Kuinre, Netherlands


Kuinre (Low Saxon: De Kuunder) is a town in the municipality of Steenwijkerland in the Dutch province of Overijssel. The inhabitants are called Kuundersen. Kuinre used to be located on the rivers Linde and Kuinder, which the Frisians called De Tsjonger and Stellingwervers called Kuunder.

The village was founded by fishermen, because they built houses on the spit of land between the two rivers. The estuary of both rivers was one of the best natural harbors in the Zuiderzee. Kuinre grew into a modest fishing and harbor town. The old harbor can still be visited in the Kuinderbos, which is located on the edge of the village. The habitation on the Hopweg in the forest and the campsite which is attached to Kuinre and opposite the forest, fall under Luttelgeest in terms of address, but are usually considered part of the village of Kuinre. For example, it can be said that Kuinre is also located in the province of Flevoland.



Kuinderburcht I

The oldest notes that mention Cuinder date from the early 12th century. At the end of the same century (between 1165-1197) a motte castle with a diameter of 30 meters, the Kuinderburcht I, was built just outside the village as a support point for the bishop of Utrecht.

The castle soon came into the hands of 'Heynric die Crane', the Lord of Kuinre and ministerial to the bishop of Utrecht. Heynric die Crane was expected to guard the castle and supervise the exploitation in the surrounding area, which was about the size of the current Noordoostpolder. During this time the bishop of Utrecht fought with William I, Count of Holland, to obtain as much land as possible. Kuinre fiercely opposed the authority of William I, but in 1197 the castle was destroyed and the Lord of Kuinre expelled.

Eventually Willem I and the bishop of Utrecht, Dirk van Are, came to an agreement and Heynric de Crane got his - destroyed - castle and his rights back in 1204. A new castle was built, also a moth castle with a diameter of 30 meters . This castle consisted of a brick ring wall with sparing arches, founded on steps of wood. The castle was built further inland to avoid the influence of the greedy Zuiderzee. The land calmed down due to the tides and storms on the Zuiderzee. Remains of the castle were found when the Noordoostpolder was built and the area was drained. The castle of Kuinre was reconstructed in 1946 and has been on display in the Kuinderbos ever since.



Over the years it became clear that from this location the routes to and from the IJssel estuary could be controlled, as well as the rivers Kuunder and Linde (on which no doubt tolls were levied). The Lords of Kuinre, who kept the lordship on loan from the bishop of Utrecht, soon turned to a more independent policy: it became a pirate's nest. In the 14th century they were repeatedly guilty of piracy, and raided and plundered the merchant ships sailing across the Zuiderzee. It is known that many Hanseatic cities such as Zwolle, Kampen, Deventer or Stavoren complained about these misconduct. Counterfeit money was also believed to have been used. Imitating the coins of more powerful princes.

The Lords of Kuinre were known as the worst pirates of the Northern Netherlands, comparable to robber barons such as Zweder van Bentheim, Herbrun van Putten ('the scourge of the Veluwe') and Zweder van Voorst. The castle was also in an extremely strategic location with regard to the Hanseatic routes to the Baltic Sea area. It is known that merchants from countries such as Danzig (Gdansk) and Hamburg were often brought in and locked up for ransom at the castle in Kuinre.

Ultimately, the Lords of Kuinre lost their position of power. The bishop of Utrecht wanted to secure his territorial power, and for that the possession of the castle and the manor of Kuinre was of great importance. In 1395 the bishop of Utrecht had forced the rebellious lord van Coevorden to his knees during a campaign. Lord Herman III van Kuinre felt the humiliation coming and sold the kuinder castle and surroundings to the bishop of Utrecht in 1407. The castle was handed over to an episcopal innkeeper.


Kuinderburcht II

In the second half of the 14th century, the Lords of Kuinre had to give up their old castle again. The wetting and salinization of the environment must have played a role in this. The old castle was replaced in 1378 by a new castle (also a motte castle), the Kuinderburcht II, on the other bank of the river Kuunder.

