Best Things To Do In Deventer

September 30, 2023In The Netherlands

Located in the eastern region of the Netherlands, Deventer is a small yet delightful city that often goes unnoticed by visitors. However, it is a perfect destination for those who love history, art, and culture. Take a visual tour with us through the picturesque streets of the well-preserved medieval old town, the narrow cobbled alleys, the lovely old houses, and the stunning churches that date back to the 13th century. Discover the top things to do in Deventer and see for yourself why this hidden gem is a must-visit.

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Quick Info

Best Reasons to Visit Deventer

  • Deventer is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It has a well-preserved medieval center with old-world charm.
  • Deventer's vibrant cultural scene includes music festivals, theater performances, and art exhibitions.
  • Deventer is a welcoming city with friendly locals and a relaxed atmosphere.

OUR Tips

  • Every Saturday, a vibrant market takes place at Brink Aquareat Deventer's old center. It's a perfect place to experience the local vibe.
  • Take a leisurely stroll down Walstraat and discover quaint little shops that offer unique items.
  • Do not miss Kleine Overstraat - another charming street, that is very colorful with a great atmosphere.

Deventer - An Overview

Where Is Deventer?

Deventer is situated in the Overijssel province, in the eastern region of the Netherlands, and approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes away from Amsterdam by car. This charming city is also an ideal location for a day trip from Utrecht and the Veluwe area.

The History of Deventer

Deventer’s history dates back to the 8th century when it was founded by a Frisian missionary. During the period spanning from the 11th to the 16th centuries, Deventer thrived as a trading hub due to its strategic location along the IJssel River which is deep enough to accommodate big ships. In 1285 Deventer became a member of the Hanseatic League and played a significant role in medieval commerce. You can still see the remnants of that rich heritage today in the town’s well-preserved architecture.

During the Renaissance period, Deventer became an important printing centre and the city is still known for its many bookstores and printing presses.

Top Things to Do in Deventer

There are plenty of historical sites and cultural attractions to check out. Here are the top recommended activities to do in Deventer :

Explore The Historical Center

When you arrive in Deventer’s old town, you’ll immediately feel its long history. The well-preserved architecture and narrow streets effortlessly transport you to a different era. Wander through the streets of the old town to take in its unique atmosphere.

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Deventer historical center

Get Lost In The Quaint Streets and Hidden Corners

Walking along the historic cobblestone streets, you will be charmed by the hidden corners and alleys. From local restaurant and cozy cafes to colorful murals and street art, as well as oftentimes quirky architecture, the quaint small streets offer a delightful experience.

The Old Town also offers its own unique shopping experience – with everything from vintage stores to charming boutiques, art galleries and artisan markets.

Take your time to explore these captivating streets. Get lost in the charm and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere that Deventer’s old town has to offer.

Discover Historical Buildings and Architectural Gems

Deventer’s old town is full of architectural treasures. From the iconic De Waag (the weight house) to the St Lebuinus church, Deventer offers multiple unique monuments, each one has its own story and is worth exploring further.

Deventer old town
Deventer old town

Uncover the Artistic Side

Deventer’s old town is a haven for art enthusiasts. Explore the galleries and creative spaces that are spread around the city. From traditional artworks to contemporary showcases, there is something for everyone who loves art.

Visit The Saturday Market

If you are in Deventer on a Saturday, make sure to check out the lively market that takes place in the city’s main square. This is a perfect place to get a taste of Dutch culture. Here, you can find fresh products, local street food, and artisanal items from the Netherlands and beyond.

You can also find a variety of flowers, plants, and seasonal items in the market.

Deventer Saturday market
Deventer - Ijssel River

Take a stroll along the IJssel River

Deventer is located on the banks of the IJssel River. Taking a walk along this scenic river provides an opportunity to admire the unique view of the old town. It’s worth taking some time to pack a picnic and enjoy the serenity of this beautiful area.

