Discover the traces of the Hanseatic League in Hattem

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Discover the traces of the Hanseatic League in Hattem
Hanseatic city of Hattem

The name Hattem first appears in written documents from around 800, namely as a settlement owned by the German Abbey of Lorsch. Hattem's heyday started almost 500 years later. In 1299, Hattem received city rights from Count Reinoud I of Gelre. That is 725 years ago this year! Soon after this, Hattem joined the Hanseatic League. This brought prosperity and wealth to the city. The small town grew into an important fortified city on the river IJssel, of which the Dijkpoort and parts of the medieval city wall still remind us.

The Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was a network of cities that worked together to promote and protect trade. You could view the Hanseatic League as a forerunner of the European Union. This Northern European alliance had great economic and cultural influence in the 13th till the 17th centuries. Trade routes and Hanseatic markets came into existence and there was even a Hanseatic coin. Cities from what is now the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, the Baltic States and at its peak even Finland, Russia and England were connected. Well-known Hanseatic cities include Lübeck, Hamburg, Bruges, Copenhagen, Bergen (Norway), Riga and Tallinn. In the Netherlands, Zwolle, Deventer, Kampen, Zutphen, Doesburg, Elburg, Harderwijk, Hasselt and Hattem were members. And all this at a time when Rotterdam and Amsterdam were still villages. The Hanseatic League not only brought prosperity to Hattem, it also gave the people of Hattem an open view to the outside world. Business was done internationally, traders from other cities were given a hospitable welcome, and moreover there was also cultural exchange. Art, architecture and knowledge spread within the Hanseatic League network. You can still experience this hospitality and interest in art when visiting a modern Hattem.

Back in time in today's Hattem
If you walk through Hattem nowadays, it doesn’t take much effort to imagine Hattem in the Hanseatic period. Just walk through the streets around the Grote or Andreaskerk, built in the 15th century. Stroll through Ridderstraat, Achterstraat or Koestraat and, besides viewing shop windows, also look up and admire the facades of merchant houses and stately homes. In addition to memories of the Hanseatic period, Hattem also has sights of a more recent date. For example Molen de Fortuin, located on the city walls of the old city centre of Hattem. This windmill from 1816 is still operational and grinds grain into flour. You can visit the mill free of charge all year round on Saturday afternoons (in July and August also on Wednesday afternoons), and learn more about traditional Dutch mill technology.

The best outing in Gelderland
Another recommendation with a traditional touch is the Dutch Bakery Museum. In four historic buildings, two of which are connected by a tunnel under the street, you imagine yourself in a bakery from 150 years ago. Take a look inside the daily life of the baker, then and now, and be carried away by the rich history of bread and pastries. An experience museum filled with activities for both young and old, chosen in 2023 by the members of the Dutch Automobile Association (ANWB) as the best outing in Gelderland. It is no less than the third time that the museum won this prize. And there is a reason for this! Go visit and experience it yourself!

Other special museums
Because of its location on the river IJssel, Hattem was popular with artists. The Dutch skies offered plenty of inspiration. Jan Voerman was one of the painters who often captured the river IJssel on paper. But he also found inspiration in the Veluwe in what he called his “forests”; forest scenes. You can admire the work of Jan Voerman and his son, known from the pictures in the Verkade albums, in the Voerman City Museum Hattem. Also recommended! Another special museum is the Anton Pieck Museum with the work of this famous Dutch painter, (book) illustrator, graphic artist and first designer of the amusement park ‘Efteling’. The museum has recently been renovated and has three new exhibitions, including an overview of Pieck's oil paintings and his designs for the fairy tale "The Wolf and the Seven Goats."

Each Hanseatic city has its own authentic atmosphere and charm! Also visit the other Hanseatic cities and discover the similarities and differences. Visit for more detailed information