5 things you have to do when in Deventer

5 things you have to do when in Deventer

This year, why not explore beyond the well-known cities of Amsterdam and Utrecht. There are plenty of Dutch gems to discover! Deventer has a lot going on, a trip to this city won’t leave you disappointed. Here are five things you should definitely try to fit into your trip.

1. Let your inner bookworm out

Deventer is full of beautiful books shops, not just the bog-standard ones you see at stations, no, ones with a real, classic feel. We bet those books smell amazing- don’t judge us! One particular shop you should stop by is Gedrukt & Geknipt voor u- it’s an antiquarian bookshop and has about around 35.000 books at two locations diagonally across from each other. The shop specialises in popular novels, history and sport and also has plenty of postcards and clippings for you to get excited about.

Another bookstore worth a visit is De Kameleon, close by Gedrukt & Geknipt voor u. This treasure-trove has 15.000 titles for you to get lost in and a large print collection. Don’t forget to head on over to the book paradise that is Praamstra- you can look forward to a collection of 50.000 books, and you don’t have to just buy new either, as they also sell second-hand books. The shop has been located in the city centre for more than 120 years!

So, visit these bookstores to let your inner bookworm out, but don’t spend your whole day in them, as there is plenty more to see and do! Next up, an activity that will show you Deventer from a whole new perspective…

2. Climb the Great Church tower

Once you’ve let your inner bookworm out, it’s time for some adventure and a whole new perspective on Deventer. How, you ask? By climbing the Lebuïnus church tower! But first, a little history…

The church has an impressively long history, first being built in 768AD by the English missionary Lebuinus. Back then, it was only a small wooden church. The church has been destroyed, rebuilt and damaged by fire plenty of times. It got its current Gothic architecture look between 1450 and 1525AD. In 1580, it got taken over by the Calvinists, they stripped it of its interior decoration and renamed it the Great Church. Today, the temple part belongs to the Protestant Church of the Netherlands and the tower belongs to the municipality.

So, now you know that, how do you go about climbing the tower? Head to the church shop to get a ticket - just 2,50 euros for adults. The shop is only open until 3.30pm, so don’t be late. Take note, you can only climb the tower stairs from April to October and only on Saturday afternoons from 1pm until 4pm. The tower is also open during school holidays in this period from 1pm until 4pm. For special events like European Heritage Days and Deventer Book Market, the tower is also open.

Photo: Erwin Doorn 

3. Fill up on yummy Deventer cake

Climbing all those stairs has probably got you hungry. Well then, it’s a good thing that Deventer is home to Deventer koek a.k.a. Deventer cake! There’s a reason Deventer has the nickname “cake city”, it’s been famous for this cake for 600 years already.

The history of the cake goes back to the medieval times, to 1417 even, when a decree stated, in detail, how the cake should look shape-wise and how much the large and small cakes should weigh- serious business. The decree meant that no one outside of Deventer could bake the cake, which had to be baked according to municipal instructions and was rigorously checked.

The only business baking real Deventer koek, according to a centuries-old, secret recipe, is Jb Bussink, which has been around for more than 425 years. Pop on over to the Bussink Deventer cake shop at Brink 84 to try this treasure of a cake.

4. Get sporty at De Scheg

If you love sports, or you simply want to exercise off all that cake you’ve just eaten, De Scheg is THE place to be! De Scheg is home to not only a swimming pool paradise but also an awesome ice skating rink! Double Whammy! What’s more, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to go, an adult swimming pass is only 8,90 – 9,50 euros. Want to add a visit to the saunas, steam room and Jacuzzi? It’ll only cost you an additional 4,50 euros- bargain!

Don’t fancy a dip? Go ice-skating on the 400-metre rink and let the kids play at the winter playground. Entry is only 8,05 euros for adults and you can hire skates from 6 euros. Make sure you take a look at the opening times, as they differ per day.

5. Quench your thirst with a local beer

Why not finish your day with a local beer? It’s been a busy day, with all that climbing, swimming and skating, so quench your thirst with a locally brewed beer! Head on over to DAVO Bieren in the Sluisstraat and get your drink on! The beers are made according to the “3-pint-rule”, a rule that ensures you still want to take another sip after three beers.

Is your stomach growling? They also have an assortment of delicious bar snacks and dinners like juicy burgers, fish and chips, and spare ribs. Back to the booze, they also offer beer tastings at just 12,50 euros per person on Saturdays at 4pm or 5.30pm. During the tasting, which takes 1,5 hours, you’ll learn about the history of DAVO and how it came to be, how beer is made and you'll get to see the brewing kettles. Of course, all of this will be done whilst you enjoy three different DAVO beers – included in the price!

When’s your trip to Deventer planned?

We hope we’ve inspired you to venture further afield and get acquainted with lovely Deventer. There is simply so much to see and do there, it has to be on your bucket list of cities to visit in the Netherlands! So, when is your trip to this awesome Dutch city planned? We want to hear from you, so let us know in the comments below!

Mina Solanki


Mina Solanki

Completed her Master's degree at the University of Groningen and worked as a translator before joining IamExpat. She loves to read and has a particular interest in Greek mythology. In...

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