Deventer is a great excuse to discover the east of The Netherlands a little better. Because in all honesty, Deventer is just a wonderful Dutch surprise and one of the loveliest hidden gems you will come across in The Netherlands. Explore the winding streets with gabled houses, the excellent independent shopping options or visit one of Deventer’s famous local festivals. The city guide will help you plan your trip.
If you’re flying into Amsterdam, it’s easy to get to Deventer. Simply take the train from Amsterdam central station, the journey takes about 1.5 hours, making it either a great day trip from Amsterdam. Plan your train trip on this website. Even though Deventer makes for a great day trip destination from Amsterdam, the city offers enough to justify staying the night.
Hotel FINCH is a brand new hotel in Deventer. It’s located in a stunning historical building that has been tastefully restored, with lots of love for vintage and retro decorations. It’s a treat to slowly wake up in the morning and stay in bed with a cup of coffee, before enjoying the breakfast buffet.
Hotel Huis Vermeer
Hotel Huis Vermeer is located in an old banker’s mansion, right in the heart of Deventer. The rooms are spacious and are decorated tastefully. If you’re looking for a great restaurant you don’t have to go far. Simply ascend the stairs, as the hotel’s adjacent restaurant and cosy terrace are excellent.
Deventer was already a bustling port and important city, by the 11th century. The city’s location along the IJssel river made it of great significance as a member of the Hanseatic League, a collective of Dutch and German cities all connected through waterways that were very active in trade. The city was heavily bombed during the Second World War, although you wouldn’t think that walking through the historical centre. Keep in mind however that only 2500 of 11000 historical buildings survived the bombings. Deventer is still incredibly cute though, filled with cobbled streets, quaint squares, gabled houses and green, deserted courtyards.
The old town
The old town of Deventer is something to feast your eyes on. Historical gabled houses, old signboards and hidden courtyards are everywhere you look. Deventer flourished from the 11th until the 15th century when it was part of the powerful Hanseatic Lague and Amsterdam was nothing more than an insignificant village. In fact, Deventer was one of the richest cities in The Netherlands back then. And you can still see those traces all over town. It’s hard to believe that only 2500 of 11000 houses survived the bombings of World War II.
When you get to Deventer, immediately go to Brink, the central square of the city. In the middle of it, you will see the imposing historical building of De Waag, an old Dutch word for ‘weighing house. This building is one of the oldest weighing houses in The Netherlands (and an absolute beauty) and is now a museum. In it, you can see expositions on Deventer through the ages.
The reason Deventer was such a powerful city in the Middle Ages is its location along the IJssel river and if you cross the river, it’s easy to enjoy the lovely Deventer skyline with the tower of the Grote of Lebuïnuskerk proudly being the centre of attention.
Within The Netherlands, Deventer is pretty famous for one thing: cookies. ‘Deventer koek’ is actually more like a cake made with pumpkin spice-like spices. Bussink is the place to sample and buy the real deal, the store has been there since 1593 and is still located in a beautiful historical house. If you’re not into cake, there are a lot more sweets to sample.
Though Deventer has a beautiful old town, Bergkwartier (Berg quarter) is probably the most beautiful part of it. The quarter is close to Brink square. After the bombings of the Second World War, most of the houses were beautifully renovated. To see the most stunning streets, walk from Brink towards Bergkerkplein.
If you’re travelling in the Netherlands with your kids, the Deventer Toy Museum is a really nice place to visit. Your kids can see through the little windows of hundreds of dollhouses, see lots of vintage toys and visit the grand train set room.
I simply love local brewery and Deventer has such a fine one. DAVO is the local brewery with a great brewpub attached. Join a tour around the brewery and a tasting. Fun fact: this brewery brews sustainably: they use solar energy and they don’t use plastic for their cans and bottles.
Deventer is a true gem for shopaholics. The city only has one street with the usual chain stores and the rest of the city centre is filled with independent boutiques and lovely small shops. Hoge Ramen is a Deventer institute, as this independent store has been going strong for 30 years. The shop offers everything from women’s and children’s clothing to books and stationery. It’s a colourful place and an absolute fun place to shop.
If you think that Deventer is all about historical eateries and cute outdoor seating in the old town, think again. Amsterdam and Rotterdam are not the only cities in The Netherlands to offer trendy food concepts and food markets. Food Dock is the first food market in the East of The Netherlands and the place to get good burgers, sushi or frozen yoghurt.
I like shops that are also cafés (or the other way around) and Groote Poot is a great example. This bakery is also a café and for me, it’s the perfect place to have the first coffee in the morning, maybe with a nice breakfast or a pastry to go along with it.
A taste of honey
If you’re not into colour, this is not the place for you. Because everything about A taste of honey is bright, vintage and colourful. All the dishes are served on vintage dishes and the small garden out the back is a real treat in summer.
Piknik is the perfect excuse to cross the IJssel river and explore the happening Havenkwartier (harbour quarter). Piknik is a very hip and happening summer bar that will make you feel like you’re in the middle of Berlin. Enjoy cool drinks, hamburgers, pizza and live music.
Restaurant Jackies is a must-visit when you’re in Deventer. It will give you a little taste of New York. The interior, as well as the atmosphere, are excellent. You’ll enjoy the fish dishes or the vegetarian options.
Deventer, The Netherlands
Save on Pinterest