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Kampen is a municipality, a city and an old Hanseatic city at the lower reaches of the river IJssel in the Dutch province of Overijssel.

KampenThe municipality of Kampen counts 50,073 inhabitants (January 1, 2010 in an area of approximately 162 km² (only a small part of this area consists of water). Kampen is located in the North West of Overijssel and is the largest city in this region. The city of Kampen itself counts 34,063 inhabitants.

Kampen has one of the best preserved old town centres of the Netherlands, including remains of the ancient city wall (of which three gates are still standing) and numerous churches. Also notable are the three bridges over the IJssel which connect Kampen with IJsselmuiden, and a windmill (d' Olde Zwarver).

Kampen is part of the province of Overijssel, a province in the mid-east of the Netherlands, situated between the provinces of Gelderland, Flevoland, Drenthe and Friesland.

The city of Kampen is situated at the mouth of the river IJssel. Opposite Kampen, along the IJssel, lies IJsselmuiden, which is the second largest town of the municipality Kampen.

The municipality of Kampen has five other population centers: Grafhorst, 's-Heerenbroek, Kamperveen, Wilsum and Zalk.


Middle Ages
By 1150, there were already wooden buildings on the site where Kampen is currently located. The name Kampen, however, is not mentioned until 1277. The city has had city rights since 1236. As a result of its convenient location on the busy trade route between the Zuiderzee and the Rhine, Kampen quickly developed from simple settlements into a prosperous trading town, to become one of the most powerful and leading cities of northwestern Europe. In the 14th century, Kampen exchanged with the bishop of Utrecht, Jan van Arkel, the Mastenbroek polder against the right to increase the IJsseldelta.

The bogging down of the IJssel brought a gradual end to the prosperity of Kampen from 1430 on. For a long time Kampen did not want to sign a union and make economic and political concessions to other cities, as was usual in the Hanseatic League. When the County of Holland went to war with the Hanseatic League this situation came to an end: the city was forced to choose a side in the war. Kampen was originally more oriented toward the Baltic trade and commerce with the hinterland of the Rhine, and therefore in 1441 formally joined the Hanseatic League. The city had much influence in the League; despite loud protests from the other towns in lower reaches of the IJssel and from other Hanseatic cities, the League agreed in 1448 to build a bridge over the river. This project was accomplished in just five months. With this bridge Kampen hoped to be able to develop closer relationships with the hinterland.

On 11 August 1572 Kampen was conquered from the Spaniards by Willem van den Bergh, a brother of William of Orange. After the massacre of Zutphen on 15 November, the city voluntarily surrendered to the Spanish. In 1578, the city changed ownership again after the Siege of Kampen, led by George van Lalaing. Due to its right to increase the IJsseldelta, Kampen was owner of the growing Kampereiland. From 1500 the islands were leased. The rents were so large that the city did not need to raise taxes.

The Franco-Dutch War, fought by the Republic of the United Netherlands against the Kingdom of France, Sweden, the Bishopric of Münster, the Archbishopric of Cologne and the Kingdom of England, marked a definitive end to the enormous power of the city.

Kampen only became well known again in the 19th century. The city was difficult to reach from the sea, because the surrounding wetlands were bogged down and shallow. During the preceding centuries, the watercourse of the river IJssel was dredged several times, but the costs were relatively high and within a few years, the river bogged down again. As the IJssel had several delta-like mouths here, the main route of the river shifted several times. In the 19th century, a new strategy was put in place to counter this problem: some watercourses were dammed to allow for more water at a higher speed through one or two main routes. This had the advantage that less sand and silt were deposited and resulted in a river course that "swept itself clean". A key figure in this story is city architect Nicolaas Plomp, who, besides his work for the current IJssel front of the city of Kampen, was also involved in hydraulic engineering. Due to the emerging industry in the 19th century and the importance of roads and railways for the economy, highways and paved roads were constructed to replace transportation over sand and mud roads.

Historical buildings and other landmarks
Kampen has a large number of old to very old buildings, including remains of the ancient city wall (whose city gates are still standing) and the Church of St Nicholas (Bovenkerk). The structure of the walled fortress city is still visible in the streets.

Significant structures include:

*  The Koornmarktpoort: a city gate located near the river IJssel which probably dates from the 14th century. In the 15th century two squat towers were added at the outer corners.
*  The Broederpoort: a rectangular city gate with four slender towers, originally from 1465, rebuilt in Renaissance style in 1615
*  The Cellebroederspoort: a rectangular city gate, flanked by two heavy round towers, originally from 1465, rebuilt in 1617 in Renaissance style
*  The Stedelijk Museum Kampen: located in the former town hall of Kampen, which dates from the late 14th century
*  The Gotisch huis: built around 1500. This was the location of the Stedelijk Museum Kampen before it moved to its current location in the old town hall.
*  The Nieuwe Toren: a tower with a carillon designed by Philips Vingboons and dating from 1648-1664
*  The Church of St. Nicholas (Bovenkerk): a great Gothic basilica dating from the 14th and 15th centuries. The interior of the church houses an early-Renaissance choir screen (1552), a stone pulpit (circa 1500) and a monumental organ from 1670-1676.
*  The Broederkerk: a 14th-century church which originally belonged to a Franciscan monastery
*  The Buitenkerk: a 14th-century church
*  The Burgwalkerk: a neoclassical 19th-century church
*  A windmill called d'Olde Zwarver, built in 1842
*  A monastery gate dating from 1165 called Linnenweverspoortje
*  The city auditorium (Stadsgehoorzaal), dating from 1891
*  An old tobacco factory, De Olifant, where cigars are still made with 19th-century equipment. De Olifant cigars are sold in the shop and guided tours are available.

Throughout the town of Kampen, there are colorful murals which are in fact old commercials for now-defunct business in Kampen. These murals, which include Art Nouveau influences, were made by local artists and are now referred to as "frescoes of the middle class". As a result of current municipal policy, wherever these murals are discovered under old plaster, they are restored to their former glory.

A number of better of lesser known people with a certain connection with Kampen is honoured with a commemorative stone bearing their name and a single-sentence characterization of their personality or achievements, incorporated into the pavement of the Oude Raadhuisplein (formerly Koeplein), the square in between the old town hall, the former Post Office and Nieuwe Toren.


The Koornmarktspoort is city gate in Kampen, Overijssel, the Netherlands. It was originally part of the city wall and is the oldest of the Kampen city gates.
The central block and gate are fourteenth century and the two towers facing the river are probably from a later date. The rear of the building opens on the Koornmarkt (wheat market square), and the front faces the river IJssel.

New Tower

The Nieuwe Toren (New Tower) is located at the Oudestraat in the city of Kampen. This Carillon tower was built in the period between 1649-1664 partly according to a design by Philips Vingboons.[1] The lower brick-built part was erected by the Edam mill maker (Master carpenter) Dirck Janzn. The design for the lantern was made by Philips Vingboons, which may have originally been intended for the Town hall now the Royal Palace of Amsterdam. The construction work went through many setbacks, the work even came to a standstill during the period 1655-1660.

Upper Church

The Bovenkerk (Upper Church, also known as the Church of St. Nicholas) in Kampen is a large, Gothic church and the most striking element on the skyline of Kampen. The interior of the church contains an early-Renaissance choir screen, a stone pulpit and a monumental organ. The church has 1,250 seats. It is a Reformed church

The construction of the church took place in several phases:
    Construction of a Romanesque church (12th century)
    Construction of Early Gothic church (last quarter of 13th century)
    Church gets a basilica choir (last quarter of 14th century)
    Plan for a basilica nave fails (early 15th century)
    The construction is completed (second half 15th century)

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