Mediaeval cities. National culture. Beautiful architecture.

Hanseatic Cities: Hip and Happening

Along a sparkling river, the river IJssel, described by many as the most beautiful river of the Netherlands, the mediaeval cities of Doesburg, Zutphen, Deventer, Zwolle, Hattem, Hasselt and Kampen lie as beautiful gems. The Hanseatic League was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe from the 14th to 17th century. The Hanseatic cities had their own legal system and operated their own armies for mutual protection and aid. Prosperity manifested itself in impressive new buildings, ornate merchant houses and impressive trade offices. Originally small settlements grew into powerful cities with impressive city walls and ditto gates. Prosperity also exerted its influences on other areas. Painters, architect, poets and philosophers settled in the city and ensured a flourishing period in the artistic field. There was a Golden Age "avant la lettre." Elements that have left their mark on each other in our beautiful Hanseatic towns connected by the water!

Hanseatic Cities: Hip and Happening

5 days itinerary by VVV Deventer - Museums and Culture - 3 Hotels

Road Trip Categories: Museums and Culture

Day 1: Surrounded by Water, Unique and Original


A walk through Doesburg - the best way to explore the city on the IJssel - is like a journey back in time. The town was given a new bulwark in the fourteenth century, to protect against the river water that still surrounds Doesburg. Since then, the street pattern has remained unchanged.  Zutphen is perfect if you are looking for originality. The historic centre offers many towers as well as a unique and striking range of shops. Zutphen is also called Torenstad (town of towers). As well as some large towers that are visible from a large distance and shape the town’s skyline, there are also plenty of smaller towers. The old centre takes you back to medieval times. As well as towers, there are historical warehouses, merchant’s homes, churches, courtyards, streets and alleyway that create the town’s unique atmosphere. 
Visiting: Doesburg, Ellecom, Zutphen, Amsterdam

Day 2: Discover and experience Deventer


There is a flow in Deventer. And this is not just the water of the river IJssel that runs past the Hanseatic city. The town itself is full of life too. The energy flows through the medieval streets. Festivals, celebrations, funfairs, markets and music: there is always something going on in Deventer.
Visiting: Deventer, Ellecom

Day 3: Zwolle: Hip & Historic


Zwolle is a Hanseatic city and a university town. This is evident: the historic and hip city on the IJssel is bursting with vibrancy. Walk through the bustling centre and discover inspiring boutiques, great shops, fascinating museums, like Museum de Fundatie, the best restaurants and much more. There is a lively atmosphere on the streets of the medieval centre of Zwolle. It used to be that merchants from the Hanseatic League ran the show here, but nowadays it’s the students, entrepreneurs and creative types that create a dynamic air. 
Visiting: Zwolle, Deventer

Day 4: Hattem & Hasselt


Between the northern edge of the Veluwe and the Ijssel is scenic Hattem. The Hanseatic city has been a source of inspiration for painters for centuries, which is not surprising: the town is not only ‘photogenic’, but it is also nestled in beautiful surroundings with woods and water a stone’s throw away. Many locations give clues to Hattem’s history as a true fortified town. Parts of the original town wall have survived, just as the fourteenth century Dijkpoort. To the north of Zwolle, on the Zwarte Water, is the Hanseatic city of Hasselt. A characterful town with atmospheric facades, leafy streets and hidden spaces. Discover the special link this Hanseatic city has with Amsterdam. The canal district also has Amsterdam allure with names such as Baangracht, Heerengracht, Prinsengracht and Brouwersgracht. You can discover all the special sight of Hasselt during a city walk, including the historical fortifications, canals, town hall, churches, town gateways, and lime kilns. Or walk, like a traditional pilgrim, one of the pilgrimage routes that converge in Hasselt.
Visiting: Zwolle, Hasselt, Hattem

Day 5: Kampen & Elburg


Kampen has been buzzing with activity since the thirteenth century. Fishermen, craftsmen and merchants created hustle and bustle in the nautical town on the banks of the Ijssel. The old centre of the Hanseatic town of Elburg is no larger than 250 by 350 meters. But the list of monuments and historic buildings in this town is impressive and it's surrounded by moats, earthworks and city wall remains.
Visiting: Zwolle, Kampen, Elburg, Amsterdam