The former Hanseatic trading town of Hatem on the IJssel was granted city rights as early as 1299. The Andresk Caves here have older elements, such as a 13th-century Romanesque tower and baptistery.
It won’t take long to investigate Hatem’s protected cityscape, a small historic pedestrian street that converges on Markt Square.
This pocket-sized square features restaurants, 17th-century houses and a Renaissance town hall.
Some of Hattem’s charm comes from its local museums, which are full of character and cover topics including the town’s history, treasured illustrator Anton Pieck, and the art of baking.
In Hattem you can enjoy outdoor recreation at the north-eastern end of the scenic Veluwe region, while you can use the banks of the IJssel river to cycle to other Hanseatic towns.
1. Wollman Museum
Housed in two historic houses, the Voerman Museum documents different aspects of Hattem’s past, from art to archaeology.
At the center here are the landscape painter Jan Voerman (1857-1941) and his son Jan Voerman jr. (1890-1976), beloved for his illustrations and lithographs.
Both exhibited numerous works in the museum and were exhibited by other local artists such as the Neo-Impressionist painter Jo Koster (1868-1944) and the sculptor Bé Thoden van Velzen (1903-1984). There are also some interesting artifacts, from the city’s Hanseatic era to the era of the military figure Herman Willem Daendels (1762-1818). The archaeological section has a near-perfect beaker and bowl from the Neolithic beaker culture, found in a tomb in 2012.
2. Anton Pique Museum
Next door is the museum of the beloved painter and graphic artist Anton Pieck (1895-1987). Pique’s work has a very approachable cartoon style, depicting fairy tales and 19th century homes and street scenes.
In 1952 he designed the Fairy Tale Forest, the first attraction to open at the popular Efteling theme park in Kaatsheuvel.
His association with the park continued into the 1970s.
The museum at Achterstraat was opened by Princess Margaret in 1984, and in one corner of the hall you can see the desks and drawing boards that Pique has used over the years, along with a large vintage etching machine.
These are accompanied by dozens of original works by Peek, and are regularly rotated and swapped to keep the exhibition fresh.
3. Bakkerij Museum
The largest bakery museum in the Netherlands is located in three national monuments on Kerkhofstraat.
Connected by tunnels under the street, the buildings include a truly historic bakery dating back 150 years.
Here you can delve into the fascinating history of baking and pastry making.
There’s a range of baking utensils here, from scales to jars, molds and peels, that span the centuries.
By appointment, you can also roll up your sleeves and experience the work of a master baker in person, or watch a special demo at the Museum Theater, scheduled on the website.
You can’t resist entering the nostalgic museum shop, decorated like a 19th century bakery.
4. Groth of Andreesque
The church on Hatem’s main square, Markt, is a Romanesque building from the 13th century.
The only structure at the time was the square tower, which had a pair of round arched window openings instead of the later spiked windows in the aisles and choirs, built in the 14th and 15th centuries.
Unlike the hall churches of Deventer and Zwolle, Andreaskerk consists of a central nave and lower north and south aisles.
Be sure to check out the mid-17th century booths carved for Hatem city officials such as magistrates, mayors and councillors.
The original church also has a 13th-century baptismal font made from a piece of Bentheimer sandstone that is still in use today.
The older of the two pipe organs, the Slegelorgel dates back to 1677, but comes with a 16th century casing and fine shutter paintings from 1662 and 1667.
5. City Hall
On the northern boundary of Hatham’s central square, the Town Hall has its origins in the 14th-century Hospice of the Holy Spirit.
It was then redesigned in the 1620s, when it was integrated with the former Waag (market weighing room) and given a Renaissance look.
A lovely little detail in the corner is a white lantern, while Hatem’s coat of arms sits on a panel above the cornice.
Just in front of the town hall, there is a working water pump dating from 1776, next to the Hatten Tourist Information Centre in another 17th century monument.
6. De Dijkpoort van Hattem
Hattem’s last surviving medieval gate protects the north entrance to the old center.
This was proposed in the 14th century, and if you step out of the gate, you will see a fragment of an old wall connected to another, younger gate.
