The municipality Doetinchem has the highest population density in The Achterhoek. The city Doetinchem was first mentioned in the year 838. Archaeological studies prove that in the area were Doetinchem is situated people have been living for more than 11.000 years! During excavations they found skulls, ceramics and arrows made out of Flintstone coming from the prehistory. They also found Roman coins.
During The eighty Years War the city got conquered several times. In 1672 most of the medieval city wall was torn down. After the French Period, a very thriving time for the city, the medieval town gates also disappeared. In 1881 Doetinchem got his first steam tramway. It was the beginning of the company called GSTM (later GTW) ‘Geldersche Stoomtramweg Maatschappij’. In august 1957 the last ride was made.
At the end of World War II the city was struck by probably the biggest catastrophe they had ever known. On the 19th, 21st and 23rd of March 1945 the British Airforce bombed the historical centre of the city by accident. The original goals were the German places Anholt and Isselburg, situated on the IJssel river the same way as Doetinchem. That must have been the reason for the confusion, which destroyed most of the inner-city.
In The City Museum of Doetinchem you can explore more about the city. It’s located in the old post office from 1920, the Amsterdam School style of architecture. There are some themed rooms, paintings and archaeological discoveries. www.stadsmuseumdoetinchem.nl
In The Museum of Public Transport and Toys you can see a valuable collection about transportation by bus, tramway and train over the years. There are also uniforms, tickets, pictures and movies to watch. The antique toy collection is displayed in a lovely little toyshop from 1900. www.ovsm-doetinchem.nl
Castle Slangenburg is beautifully situated just outside Doetinchem. The estate has a huge park, very nice for a stroll. If you prefer a peaceful surrounding to study, paint, write or read you can book one of the rooms inside the castle. www.kasteelslangenburg.nl
In Doetinchem is the start of one of the ‘Wooden Shoes Trail’ Het Ganderpad. It’s a circular walk of 13km, beginning and finishing at a tavern. The trails are mostly unpaved and through farmland. I have walked this route myself, enjoyed it a lot!
Castle The Kelder is available for private dinners, party’s, weddings and receptions. Every year during Pentecost the castle organizes the Medieval Feast. In the winter you can listen to the midwinterhorn or watch a traditional slip hunting. The castle is situated in a beautiful forest, called the Kruisbergse woods. www.kasteeldekelder.nl
Awesome for children is the swimming pool and skyzone from The Rozengaarde. In the skyzone you will find the Superjump, Softplay, Speed Soccer Arena, Crazyclimb, Active Cage and a High Rope Course. www.rozengaarde.nl
The Party Centre Doetinchem offers a lot of activities and arrangements. Laser questing, bowling and escape rooms for children and adults. There is also a bistro inside the building. www.partycentrum-doetinchem.nl
Doetinchem is the location of Soccer Club The Graafschap, the club from The Achterhoek. The soccer stadium is called ‘The Vijverberg’. The fans call themselves the Fantastic Farmers, well-known for their easy-going spirit. www.degraafschap.nl
For a long time Doetinchem was very well known for the weekly Cattle Market. Maps of the Land Registry shows that there were already markets with animals for sale in 1832. In the year 1880 a committie was formed to research the possibilities for a steady cattle market. It was officially aproved in 1882. From then there was a monthly cattle market, occasionally a market with horses. From 1908 there was a cattle market twice a month, the weekly pig market was behind the church in the centre of Doetinchem, until 1910. After that all the animals were sold from the market on the Houtkamp.
After World War II the cattle market was organized every Tuesday. Because the interest kept growing and to create a roof for the small livestock (goats and sheep) they build a large market hall, which was opened in 1957. On good days more than 130.000 animals were trade! It was very nice to see the cattle traders making a deal by handclapping. My own grandfather went to the cattle market very often. Because of the Food-and-Mouth disease in the ’90’s it was forbidden to transport animals through the country, the cattle market in Doetinchem was temporary closed. After this crisis all the rules got so strict that continuing was impossible. On the 30th of October 2001, after 120 years, the cattle market was closed for good. For a while the Market Hall kept existing for events. In 2008 the remarkable building was demolished to make place for houses instead. On the original place of the market you will find a statue of two cattle traders.