The visit of the Dutch Hanseatic cities is like a time trip. (Photo: NBTC)

The visit of the Dutch Hanseatic cities is like a time trip. (Photo: NBTC)

A time travel – hanseatic cities in the Netherlands

journey, Netherlands, tip, tourism

Not only german, but also dutch cities were once connected to the Hansebund (Hanseatic League). In the Dutch provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel are nine hanseatic cities, which have preserved their medieval charm to these days.

Connected by the water are the cities of Harderwijk, Elburg, Hasselt, Kampen, Zwolle, Hattem, Deventer, Zutphen and Doesburg. And all nine were members of the famous merchants league in the late Middle Ages. Therefore, visiting these cities is equivalent to a time journey into the 14th and 15th centuries.

Visitors can hike over cobblestone streets in the magnificent historic district, visit medieval markets or explore the winding streets of the old town. Another special feature is that the hanseatic cities are very close together. The cities can be reached not only by the boat relaxed, but can also take a bike ride through the picturesque Ijsseldelta and stop in the Hansestadt stopover. We present three of the nine Hanseatic cities as an example.


In the vernacular, Hasselt is often referred  as “little Amsterdam”, which, of course, is due to the rich history. When the Hanseatic League experienced its heyday, today’s capital was still a small fishing village. On the other hand, when visiting Hasselt, the visitor actually feels that he would visit a miniature edition of Amsterdam – canals, bridges, quays and more than 70 historical buildings determine the cityscape.


The Hansestadt Kampen is known for its medieval center and  has also one of the best preserved city centers in the Netherlands. Many old, but well-preserved churches adorn the city center, remains of the city wall as well as three city gates are in good condition. And the town hall with a 16th century decor can be visited. The history of the city is closely linked to the water, so it is also obvious that Kampen offers many water sports activities.


The capital of the province of Overijssel is probably the most famous of these three cities. Even today, the city fortifications and the ornate merchant houses testify to the prosperity of the hanseatic city, which lasted until the 16th century. Nowadays Zwolle is also known as a bonbon town thanks to the so-called “Zwolse balletjes” (Zwollerbällchen), which can be bought and tasted in the “Zwolse Balletjeshuis”, for example. Anyone who visits Zwolle will sooner or later be confronted with the term “Blauwversers” – this is the nickname for the inhabitants of Zwolle, which they owe to a prank from the Middle Ages.

further information: to the website of Netherland tourism

Claus-Detlev Bues

Claus-Detlev Bues

Claus-Detlev Bues has been working as a senior editor for caravaning for decades. In addition to several print titles, he is also responsible for online reporting as a D.C.I chief editor and also oversees the areas of test and technology. Several books about caravaning come from his pen. In his spare time, he likes to work on oldtimers and is an active self-employed and developer of motorhomes with whom he is traveling all over Europe.
Claus-Detlev Bues