Nijmegen - Zutphen

Wednesday the 31st of August was the day we said good bye to attractive Nijmegen. After (carefully!) leaving the Lindenberghaven behind at 9:02AM we entered the -day and night alike- extremely busy river Waal – the most important branch of the river Rhine (Rijn) within The Netherlands. The Waal’s dynamism is demonstrated by this picture. We had to travel 16 kilometers (10 miles) upstream, on either (bank)sides – dependent on the combination strength of current/direction of the bend. It’s not exactly relaxing on the river Waal, let’s mildly call it ‘exciting’.

The Pannerdensch Kanaal (Dutch spelling) ( was reached at 11:55AM. Phew! The canal is in fact the canalized river Rhine and a substitute for an untrustworthy part of the latter since 1707(!). Another 73 minutes later we entered the river (Gelderse) IJssel (, another branch of the Rhine, eventually ending up in the IJsselmeer (Zuiderzee before 1932), see As one can see the IJssel is much quieter, although the current is very strong in places. We are going downstream, hurray!

Before we forget, an anecdote about something we experienced on the river IJssel immediately after entering her (him? no, we opt for her). A commercial barge was cruising towards us and seemed to tend to go to the wrong side, which is left. There was still room enough for us to pass port-to-port but, when approaching, he contacted us by radio, asking ‘whether we did not know the meaning of a blue board’. We reacted by informing him about our vast knowledge of the rules and informed him about the fact that a large sheet (bed linen) was drying on top of his ship, hanging crosswise in its full width, thus obscuring his blue board for us. He reacted swiftly by (more friendly) saying ‘oh, I’ll ask her(!) to remove it’, or something similar. So our friendship was quickly re-established. The lovely little Hanseatic town of Doesburg was reached at 2:50PM. Doesburg’s marina is visible here with the river IJssel in the background.

  • Doesburg - streetview

    As stated with the last picture Doesburg is a lovely little town with all necessary…

  • Doesburg - painted houses

    …facilities. We show you some street-views and a few other remarkable things.

  • Humour in Doesburg (I)

    We learned this text when being little kids already from our late mothers. Especially the last sentence was exciting for us kids. Of course it rhymes in Dutch, but we’ll try to give you the translation anyway. ‘In the Shop of Sinkel is everything on sale – Hats and caps – And ladies corsets – Drop (black licorice) for relishing – Pills for defecating (shitting)’. All the items that feature in the rhyme are on display indeed!

  • Humour in Doesburg (II)

    We’ll come back on Doesburg’s ‘hofje’ (former housing for the elderly) later on, but one of the things we saw there made us chuckle. On this house it says ‘(Capitals) I may not be perfect (undercast) but my dog loves me’. Of course we can dwell on dogs -or cats, for that matter- but every pet-lover knows that most dogs approach us wagging their tails even when, sometimes, we haven’t been all that friendly to them. (We think Maisy, or Louie, and some of our readers will definitely know.)

  • Van Brakell-hofje

    Doesburg’s ‘hofje’ (Van Brakellhofje,, with a nice picture) looks like this. What more than ‘lovely’ can one say about it? Aback once lived esquire Willem de Vaynes van Brakell (1763 – 1843), commander of the town and stronghold Doesburg.

  • De Vaynes van Brakell

    On the 23rd of November 1813 he saved the town from marauding by the French. Adorned by a French ‘cocarde’ he persuaded the French troops to change their minds. This little statue of De Vaynes van Brakell was placed insid ‘his’ ‘hofje’ in 1994. He obviously not forgotten – and rightfully so.

After 2 days and nights in Doesburg we set sail again on Friday the 2nd of September 10:53AM, our destination this time being Zutphen (, another former Hanseatic town – larger than Doesburg. Alongside the river IJssel there are signs on the shore – red ones on the right bank, green ones on the left. One of the red ones was obviously judged by a couple of storks as an excellent place to bring up their kids. Bad luck: no stork in sight. The parents must have completed their job for this year and gone back to Afrika, although some of them winter in Europe nowadays.

We switched of our engine inside Zutphen’s harbour, the ‘Vispoorthaven’, at 1:00PM, so after a lovely journey of just over 2 hours. We were directed to the only (apart from the quay) space where we fitted inside the harbour and where electricity and water is available. Not for free by the way!

Immediately after arrival some local men told us not to miss two things, (1) a trip with the ‘fluisterboot’ (a silent boat, because of its electric engine) and (2) a guided walk through the town. Therefore, we immediately walked towards the tourist-office, subsequently booked the ‘fluisterboot’ for the next morning and a guided walk for the next afternoon. Playing the tourist is not all that simple! This is the type of boat the tourists are transported with – a maximum of 14. We thought we’d be in this one, but we were 15 and 16, equal to 1 and 2 in the next boat. All Dutch natives will recognize the name of this boat. For the language-freaks among our readers, see ‘Our’ boat of exactly the same type was new, launched last July. We forgot the name.

