A waterside terrace in Harderwijk
Harbour of Harderwijk, Harderwijk © Jurjen Drenth

Hanseatic cities in the Veluwe region

The Dutch Hanseatic cities, founded in an era when Amsterdam was little more than a small village, served the purpose of expanding trade and sharing knowledge. Due to their importance for transport, they are mostly located on the water and have a long history, beautiful merchants’ houses and historic gables.

Their history is reflected everywhere in the Hanseatic cities and the Hanseatic mentality is still present today. The Hanseatic League was an association of cities that supported each other at a time when there was hardly any jurisdiction and piracy, robbery and murder made trading trips dangerous endeavours. The Hanseatic League became a powerful alliance in the Middle Ages. Around 200 cities from Russia to France were part of the Hanseatic League. There are nine Hanseatic cities in total, three of which we will introduce in more detail.

View from above of the Daendelshuis and the Dutch Bakery Museum in Hanseatic town Hattem
Hattem © Jurjen Drenth


Quaint Hattem has a glorious past. Its picturesque city centre is home to richly detailed merchant houses, impressive city walls and gates. The city wall even features a windmill dating from 1852, which is still in operation and open on Saturdays. Walk through the Dijkpoort into town and look up: the gate itself dates back to the 14th century and the towers on top were designed by the famous architect Pierre Cuijpers.


As one of the oldest Hanseatic cities, Harderwijk established connections with other European cities early on. Around 1280, the ambitious little town on the former Zuiderzee became a member of the German Hanseatic League. Just under 40 years later, Harderwijk was even granted its own trading post on the Swedish peninsula of Schonen and more and more merchants and sailors came to Harderwijk to trade and spend the cold winter months. Thus, Harderwijk soon grew into an international city.

Blue sky with white clouds, lively street

Harderwijk © Jurjen Drenth

A picturesque view of Hanseatic Elburg with houses and trees.
Historic centre, Elburg © Hetty van Oijen


Walk through the beautiful 15th-century Vischpoort and discover the fortified fishing town of Elburg! You immediately imagine yourself in a rich trading past. It is impossible to get lost: the street plan is unique. Straightforward yet endearingly picturesque. During your walk, make sure to glance down at the characteristic cobblestone pavements: former inhabitants used white and black cobblestones to create motifs on their pavements. Some are centuries old.

Staying overnight in the Hanseatic cities?

When you visit the Hanseatic cities, time flies by. So where will you stay overnight? These are the best places to stay in the Hanseatic cities.