This still has openings for cannons and arquebuses.
Look up at the gate and you’ll see the brickwork change hue towards the top.
This is because in 1908, when the gate was converted into Hattem’s city archives, leading Dutch neo-Gothic architect Pierre Cuypers added the roof and corner towers.
The building is now used for arts and crafts exhibitions, and is accessible on Saturdays from 11:00-15:00, following a narrow spiral staircase up to the third floor for a superb view of Hattem.
7. Molen de Fortuin
Hattem’s beautiful workwear factory dates back to 1852 and was built to replace another factory on the site, which was bombed in 1808. In fact, the factory lines in this place date back to the Middle Ages.
In Dutch it is called stellingmolen (gallery mill) and is used to describe the wooden ledge above the brick base of the mill.
After restoration in the early 1970s, the plant is in full operation and is open on Saturdays from 13:30 to 16:30. You stop to meet a member of a volunteer mill guild and watch two pairs of stones grind again.
There is a shop on the ground floor that sells homemade flour and artisan cake mixes.
At Kerkhofstraat 11-13 you will see the home of one of Hattem’s most famous sons.
It is safe to say that Herman Willem Daendels (1762-1818) had a busy career.
In 1786, he defended Hatem for the revolting Patriot army, then fled to France and took part in the Revolution, before returning to Holland in 1794 as a general of the French Revolutionary Army.
In 1812, he participated in Napoleon’s Russian campaign, but not before he was stationed on the island of Java as governor of the Dutch East Indies.
Daendelhuis is a gabled building with mullioned windows, built in 1619, and worth a visit if you’re a student of European history.
In case you forgot, the provincial capital is just 5 minutes from Hattem across the IJssel, in the heart of a circle of canals.
Zwolle was a commercial city that grew up at about the same time as Hatem and, like its neighbors, was a member of the medieval Hanseatic League.
The highlight of the city is its well-preserved center, which exudes historical wealth ignited by trade, and is still governed by the mighty Sassenpoort (Saxon Gate) from the early 15th century.
Zwolle was later fortified as a star fort, and it is not difficult to see the outline of the fort and the moat on the map.
Take a flight to visit the 74-meter high Peperbustoren (Pepper Mill Tower) of Notre Dame Cathedral and the Sint-Michaëlskerk Grote, a splendid late-Gothic hall church
10. Dino Landswaller
South of Zwolle, this dinosaur-themed attraction is open in spring and summer and is accessible by car or bus from Hatten.
Over 100 full-scale models lurk in the tree-lined landscaped park, recreating dinosaurs from the Permian to the Cretaceous.
Inside, T. Rexpeditie is an interactive exhibit with many engaging activities, all centered around the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
At Paleolab, kids can feel like real paleontologists, and there are plenty of other things kids can do, like mini golf, laser tag, and a climbable playground.
11. Outdoor Activities
Hattem is located on the northeastern edge of the Veluwe, a forest and heather-covered dune ridge that extends south to Arnhem, 60km.
This countryside shatters many people’s perceptions of the Dutch countryside and is a pleasure to explore on foot or by bike via the klompenpad (clog trail).
Cyclists can see the many sights on the IJssel via the Hanseatic Route, which stops at the water’s edge in well-preserved cities, many of which are still intact since the trading days of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
For boat trips, canoeing, kayaking and pedal boats, as well as a variety of land-based activities such as mountain biking or archery, find Hattem-based adventure company Vadesto.
12. Weekend Market
Get a taste of Hattem’s small-town atmosphere at the weekly market in Stadslaan every Wednesday from 13:00 to 17:00. It’s not a large-scale commercial event, but there are a decent number of stalls selling cheese, poultry, sweets, flowers, fruits and vegetables, nuts, dried fruit, preserves and other items such as clothing, fashion accessories and household items.
These are sold from specialist vans and trailers that circumnavigate the centre and east of the Netherlands, making stops in other mid-sized towns such as Blumen, Wezep and Thiel.
Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Hatem, Netherlands
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