About the same time as the construction of Kuinderburcht II, Kuinre entered a period of growth (around 1450). A butter weigh house was built (1775), where much was traded in butter and piglets. Many centuries later, the building also served as a town hall, and was given the status of a national monument. Initially, the Kuinre was an independent municipality, but was merged into IJsselham in 1973. Since 2001, Kuinre has been part of the Steenwijkerland municipality.

Despite the prosperity, people also faced disaster. At the end of the 15th century, the Zuiderzee continued to advance in a northeasterly direction. The new castle was often damaged as a result of storms in the Zuiderzee.


Years of struggle for the castle also followed between the Duke of Gelre and the Bishop of Utrecht (between 1510 and 1527). Charles V was called upon to calm this quarrel; which only acted on the condition that he was recognized as lord. A few years before that, Charles V was recognized as lord of Friesland. As a result, the castle of Kuinre was no longer on the border of two areas, with different sovereigns. It lost its strategic role and not much later the castle was dismantled. Remnants of this were later swallowed up by the increasingly rising Zuiderzee.

The Kuinderschans was constructed during the Eighty Years' War; one of the defenses along the Zuiderzee. Remains of habitation and graves were found when the construction of the Overhavendijk district started in 2005.



In 1825 almost all of Northwest Overijssel flooded and there were many victims. To protect the inhabitants of Kuinre, a lock was built to regulate the water level. A fan lock was also built in 1845 in the estuary of the Linde. This eliminated the abrasive effect of ebb and flow from the Zuiderzee; The port of Kuinre gradually silted up.

The death blow to the harbor and associated fisheries of the Kuinre came a few years later, and was brought about by the construction of the Afsluitdijk and the reclamation of the Zuiderzee in 1942. The original Zuiderzee works referred to a lock in Kuinre, which meant that the Zuiderzee Act was guaranteed and the Kuinre was connected to an edge lake and thus connected to the open water. Due to cutbacks, this lock has become obsolete and the Kuinre became a forgotten village, sandwiched between the old and new land. The old lock was no longer of use and the Linde gradually changed into a stagnant, smelly water that was later partly filled in.

However, in the years that followed, the rise of water sports opened up new opportunities. The old lock was excavated and the restoration of the navigation route started. This created a connection between the Linde, the Kuunder, the Overijsselse lakes and the Frisian lakes, which was reopened in 1990.



Punter is the collective name for various types of small open flat-bottomed boats, especially developed for rivers, deltas and peat areas in the Netherlands, but seaworthy punts are also known. Punters are characterized by a nearly flat underside, straight, steeply sloping stems and angular frames. Punters are ships with an average length of 5 to 8 meters and a draft of around 10 centimeters. This makes them extremely suitable for swampy areas and they were used for transporting peat, reed and cows, among other things. However, the boats can also be used well in fishing, also in the Kuinre. The name often comes from the place or region where the type of boat came from, hence the name 'Kuunderpunter'.

Because the fishing industry came to an abrupt end due to the reclamation of the Zuiderzee, many boats were lost. Similarly, the KU-11. This oak punt with sail was built in 1912 for the Kuinder fisherman Kok in Vollenhove. As a result of the reclamation, the ship was sold to a holiday maker and after a number of wanderings it came to a standstill in Zwartsluis.

Fortunately, the ship was discovered and restored to its original state. For several years now, the ship has been owned by SKIP, the Kuinre In Promotion Foundation, which tries to maintain the cultural heritage. The KU-11 became the last Kuunderpunter that could still be restored, and is still sailing in the waters in Northwest Overrijssel.


The Kuundersfeest

Every three years, Kuinre celebrates the "Kuunderfeest" in September. The first Saturday of September is leading in this. The Tuesday before the first Saturday of September, the starting signal for the Kuunderfeest is given. Every street in Kuinre is decorated, the 5 most beautifully decorated streets receive a cash prize and the first prize is the 'most beautiful neighborhood' for three years. On Friday there is a parade that runs all over Kuinre. On Sunday, the Kuundersfeest will be closed on Waagplein.