From where we left (and returned after 1½ hours) the ‘Waterpoort’ (yes, indeed, you guessed it: Watergate) had to be passed, a remaining part of the towns defense-system. It’s several hundred years old – and it shows. Will it be still there in, say, 2348??

The cruise with the ‘fluisterboot’ was around the town as well as on the little river Berkel – one of the IJssel’s tributaries. Of course it was all ohhh and ahhh because of the utterly prettiness of the Berkel. Wise men even have re-created the original meanders. It was a lovely cruise (apart from the uncomfortable seats).

  • From Nederlanden van 1845...

    The cruise was followed by the walk in the town, starting 1:30PM, again taking 1½ hours. We’ve seen a lot – too much to recall to be honest, so therefore just a few nice, or interesting, or beautiful, things. This is the entrance of Ravenstraatje 3 Zutphen where, in 1845, the insurance company ‘De Nederlanden van 1845’ was founded. Nowadays it is called ‘Nationale-Nederlanden’, some 10 years back the largest…

  • Nationale-Nederlanden in The Netherlands – we don’t know how it is now, a lot has changed after 2008. We are interested because our male half’s profession before his retirement. A juicy detail is the name of one of the founders. His descendants are still in the insurance business – not at low level, by the way. See (unfortunately only in Dutch).

  • Van Bronckhorst

    Zutphen housed some famous, rich, families – notably the Van Brockhorsts and the Van Heeckerens. Both families owned loads of real estate -and more- and lived in their castle-like mansions in the countryside during the summer. The mansions/castles were not heated and therefore too cold to live in during the winter. The city-mansion on the left is the Van Bronckhorst one. We were unable to picture the Van Heeckeren one, because...

  • Van Heeckeren

    ...that one is presently being refurbished. Later on the town’s museum will be set up inside of it. A part is in use as a hotel and the picture on the right is a wall-painting in one of the public hotel-rooms. Both families entertained some disagreements in the (far) past. See for more (again: only in Dutch). It’s a long time ago, so all is quiet now on the VB-VH front…

Here’s the Bourgondië-toren (Burgundy-tower) built in 1457 as a defense against the Burgundians. (That was bad – and Napoleon was still to arrive many years later!) On top of the tower there’s a ‘theekoepel’ (thea cupola) dating from 1742, nowadays called the ‘Martinetscupola’ after the preacher-philosopher J.F. Martinet (1729 – 1795) ( The cupola was his study in the 18th century.

Zutphen’s courthouse is absolutely worth mentioning, as it has always been very important. Especially for our Dutch audience we bring back in mind the Puttense Moordzaak (about a young woman, murdered in a place called Putten) ( - only Dutch) an infamous case of a miscarriage of justice and Het Meisje van Nulde ( - Dutch!), a four-year-old murdered girl, found in parts at the Nulde Beach, part of the Veluwemeer. Both cases were brought to court in Zutphen – the latter now under re-consideration.

View of the city from outside its walls. An old branch of the river IJssel is visible in the foreground. This kind of views speak for themselves.

Returning inside Zutphen’s former walls one has to, at least: can, pass the ‘Drogenapstoren’, formerly (or officialy) called the Saltpoort. The name derives from the towns-musician, Thomas Drogenap, who lived in the tower in the 16th century. There’s this story that his ‘nap’ (= a drinking devise) as well as his wallet were always ‘droog’ – empty. Hence his name, Drogenap. (People must have helped him out.) It was a water-tower for 40 years around the change of the 19th and 20th century. Nowadays the tower is residential.

Zutphen also has several ‘hofjes’. This is a part of one of them. Buying a house is impossible; they’re all owned by a rich foundation. Rich because, apart from achievements in the past and receiving subsidies and rent, they also benefit from inheritances bequeathed by single/childless people. One has to be at least 50 (? we seem to remember) to be eligible to live here and a second obstacle could be the approval of a balloting committee. By the way, we were told by the female guide that this angle for a picture is a favourite one, especially by the men. We still wonder why.

  • 1288 (exactly)

    Just another house we noticed on the way – dating even from 1288…

  • 1657 -1661 (around)

    …for some reason it made us think of Vermeer’s ‘Het Straatje’ (The Little Street) (

To end with we come back on the aforementioned Napoleon. This house shows the signs of his legislation. In 1811 he introduced window-tax, because it was an easy-to-control system too. The solution was simple: paint one or more windows, your house will look perfectly balanced and no tax has to be paid. Clever thinking! Bye bye.