According to Estatelearning.com, Deventer is the third city of the province of Overijssel, belonged to the Hanseatic cities and is now a popular tourist destination. More and more Dutch and international tourists are discovering this lively city on the IJssel. In fact, Deventer has almost everything you can look for in a nice city for a day trip: history, culture, beauty and vibrancy. The catering industry is very diverse and plentiful. Those who want to shop can, in addition to the well-known chains, also go shopping in a number of nice boutiques and shops that have their own identity.
The compactness of the city center is seen by many as a major advantage. Most of Deventer’s sights are within walking distance of each other. This is due to the medieval prosperity that the city experienced when it became part of the Hanseatic League as a trading city. At that time, you had to protect your citizens and wealth from outside disaster. Fortifications in the form of defensive walls, city walls, city gates and towers had to take care of this. The additional effect is that the city was bordered by these fortifications. The street pattern as it eventually emerged in the seventeenth century still forms the center of Deventer almost unchanged. Contemporary Deventer is much larger.
Top 10 Things to Do in Deventer
#1. The weigh house
De Waag is a building that has been defining the center of Deventer since 1531. According to the fact checkers, this is the oldest weigh house in the Netherlands that was built for that purpose. Older weigh houses elsewhere used to have a different function. De Waag is a late Gothic building with a front porch that is dominant, partly due to the staircases on both sides. In the past, goods were weighed in the Waag to determine the amount of tax to be paid. Today it houses a museum: Museum De Waag. It is mainly pieces from the urban collection of Deventer that you can admire here.
The Bergkwartier is undoubtedly the most beautiful place to experience the atmosphere of historic Deventer. This neighborhood is located in the southeast of the Old Town. As soon as you walk into the Bergstraat from the Brink, you are already in this atmospheric neighborhood. Enjoy the beautiful facades and some of the sights that are characteristic of the Bergkwartier: the prominent Sint-Nicolaaskerk (or Bergkerk), the Munttoren, the Great Synagogue and the remains of the chimney of the now disappeared DAIM factory. In the month of December, to be precise during the last weekend before Christmas, the Bergkwartier attracts a large audience because of the two-day Dickens Festijn that is held here.
#3. town hall
The town hall of Deventer is a beautiful piece of architecture. The current town hall consists of several buildings: the original town hall from 1693, the Landshuis (which dates from 1632, but was only added to the town hall at the end of the twentieth century) and a more recently added modern part. This last piece was opened in 2016 and was designed by the architects Willem Jan Neutelings and Michiel Riedijk. They chose to provide the outside with enormous frameworks in which the fingerprints of 2264 inhabitants of Deventer are processed. Be sure to step into the courtyard to get a good idea of this special design.
#4. Skyline view
Deventer is the most beautiful if you look at it from a distance. The city has a beautiful skyline that looms behind the IJssel. When you hear the word ‘skyline’, don’t immediately think of skyscrapers, but rather a collection of buildings that instantly show the historic character of Deventer. There are two good places to enjoy this view. Because of the light, the view from the Wilhelmina Bridge is the best. It is best to walk this bridge on the northern side to get the right view. Another good viewpoint is from the left bank of the IJssel, where the ferry docks.
De Brink is the largest square in the historic center of Deventer. It was built in the second half of the fourteenth century and from then on it was considered an important center for trade. It is not for nothing that the Waag was built here at some point. After the trade of the Brink disappeared and the car made its appearance, the Brink lost a bit of its shine. Making the Brink car-free and the enormous increase in the catering offer have meant that the Brink is now seen as the beating heart of Deventer, especially on summer days. Then the terraces are often full. There are several historic buildings on the Brink, such as the aforementioned Waag and the beautiful Pennick House.
#6. Pennincks House
The Penninckshuis is considered one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Deventer. A special element is that a so-called hidden church has been installed in the Penninckshuis. Here the Catholics could profess their faith at the moment that the Reformation had taken hold of Deventer. Today the local tourist office is located in part of the Penninckshuis. A striking detail is the left part of the facade. This is a so-called top facade. If you look closely, you will see the six virtues depicted here: Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, Hope, Faith and Charity. You will not immediately notice that these are copies of the images. The original images are safely kept in the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum.
The oldest surviving stone house in the Netherlands is located in the Sandrasteeg: the Proosdij. According to the experts, the oldest core of the Deanery dates from the year 1130 or somewhere around there. The facade has been completely restored and is protected against the weather by means of a transparent roof. This should ensure that this special building will be preserved for generations to come. For those who want to know: you cannot visit the house built from tuff and trachyte from the inside.
Religion has always played a major role in daily life in Deventer. There have therefore always been enough churches where people could attend mass, confess or pray. Two of these churches may be worth a visit for tourists: the Sint-Nicolaaskerk and the Lebuinuskerk. The Grote or Lebuinuskerk is a Gothic church that was built at the end of the fifteenth century and has since fulfilled the role of the main church of Deventer. The Sint-Nicolaaskerk (or Bergkerk) is even older. This church, dedicated to Nicholas of Myra, dates from the end of the twelfth century. After the formerly Catholic church was converted to a Protestant church in 1580, the murals were covered with white lime. These were uncovered again at the beginning of the last century and subsequently restored. These murals are now the main attraction of this church.
#9. Geert Groote Huis
Geert Groote was an important Deventer as the founder of the Modern Devotion. It is even said that Geert Groote is the most important Deventer in history. The Modern Devotion is a spiritual movement that emerged within the Catholic Church at the end of the fourteenth century. The movement arose because people were dissatisfied with their situation because of abuses among the clergy and in the church leadership. You can see everything about the Modern Devotion and the role Geert Groote played in it in the Geert Groote House.
#10. Deventer Cake Shop
The well-known delicacy “Deventer koek” has given the city a special nickname: Koekstad. Since the end of the Middle Ages, the Deventer cake has been baked according to carefully recorded and strictly applied municipal instructions. Today, the Deventer cake is produced in the Continental Bakeries factory. If you want to take the famous cake home as a souvenir, you can visit the Deventer Koekwinkel aan de Brink. Here you can also purchase the delicacy in special gift packaging.