Kampen, Netherlands Tourist Attractions
The old Hanseatic town of Kampen is picturesquely situated on the left bank of the IJssel, 4km/2.5mi above its outflow into the IJsselmeer.
It is the principal town and market center of the surrounding agricultural area. It has an old-established theological college and a college of agriculture. The town's main source of income is industry - foodstuffs, shipbuilding, the manufacture of agricultural machinery and building materials, woodworking and the manufacture of cigars, as well as a few smaller industries. Tourism now also makes a contribution to the economy.Kampen was founded in the second half of the 12th century and first appears in the records in 1227. It received its municipal charter in 1240, and became the most important commercial town in the eastern Netherlands, trading with the Baltic area, France and England. When the town acquired the fertile delta area at the mouth of the IJssel in 1363 it became so wealthy that right into the 20th century the inhabitants paid no local taxes. Its admission to the Hanseatic League in 1441 and its elevation to the status of free imperial city in 1495 gave a further boost to its economy, which suffered a setback in the 16th century when it came under Spanish rule (1578). Only the towns of Kampen, Zwolle and Deventer were represented in the provincial States.
Kampen's main tourist attraction, apart from its yacht harbor, is the picturesque old part of the town.
Three of Kampen's 15th century town gates still survive: the rectangular Koornmarktspoort on the banks of the IJssel; the Broederpoort (1465; rebuilt in Renaissance style 1615), with four corner towers, on the west side of the old town; and the Cellebroederpoort (1465; rebuilt 1617) to the south, a rectangular structure with two round towers. Farther south lies the municipal park.
In Oude Straat is Kampen's finest building, the Town Hall (Stadhuis), with a richly decorated facade. Originally 14th century, it was rebuilt in 1543 after a fire. The badly weathered Late Gothic statues on the facade were replaced in 1933-38 by copies. The most notable feature of the interior is the Schepenzaal (Magistrates' Hall), with heavy oak paneling, a Renaissance mantlepiece of 1545 and the carved oak stalls of the magistrates. The Town Hall also contains a number of pictures and a complete collection of portraits of the Princes of Orange, beginning with William I. The iron gate at the entrance to the tower was a trophy brought back to Kampen after the capture of Voorst Castle, near Zwolle, in 1362. Visitors are shown the Magistrates' Hall and the Orange Gallery.
Immediately west of the Kampen Town Hall is the Nieuwe Toren or Heiligengeesttoren (New Tower, Tower of the Holy Ghost; 1649-64), built by Philip Vingboons, with a fine carillon by the Hemony brothers. In summer the tower can be climbed.
From the Nieuwe Toren Broederstraat runs west to the Broederkerk (1473-90), which originally belonged to a Minorite house, the Minderbroedersklooster. Between the two choirs is an attractive crow-stepped tower. The two aisles of this Gothic hall-church are separated by columns with beautiful leaf capitals.
On Muntplein, near the south end of the old town, stands the Bovenkerk (Upper Church or St Nicolaaskerk, a massive structure (14th-16th C.) with a spacious interior.This Gothic cruciform basilica, with double aisles flanking the nave and a ring of chapels round the ambulatory, was begun about 1325, but building continued for over 200 years; the north and south doorways were completed in 1500, but the spire on the tower was not added until 1808. Notable features of the interior are the magnificent Gothic choir, the choir screen (early Renaissance), the Late-Gothic stone pulpit, the wall paintings and the Baroque organ (1670-76).
At the north end of Kampen's old town is the Buitenkerk or Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (Outer Church, Church of Our Lady; R.C.). The original cruciform church (14th C.) was converted around 1450 into a hall-church (with aisles of the same height as the nave). Particularly impressive are the round columns with Brabantine leaf capitals and the octagonal sacristy - a feature unique in the Netherlands.
The Tobacco Museum in Kampen offers an informative survey of the history of tobacco and cigar manufacture. A particular attraction is the longest cigar in the world, manufactured in 1983, which features in the "Guinness Book of Records".
Frans Walkate Archief
The Frans Walkate Archief (with library) at Burgwal 41, originally a private collection assembled by a banker named Frans Walkate, illustrates the history of the town and the province, with old maps, atlases and 19th and 20th century views of the town.
Map of Kampen Attractions