The city of Kampen, which boasts one of the best preserved old city centres in the Netherlands, dates back to the 12th century. Its position close to the mouth of the Ijssel River (which flowed into the Zuider Zee) gave it sheltered anchorage and as such, it became a trading centre. It received city rights in 1236 and which joined the Hanseatic League in 1441. The city suffered a decline from about 1600 onwards due to the Ijssel silting up. In the 19th century, partial damming of the river resulted in the river's stream becoming more concentrated and scouring the silt enabling it to re-establish itself as a port.
During the 19th century, a cigar industry became established, but after the Second World War, with the advents of cigarettes this industry collapsed.
You can get to Kampen by train by heading for Zwolle. There you will have to switch to a train heading for Kampen. Make sure that you take the right train, as Kampen has two stations bearing its name: 1 Kampen, which is the main station, and 2 Kampen Zuid, which serves Kampen's suburbs and is located on a different line. Make sure that you use the train heading for Kampen, and not the one heading for Kampen Zuid and Lelystad.
Kampen can be reached by bus using lines 141 when coming from Zwolle, Emmeloord or Urk, line 143 when coming from Dronten or Lelystad. The Hanzeliner (line 330) does stop in Kampen, however unlike lines 141 and 143, it does not stop at the Kampen train station, but instead at the Carpool Parking N50 at the city's edge.
Kampen lies by the N50, which can be reached by using the A6 up to Emmeloord, where you turn onto the N50 at Knooppunt Emmeloord. This is the best route when leaving from the Western Netherlands (Amsterdam, Schiphol, The Hague) or the Northern Netherlands (Leeuwarden, Groningen).
When coming from the East (including Germany) or the South (including Belgium), head for Arnhem, where, once having reached the city, you turn onto the A50 heading for Apeldoorn and Zwolle. At Knooppunt Hattemerbroek, just before Zwolle, you continue driving on the same highway, which becomes the N50, which will get you straight to Kampen.
Kampen has many old and very old buildings, amongst which are the remains of the gates through the old city wall (Koornmarktspoort, Cellebroederspoort and Broederspoort), as well as the Bovenkerk or, as it is more commonly known, the Sint-Nicolaaskerk. The outlines of the city wall is still easily visible in the fortifications and street lay-out.
- 1 Koornmarktspoort. A city gate by the Ijssel dating back to 1465. It has been rebuilt in Renaissance-style in 1615.
- 2 Broederpoort. A city gate to the west of the old city dating back to the 1460s, also being rebuilt around 1615. The gate has four small towers on its corners.
- 3 Cellebroederspoort. A city gate to the southwest of the old city with two big circular towers, dating back to 1565. It too was rebuilt to fit the Renaissance-style in 1617.
- 4 Former city hall and City Museum, Oudestraat 133. The former town hall now houses the City Museum. The building dates back to the 15th century.
- 5 Nieuwe Toren (New Tower). This tower equipped with carillon, built between 1648 and 1664 is an amazing sight, designed by Philips Vingboons.
- 6 Sint Nikolaaskerk (aka Bovenkerk). The Sint Nikolaaskerk is a large basilica dating back to the 14th and 15th century. Part of the interior are a choir screen (1552), a stone pulpit (ca. 1500) and a monumental organ (1670s).
- 7 Broederkerk. The Broederkerk is a 14th-century hall church that used to belong to a Franciscan monastery and which passed into control of the Protestant in 1581. It is home to the city's Protestant community.
- 8 Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (aka Buitenkerk). The Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk (or Buitenkerk) is another hall church that was created due to rebuilding of a fourteenth century church. It is home to the city's Roman Catholic community.
- 9 Kamper Tabaksmuseum (Tobacco Museum). Visiting is by arrangement only.
- 10 Tobacco factory De Olifant. The tobacco factory De Olifant still produces cigars with 19th-century machines. Tours of the factory are available (daily except Sundays at 14:00).
- Throughout the city centre of Kampen you will find tens of painted wall adverts. These refer to many shops in Kampen, of which most no longer exist. These colourful murals have Jugendstil influences. The murals are referred to as the frescoes of the middle class.
- The Kamperui(t)dagen is a large fair taking place for multiple (4-5) Thursdays in the summer months. It is ended with a firework show. The last (or second-to-last) weekend before Christmas the festival Kerst in Oud Kampen takes place, with sung and dance routines aimed at recreating the atmosphere of the 19th century.
|Routes through Kampen|
|Arnhem ← Zwolle ←||S N||→ Schokland|