Kampen, Netherlands


Kampen is a city in the Dutch province of Overijssel and the capital of the municipality of the same name. The old Hanseatic city is located on the lower reaches of the IJssel, near the outlet in the IJsselmeer and the Keteldiep. The city is located on a river island and can only be reached via works of art.

Kampen is located in northwestern Overijssel and is the largest town in this area. In 2020 the city had 36,755 inhabitants. The area of the city is about 11.39 kmĀ². In 2020 the municipality of the same name will have about 54 500 inhabitants.

In Kampen a variant of the Sallands dialect is spoken, also known as Kampers.



Middle Ages

Around 1150 there were already wooden buildings on the place where the current Kampen is located, but the name Kampen is only mentioned in history in 1227. However, in the municipal archives of Kampen there is still a charter in which Abel, the king of Danes and Slaves and Duke of Jutland, a privilege granted to the Ommelandvaarders, dated September 24, 1251. Kampen was at that time already an important and powerful city ("the Rotterdam of the Middle Ages") and had a large fleet of Kog ships. The Ommelandvaart was made with these Cog ships: the sea voyage around Denmark to the Baltic Sea. In the cities around the Baltic Sea salt was traded that Kamper Koggen had brought from Portugal. The city was granted city rights around 1236, although it is quite possible that Kampen, like Deventer, Steenwijk, Zwolle and Hasselt, became city by customary law. The favorable location on the busy trade route between the Zuiderzee and the Rhine meant that Kampen quickly developed from a simple settlement to a prosperous trading city that would grow into one of the most powerful and prominent cities in northwestern Europe. In the 14th century Kampen exchanged the polder Mastenbroek with the bishop of Utrecht, Jan van Arkel, for the right to accretion in the IJsseldelta.

The silting up of the IJssel from 1430 very gradually put an end to the prosperity of Kampen. For a long time Kampen did not want to be bound to an alliance and to make economic and political concessions to other cities, as was customary in the Hanseatic League. When the County of Holland waged war against the Hanseatic League, this situation came to an end: the city was forced to choose either side. Kampen was originally more oriented towards the Baltic Sea trade and trade with the hinterland of the Rhine, and therefore formally joined the Hanseatic League in 1441. The city had a lot of influence within the Hanseatic League: in spite of loud protest from lower-class cities on the IJssel and other Hanseatic cities, it was decided in 1448 to build a bridge over the IJssel. This job was completed in a record time of 5 months. With this bridge Kampen hoped to have more ties with the hinterland.



On August 11, 1572, Kampen was captured from the Spaniards by Willem van den Bergh, a brother-in-law of William of Orange. After the massacre of Zutphen on November 15, however, the city voluntarily surrendered to the Spaniards. In 1578, the city came back into the hands of the States after the Siege of Kampen, led by George van Lalaing.

The Dutch War, between the Republic of the United Netherlands and England and France, marked a definitive end to the enormous power of the city. Due to the right to accretion in the IJsseldelta, the city had become the owner of the ever-expanding Kampereiland. From 1500 the islands were leased. The rental income became so great that the city did not have to levy taxes.

Kampen only regained its name in the 19th century. At that time, Kampen was difficult to reach from the sea, because the surrounding wetlands were silted and therefore shallow. During the previous centuries, the watercourse of the IJssel was dredged several times, but the costs were relatively high and within a few years the river flow had silted up again. The IJssel had several exits here, as a delta. The main shipping route was also diverted several times in response to the natural course. In the 19th century, active intervention began: river courses were dammed to allow more water to pass through one or two main shipping routes at higher speed. This had the advantage that less sand and silt was deposited, so that such a river course "washed clean" itself. The key figure in this story is Nicolaas Plomp, city architect of Kampen. In addition to his work for the current IJssel front of the city of Kampen, he was also involved in hydraulic engineering. Before 1839, he had already built 2500-meter dams in the Keteldiep, to provide the water with a targeted exit.

In 1839 another 900 meters was added. Material from Kampen's city wall has been incorporated into these breakwaters. Due to the emerging industry in the 19th century and the importance of country roads and railways, speed was also made with so-called roadways, cobbled roads, instead of sand and mud roads. For example, in 1828 the Kampen road was improved, in 1837 the Zwolseweg was constructed as a road, in 1840 the road from Kampen to Genemuiden was constructed, and in 1851 the Kamperstraatweg to Wezep, where it connected to the Zuiderzeestraatweg. Steamboat services were also opened: in 1844 a service to Hamburg and in 1847 to Hull.