A Walking Route Of Deventer Old Town

Duration: Approximately 3-5 hours (depending on your pace and time spent at each location)

A Deventer Central Train Station

B Korte Bisschopstraat

C Walstraat and Bergkwartier

D De Waag

E Toy Museum

F Kleine Overstraat

G Lebuinuskerk

H IJssel River

A. Begin your walking tour at Deventer Central Train Station.- If you’re arriving by train, exit the station and head towards the city center.- If you’re arriving by car, a good option for parking is Centrumgarage Deventer. Alternatively, there are several parking lots close to the train station.

B. Korte Bisschopstraat: From the train station, head south on Singelstraat until you reach Korte Bisschopstraat. This lively street is known for its shops, cafes, and historic buildings.

DeventervKorte Bisschopstraat
Deventer - Walstraat

C. Walstraat and Bergkwartier: Continue your walk south on Korte Bisschopstraat until you reach Walstraat, a charming street with interesting shops and a unique atmosphere. Here you can visit the Charles Dickens Kabinet – a small museum that is dedicated to the work of the famous writer (please note that the museum is open on Saturdays only).
Take your time to explore and enjoy the charming old houses. Allow yourself to get lost in the narrow street, discovering the Bergkwartier neighborhood.

Charles Dickens Kabinet, Deventer
Charles Dickens Kabinet, Deventer
Bergkwartier, Deventer
Bergkwartier, Deventer

After exploring the charming street of Bergkwartier neighborhood, head back towards Brink Square.

Brink Square is the vibrant heart of Deventer’s old town. If it’s Saturday, don’t miss the vibrant Saturday market held here. Enjoy the lively atmosphere and the variety of stalls offering fresh produce, local products, and more. The square is surrounded by restaurants and cafes, and it’s a great spot to take a break and enjoy the view.

Brink square Deventer
Brink Square, Deventer
De Waag Deventer

D. De Waag (the weighhouse):After exploring Brink Square, make your way to De Waag. This 15th-century building is one of Deventer’s most iconic landmarks. Today, it serves as a museum.

Deventer old town, Saturday market
Deventer old town, Saturday market

E. Toy Museum:From De Waag, head southeast on Brink and to Polstraat. Continue on Polstraat until you reach the Toy Museum (Speelgoedmuseum) on Brinkpoortstraat. The museum provides a collection of toys from different eras and exhibits the history of play.

F. Kleine Overstraat:After visiting the Toy Museum, head back towards and turn onto Kleine Overstraat. Kleine Overstraat is a charming colorful street with a variety of boutique shops and restaurants. Take your time to wander along this picturesque street and perhaps stop for a coffee or a bite to eat.

Deventer old town
Kleine Overstraat, Deventer
Kleine Overstraat, Deventer

G. Lebuinuskerk (St. Lebuïnus Church):From Kleine Overstraat, head to St. Lebuïnus Church.This iconic church is a major landmark of Deventer, known for its architecture and complex details.Here you can admire the unique building and the surrounding area. If possible, step inside to enjoy the beautiful indoor decoration.

St. Lebuïnus Church, Deventer
St. Lebuïnus Church, Deventer

H. IJssel River:From St. Lebuïnus Church, head towards the banks of the IJssel River and enjoy a leisurely stroll along the riverfront. Take in the views, relax on one of the benches, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere by the water.

From St. Lebuïnus Church, it is about 10 min of walk back to Deventer Central Train Station.

Museums In Deventer

Museum De Waag – is located in a unique historic building that used to be a weighing house. The museum showcases the history of Deventer, with an interesting collection of artifacts and objects that tell the story of the city’s past.
You can find more information on the official De Waag Museum website.

Deventer Toy Museum – exhibits a vast collection of toys from all over the world, including dolls, board games, and puzzles.
You can find more information on the Toys Museum’s Official website.

The Charles Dickens Kabinet – is dedicated to the life and works of the famous Victorian author. The museum displays a collection of Dickens-related items, including first editions of his novels, illustrations, and figurines of his characters. You register for a group tour and see costumes used in the annual Dickens Festival, which is celebrated every December.

You can find more information on the official web page.

