Deventer Tourist Attractions
The old Hanseatic town of Deventer lies on the right bank of the IJssel. Although it has preserved a number of beautiful old houses in the town center it is predominantly a town of modern aspect with active industries, the most important of which are carpet-making and the manufacture of bicycles.
It is also famed for its honey cakes (kruidkoeken).HistoryThe origins of the town go back to the Carolingian period (809), though there is evidence that the site was occupied 3,000 years ago. By the ninth century Deventer had developed into an important trading town, and during the medieval period it became a member of the Hanseatic League. It received its municipal charter in the 13th century. It was the birthplace of the theologian Geert Groote (1340-84), founder in 1376 of the monastic community of Brothers of the Common Life. Among members of the brotherhood were Erasmus (who lived in Deventer in 1475-76), Thomas à Kempis, Pope Hadrian VI and Descartes. The painter Hendrick Terbruggen was born in Deventer in 1588; his painting of the four Evangelists can be seen in the Town Hall.
Grote Kerk (Lebuinuskerk)
According to legend the Deventer's first church was built in 765 by St Lebuinus. This was devastated in 800, and in 1040 Bishop Bernoldus, who had fled from Utrecht to escape the Normans, founded a new church. Of this Romanesque basilica there survive only the crypt, the groined vaulting, two rows of columns with cube capitals and parts of the choir and the east transept. In the 15th century a massive Gothic basilica was built (west aisle, tower, ambulatory, Raadskapel and north aisle). The tower (1612) has a Baroque spire by Hendrick de Keyser and a carillon by Francois Hemony (1655).
At the northwest corner of the Grote Kerk in Deventer can be seen the remains of the former parish church, the 15th century Mariakerk. After being partly demolished in the 17th century it was used for many years as a weapon store.
On the southeast side of the Grote Kerk in Deventer is the Town Hall (Landhuis), which consists of two medieval buildings, the Landhuis (the original Town Hall) on the Kerkhof and the Wanthuis in Polstraat. In the 17th century the Landhuis was given a gabled front in Renaissance style and the Wanthuis a pilastered side facade (by Philip Vingboons). The imposing stone facade on the Grote Kerkhof was built in 1693 by Jacob Roman. The Town Hall contains a fine group portrait of the burgomasters and councilors of Deventer (1667) by Gerard Terborch, who was himself a town councilor towards the end of his life.
A little way northwest of Deventer's Grote Kerk, in Noordenbergstraat/Klooster (No. 12), is the Athenaeum Library, founded in 1560, which contains 120,000 volumes, together with 500 manuscripts and incunabula (some of them from the old monastery which stood here). From 1630 to 1879 the library belonged to the Athenaeum College of Deventer. Across the street from the Library, at Klooster 3, are the Municipal Archives.
From Deventer's Municipal Archives, Papenstraat leads to the Brink, Deventer's spacious main square, which has a number of old houses with handsome facades.
St Nicholas Church
The most striking building on Deventer's Brink is the Late Gothic Weigh-House (Waag, 1528-31), with a handsome external staircase. The Weigh-House, together with the adjoining House of the Three Herrings (De Drie Haringen, 1575), has been occupied since 1915 by the Municipal Museum of Antiquities, with a variety of exhibits illustrating the history of the town and surrounding area. On the outside wall hangs a copper cauldron in which counterfeiters used to be executed by being boiled in oil or water.
On the west side of Deventer's Brink square (No. 89) is the Penninckshuis (1588), originally a Mennonite church. The Renaissance-style facade is decorated with symbolic figures of the Christian virtues. In front of the house is a statue of Albert Schweitzer.
Toy and Tinware Museum
Speelgoed en Blikmuseum, at Brink 47, occupies the former Kronenburg and Vogelensang warehouses. The collection of toys was originally assembled by the painter Jan Stekelenburg; the tinware was presented by the manufacturers, Thomassen & Drijver.
To the east of Deventer's Brink square, reached by way of Bergstraat, is the Bergkwartier, an old quarter of the town near the banks of the IJssel with a distinct and rather melancholy character of its own. The name is thought to be derived from the local fishermen who sailed to Bergen in Norway. Many old houses with handsome facades have been restored by the firm of Bergkwartier with government subsidies.
Bergkerk (St Nicolaaskerk)
The Bergkwartier in Deventer is dominated by the 12th century Bergkerk or St Nicolaaskerk, situated on higher ground. This was originally a cruciform Romanesque basilica with two towers. In the early 15th century a new choir, a nave flanked by broad aisles and a transept were added, the towers were heightened by the addition of spires and finally the church was given a vaulted roof and decorated with wall paintings. Of the original church there remains only the Romanesque transept, with round- headed niches.
Achter de Muren
On the southwest side of Deventer the streets known as Achter de Muren ("Behind the Walls") lead through the double town walls to the banks of the IJssel, from which there is a fine view of the town.
20km/12.5mi east of Deventer on E 8 is the little town of Markelo, noted for its festivals and exhibitions.The town is considered one of the prettiest small towns in Overijssel.
Map of Deventer Attractions