Doetinchem, Netherlands


Doetinchem (Low Saxon: both Deutekem and Durkum or Dörkum), sometimes pronounced and sometimes also written as Deutekom, is a town on the Oude IJssel, located in the Achterhoek in the Dutch province of Gelderland, and capital of the municipality of Doetinchem.



The oldest mention of Doetinchem dates from 838 as villa Duetinghem, a settlement with a church. In the period after 838 the fortified city of Deutinkem was created with a church that was given as a gift to the then bishop of Utrecht. Other name variations used over time were Duttichem, Duichingen, Dotekom and Deutekom.

Around 1100 Doetinchem started to grow, and a city wall was built against looters who tried to raid the city several times. In 1236 Doetinchem received city rights from Count Otto II of Gelre; the city wall was also raised by one meter in that year. The four barriers used until then were replaced by four large city gates: the Hamburgerpoort, the Waterpoort, the Gruitpoort (also known as Grutpoort) and the Hezenpoort. Later on, moats were dug around it, and front gates were made. Doetinchem became important as a trading place for farmers who came to sell their merchandise on the market. This market was held on Place Simons and it continued until World War II. Doetinchem was one of the five voting cities within the States of the Zutphen quarter. A large city fire in 1527 destroyed all of Doetinchem's data. Not much is known about Doetinchem from the Middle Ages.

In 1672 the city wall was largely demolished, in the second half of the 19th century the gates and a large part of the city wall was dismantled. Some of the foundations of the city wall from the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century are still in the ground, and were about 1.5 meters wide at the base. Doetinchem remained calm until the First World War, when a few border guards kept watch there.

Doetinchem also seemed to get through the Second World War with the Hunger Winter. During the war years a small German occupation force was stationed. At the end of the war, some prisoners were executed as a reprisal for an act of resistance, committed near the Veluwe village of Putten when an important German officer was shot by the resistance. The Bouchina building was also used to house nine Dutch Jews who enjoyed special protection from the NSB.

Just before the liberation, Allied planes bombed the historic center of the city on 19, 21 and 23 March. 120 buildings were destroyed and 143 people were killed and hundreds were injured. Despite various explanations, the circumstances remain uncertain. Amateur historian Hendrik Land, based on records from the Air Force Historical Research Agency in Alabama, believes that the March 23 bombing was carried out by an American bomber. This statement is supported by the discovery of an American bomb in 1973. The bombings of March 19 and 21 were probably carried out by British. The first bombing raid would have had strategic objectives (an aircraft parts factory and a liaison post) designated by the resistance. The second would have been a mistake, in which pilots would have mistaken Doetinchem for Anholt and Isselburg, which are 20 kilometers away. There is also a statement that the Germans had reinforced the town against the Allied advance. The Allied bombings should have stopped the Germans from installing reinforcements and thus also forced an Allied passage. The city center was badly damaged, but not destroyed. The Germans were not chased away but hid themselves among the rubble. On April 2, the town was liberated after fierce fighting between the Germans and Canadians.


After the second World War

In the decades that followed, reconstruction followed and Doetinchem continued to grow and after a few years it even became larger than its 'competitors' Doesburg, Winterswijk and Zutphen. Philips and Vredestein had a factory in the city for several years. At the beginning of the 21st century, new neighborhoods are also being built, such as Dichteren (this neighborhood bears the same name as the neighborhood next to it), the Wijnbergen, Heelweg, Iseldoks and Vijverberg-Zuid neighborhoods.


Master Plan Peel

The municipal council has decided to renew many places in and around the center (the shell of Doetinchem) by building new buildings on empty places and rebuilding dilapidated neighborhoods. This Master Plan Schil must, among other things, improve the infrastructure, make better use of the Oude IJssel, create more space to live and work, and better express the city's history. Eighteen places in the city are for the master plan.