Nature & Parks

Deventer is surrounded by beautiful nature, and there are several parks and gardens where you can relax and enjoy the scenery. One of the most popular parks is the Worpplantsoen, which is located on the other side of the River IJssel and can be reached by ferry. The park is a favorite spot for picnics, walks, and cycling, and it has plenty of playgrounds and sports facilities. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some wildlife, such as deer or rabbits.

Festivals In Deventer

Deventer is known for its vibrant cultural scene. Throughout the year, the city hosts several lively festivals, drawing many visitors to the city.

One of the most notable festivals is the Deventer Book Market, Europe’s largest book fair held annually in August. The town transforms into a paradise for book lovers, with thousands of stalls lining the streets, offering an extensive collection of books, manuscripts, and antique prints.For more information please visit the Deventer book market website

Deventer International Op Stelten Festival (Deventer outdoor-theatre festival) is another popular festival that takes place every summer in July. During the festival, the streets of the Old Town become alive with musicians, performers, and artists from all over Europe. It’s a great opportunity to explore Deventer’s vibrant culture while enjoying live music and entertainment! For more information please visit the festival website.

Deventer is also famously known for the Dickens Festival, a major event that celebrates the town’s history and culture. The festival is held every year in December. During the festival, the historic streets of Deventer turn into a Victorian-era scene, with locals dressed in period costumes, street performances, and a festive atmosphere.Visitors can also explore the cobblestone alleys, enjoy delicious treats at the food stalls, and browse through crafts from local artisans.For more information please visit the Dickens Festival website

The Netherlands open Air Museum 1 e1703631897326

Please note – those festivals are very popular and attract lots of people. If you would like to avoid the crowd, do not plan to visit Deventer around a festival dates.

Plan Your Visit

How much time should You Spend In Deventer?

Deventer is a relatively small city, so it’s possible to explore all the sights in several hours.With plenty of things to do in the near area, Deventer can serve as a base from which to explore the area for several days.

Other Places to Visit In The Area

Zutphen, Zwolle, Duisburg, and Kampen – are more picturesque Hanseatic towns that are located within less than an hour of Deventer. Each one offers a unique and special off-the-beaten-path experience.

Hoge Veluwe National Park – is one of the most famous national parks in the Netherlands. It is situated about 43km (26 miles) away from Deventer and is known for its unspoiled forests, dunes, and heathlands that provide habitats for various wildlife species including deer and wild boars. The park is also home to the Kröller-Müller Museum, which owns one of the largest collections of Van Gogh paintings in the world.

Apenheul Monkey Park – located about 30 km (18.6 miles) away from Deventer, this park offers an opportunity to get up close and personal with a wide variety of primates. The park has many different species, including gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, lemurs, gibbons, and more.

The Netherlands Open Air Museum – located about 10 km (6 miles) from Deventer, this museum is a living history of the Netherlands. It showcases traditional Dutch houses and farms, as well as numerous attractions such as rides, shows, and activities that make it a great day out for all ages.

These are just some of the attractions you can find in the near area of Deventer. With so much to see and do, you’ll be sure to have a wonderful experience!

Deventer historical center
The Netherlands open Air Museum 1 e1703631897326

Visiting Deventer with an Autistic Traveler

Our Experience

We love Deventer and the nearby area very much, and we keep going there again and again. Deventer is a small city, not too crowded, with a variety of activities, accommodations, and restaurants that are accommodating to special needs visitors.The town center is pedestrian-friendly. There are multiple quiet spots that you can go to in case of being overwhelmed.

One thing to consider, as a best practice in any old city when traveling with someone who is sensitive to noise, it’s a good idea to avoid being close to a church during bell ringing times, typically around noon.

Please be aware that Deventer hosts several highly attended festivals as mentioned above. If you prefer to avoid large crowds, it’s recommended to skip visiting Deventer during festival times.


Thank you for joining us on this visual journey through the quaint streets of Deventer’s Old Town. Deventer may not be as famous as other cities in the Netherlands, but it’s a hidden gem that’s worth exploring. So why not add Deventer to your list of places to visit in the Netherlands? We promise you won’t regret it.

Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this! If you have any questions or would like to share your experience, please leave us a comment below.