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A city steeped in history TEXT: CHARLOTTE VAN HEK | PHOTOS: HANZESTAD DOESBURG
In the city of Doesburg, history and culture collide in the best possible way. The picturesque Hansa town on the River IJssel exudes the atmosphere of a medieval town, yet boasts a true sense of liveliness; making it a place to be admired and discovered. It does not really matter where you find yourself in Doesburg: every narrow alley or cosy square of this historic fortified town is more beautiful than the previous one. “The whole of the town feels like an attraction,” says city promoter Niels Weijers. “The medieval buildings and more than 150 monuments take you back centuries.” For the first mentioning of Doesburg we have to go back to 1053, when the city’s name first appears in a legal document. It was granted city rights in 1237 – a full 60 years before the same honour was conferred on Amsterdam. Doesburg is a prominent Hansa town, meaning it was part of the Hanseatic League: an alliance of various Dutch cities formed to expand commerce in the 14th and 15th century. Hansa towns are mostly found by impor36 | Issue 45 | September 2017
tant waters and are hallmarked by a rich history of wealth and prosperity.
bition about the life of one of the Netherlands’ most famous visual artists.
Yet history does everything but overshadow the present. With museums and galleries, unique boutiques, lively terraces and top-class restaurants, Doesburg has something to suit all tastes. Its town centre plays host to many cultural events and festivals throughout the year, such as the Hanzefeesten, Doesburgse Kadedagen and Doesburg Binnenste Buiten. Every first Sunday of the month, Doesburg transforms into the cultural capital of the region, when shops and galleries open their doors to admiring visitors. The countless cultural events happening this year even gained the title ‘Culture Year’.
The Mustard Factory underlines Doesburg’s quirky relation with mustard. This factory-turned-museum attracts over 10,000 visitors a year and allows them to see how the town’s famous mustard was made. “Mustard and Doesburg are interchangeably linked,” Weijers laughs. “Many restaurants in town have their own mustard dish.”
Do not miss the stunning Lalique Museum. Dedicated to artists René Lalique (1860 – 1945) – also called the Da Vinci of jewellery and glass art – this museum shows works from the Art Nouveau and Art Deco period. Until June 2018, the Lalique museum will host Jan Toorop & the animisme, an exhi-
Doesburg: where you walk through history, yet are immersed in the here and now.
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