Zutphen is one of the oldest cities in The Netherlands, because it has been inhabited for more than 1700 years. Zutphen arose in the Roman era as a Germanic settlement. It was located on a river dune at the IJssel river. The city was popular among merchants, therefor grew fast and became one of the Hanseatic cities.
The wall around Zutphen was built in the 13th century. For some centuries the city had the right to strike coins, a very desirable right in those days. The 16th century was very hard for Zutphen. The day 17 november 1572 is known as the ‘Massacre of Zutphen’, hundreds of inhabitants were executed by the Spanish. In 1672 (known in The Netherlands as The Catastrophical Year) the city was again conquered, this time by the French.
In Zutphen you will still find a lot of traces from the successful mediaeval period, like the city wall with the town gate, the watch towers and beautiful churches. Therefor the city has the nickname ‘tower-city’. There are no modern high buildings, so you can see all the towers from far. Zutphen is also the anthroposophical centre of the east part of the Netherlands. About 10- 15 % of the inhabitants is anthroposophist. There are several schools, shops, shelters, healers and even a anthroposophical residential district inside the city.
The City Museum of Zutphen is a cultural historical museum. A big variety of objects will make the history alive. In the mediaeval cellar you will find the oldest comic strip of The Netherlands and also the oldest wristwatch of Europe! In the same building you can visit The Museum of Henriette Polak. She was born in Zutphen and the patron of Dutch figurative artists. You will see the story of her own remarkable life as well as a lot of art. The building itself is very beautiful, surrounded by a garden with orangery. www.museazutphen.nl
The Roman Walburgis Church was built in the 11th century. Some of those parts were saved and still visible. The very unique public chain library, The Librije, was added in the year 1561. In Europe you can only find one other library like this, In Italy. In the 17th and 18th century the library was only accessible for important people like vicars and councils. The books and stone pillars in the cellar are very special. On special occasions it’s possible to visit the Walburgis Church, join a guided tour inside the library and climb the tower for a stunning view all over Zutphen. www.walburgiskerk.nl
Herman Kip is better known under his nickname ‘Boer Kip’ (farmer Kip). He was born and raised, and also past away in a 19th century city farm where he took care of his sheeps and spend all his free time painting. This is now the location of Museum Boer Kip. He led a very introverted life and was definitely against modernisation, therefor the farm is still authentic, without toilet and no water supply. He painted almost all of the objects inside the farm like the cabinets, plates, wooden shoes and milk churns. Besides that he also made paintings, in a colourful child-like manner. www.museumboerkip.nl
The Geelvinck Music Museum is situated in a beautiful late mediaeval house in Zutphen. The sophisticated furnished rooms will take you back into the past. The collection shows very precious piano’s from the Dutch and European musical history, like the mahogany piano from the French Queen Marie Antoinette (1755-1793). At the backside of the Patrician house, on the attic, you will find a well-hidden Roman Catholic clandestine church. In those days it stores piano’s that are waiting to be restored. The museum also organise classical concerts. www.geelvinck.nl/en
Every year on the 3rd Sunday of September Zutphen organises The Chocolate Festival. There are demonstrations of making chocolates, cooking and painting with chocolate and making sculptures out of chocolate. In the restaurants you can eat specials meals with chocolate and even drink a chocolate-beer! All over the city you will find music and bands playing. www.chocoladefestival-zutphen.nl