you can walk in free of charge. The Volunteers Millers Guild will welcome you with enthusiasm in this monument which is ready to mill.

 Anyone who has visited the mill has no choice but to drop in at the largest and nicest bakery museum in the Netherlands, for millers and bakers are good friends of old. In the Dutch Bakery Museum the history of bread and pastry is presented in a refreshing way. Several times a week they bake bread, sometimes in the 200-year-old faggot oven. If you make an appointment you can roll up your sleeves yourself and you can imagine yourself to be an old-fashioned baker. 

The small city of Hattem does not boast only one, but even three museums! The picturesque appearance of the city and surrounding area attracted numerous painters at the beginning of the year 1900, who tried to immortalize the Dutch clouds above the river IJssel.

 Jan Voerman was one of them. In the Voerman museum in Hattem there are numerous of his beautiful works to be seen, as well as of his son Jan Voerman junior, nationally known because of his transparent watercolours from the albums of Verkade. In this museum you will also find the history of the region represented, as well as nostalgic toys, traditional costumes, traditional tools and so on. 

The best-known illustrator in the country Anton Pieck was also very charmed by Hattem. In this city he recognized something from the atmosphere in his own work. No wonder that the Anton Pieck museum found its place there, designed by the master himself. The wonderful overview of his work shows that he was not only a master in producing the well-known nostalgic illustrations; lithos, etchings, travel drawings, oil paintings show his versatility. At the end of your walk do enter the beautifully restored Great or St. Andreas Church where guides will gladly tell you about the special dome paintings and the organ. The variety in selection of shops and the enjoyable outdoor cafes completes that what Hattem as Hanseatic city can offer you.

Hansa fact In the Hanze era (the Middle Ages), Amsterdam was only a village, while the Hanze towns were powerful cities with beautiful buildings.