Industry in the 19th and 20th centuries

From about 1815, the tobacco industry determined Kampen's face. This branch of industry was attracted by the favorable tax climate in the city, among other things. After the arrival of two smaller tobacco factories, the large cigar manufacturer Lehmkuhl from Bremen settled in the city. Around 1880, almost half of the Kamper population was employed in the tobacco industry and 1.5 million cigars were produced per week. The cigar industry could not find a place to build a large factory, because of the leased land, which was intended for farmers. That is why much of the cigar-making took place in the workers' homes. The cigar industry later disappeared almost entirely from Kampen due to regulation (it was no longer allowed to make cigars at home); the economic crisis in the 1930s; the second World War; and the rise of the cigarette. Only the now monumental cigar factory De Olifant is still fully operational. What is special about the Elephant is that, in addition to the traditional production of cigars, it also plays a pioneering role in helping people on Wajong benefits find work.

Pans and other utensils
Around 1850 the Berk company in Kampen was already involved in the manufacture of pans and other kitchen utensils made of metal. The company was officially founded in 1851. It only became big after it had received an order to make cutlery for hundreds of soldiers. Enamel pans were also made from 1884. The company was very successful: in 1866 it still offered work to 8 people, by 1913 this had grown to 700 people. The company built houses for the poorly housed workers. In 1931 it started with the manufacture of aluminum pans. The crisis in the 1930s caused the workforce to drop, but by 1939 this was already 600 people. For the centenary of Berk Kampen in 1951, it received the designation "Royal". In 1963 they switched to stainless steel pans. At the end of the eighties, the company, which had merged with Beccon Doetinchem, was taken over by Koninklijke van Kempen en Begeer. The premium brand Berk Kampen has since left Kampen, but has had a major influence on her, including in the spatial planning of the city. The former factory is being demolished and the land is now "a high-quality residential area". The watchman's house and the former director's house are the only ones left. The outer walls of the former director's house have been completely restored, with a glass construction slid inside. The building now serves as an office building. There was also a building, located on the Oudestraat corner of Karpersteeg that had the name "Groningertoren". A photo of this building with the name still on it can be seen in the city museum. The building dates from around 1600, and was built on the city wall that is still visible in some places in Kampen.

Gazeuse, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks
The Siebrand company was founded in 1920, following the wrecked ship West Aleta with Portuguese wine. The manager of the company, Jan-Willem Siebrand, had managed to get hold of a barrel of wine for 200 guilders. He poured these into bottles and lost them the same day. He then founded a company dedicated to the production of aerated and alcoholic beverages. Until 1965 this company was located on the Groenestraat in Kampen. Then it moved to the other side of the IJssel, to IJsselmuiden. It is now one of the largest wine manufacturers in the Netherlands with 60 employees.


Military History

Kampen originally had city walls around the entire city. In the 14th century, the city wall on the landward side was moved from the Burgel to where the Ebbingestraten now run. It was also moved from where the Botervatsteeg runs today to the Hagenkade, in order to enclose the outer wall neighborhood "de Hagen". On the IJssel side, only the part along the Oudestraat, traditionally the street that ran along the IJssel, was moved to the Voorstraat, where part of the wall is still visible today. The Fortress Act of 1874 gave cities permission to demolish their fortresses in order to create more residential area, but Kampen was already forced to demolish its defenses in French times. Taxes were not or hardly levied - previously this was not necessary because of the income from the leases - and the maintenance of the defense could not be paid. In 1809 Louis Napoleon was therefore requested to be allowed to demolish the wall (on the IJssel side). This gave permission, as long as it could still serve as a flood defense. Parts of the wall on the IJssel side have not been demolished either, because housing and warehouses had been built next to it.


In 1812, the wall on the landward side was also allowed to be demolished. Demolition began then, but was not completed until the mid-1930s. Part of the rubble was used for breakwaters in the Keteldiep. Many of the large gates and all the small gates have also been killed. The Zwanenpoort was already demolished in 1803, in 1837 the Vispoort, which gave access to the bridge, in 1843 the Venepoort (on the south side) and in 1893 the Hagenpoort (officially to enable urban expansion, unofficially because the gutters had to be replaced, but this was not possible). After that, Kampen remained an important garrison town, due to the strategic location of Kampen at that time: on the IJssel, on the Zuiderzee and near a bridge of the IJssel, which was opened by an outside guard from 1600 to the middle of the 19th century. side of the IJssel was guarded. After all, a permanent bridge had existed on the site of the current City Bridge since 1448.

Until the seventies of the 20th century, Kampen had three barracks: one was the Van Heutsz barracks on the van Heutszplein on the Oudestraat. It housed an Art Academy until the beginning of the 21st century, before it moved to Zwolle under the name ArtEZ. Today the City Barracks houses the Kampen Library, Kampen City Archives and Radio IJsselmond located there. Another was the Koornmarkt Kazerne, where the KNIL housed, among other things, an officer training course. The Theological University of Kampen is currently located there. There was also a barracks on the Vloeddijk where an officer training could be followed, this building is now used by Quintus, center for art education. Since soldiers also grow old, there was also a home for soldiers on the Nieuwe Markt (this was a garden of the monks of the nearby Broederkerk in the Middle Ages).