Travel to the IJssel by train and see the Dutch Hanseatic cities

Climb aboard and head off along the IJssel to the historic Hanseatic cities of the Netherlands. With just one change in Breda or Rotterdam, the InterCity Nederland will take you to medieval towns that grew wealthy thanks to their bustling commerce. Jump out at will and discover a charming world of culture and cuisine – as well as a vibrant history.

Wat are Hanseatic cities?

Take a trip back to the 13th century, when European trade in the cities along the coast or along a major river flourishes. These towns formed the Hanseatic League, a loose alliance that sought strength in numbers and mutual protection against pirates. As a result, the Hanseatic cities amassed huge wealth, remnants of which you can see today when you cast your eye over the beautiful merchant houses and unique facades. