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Zutphen

Anyone approaching Zutphen will be moved by its beautiful location on the water. Zutphen, the city with the striking towers and stately merchant houses; Curiosity about what lies behind it is already roused from a distance. Thus it is not surprising that Zutphen is visited, every year in summer as well as in winter, by hundreds of thousands of residents from the region and by tourists. Events, markets, a comprehensive selection of shops, restaurants, pubs, musea, and galleries, serve as a true magnet for the region.

The Hanseatic period brought great wealth to Zutphen. Over sea and over the river IJssel towards the river Rijn the Zutphen people mainly transported herring, butter and beer and took wine back with them. Over land and over the river Berkel the most important article was timber. Zutphen and Deventer had important timber markets. Zutphen eagerly joined in the Hanseatic League; the city even had its own settlement in Schonen, a right granted by the king of Denmark. The wealth acquired by Zutphen as a Hanseatic city, can nowadays still be seen on the beautiful buildings in the town centre. Storehouses, merchants houses, churches, but also parts of the fortress you will encounter during your city walk through the winding alleys in the town centre. Even behind the modernized gables more often than not a rich Hanseatic past can be found, something that will be pointed out during the city walk. 

A special feature is the house name project in the city. From the late Middle Ages to the beginning of the nineteenth century houses did not have house numbers. The house was mostly indicated by the street it was on or with the name or the profession of the owner. In the Zutphen town centre there are no less than 180 old houses that were named in those early days. Many of those names refer to Zutphen’s Hanseatic past, such as “the King of Sweden”or “the black anchor”.

In the St. Walburgis church you will find the Librije, an unprecedented beautiful series of handwritten books, bound together with chains.

You will get a refreshing outlook on Zutphen during the journey with the “Kofschip”, a peat barge, related to the Tjalk (a Dutch sailing vessel with characteristic spritsail). During the journey you will pass the most beautiful spots of the river Berkel. The whisperer (the skipper) will point out to you the special historic elements. For instance parts of the old city wall. Because although a large part of the fortifications of Zutphen were demolished, still a lot is left to look at these days.

Hansa fact In the Middle Ages, over 200 cities were part of the Hanze.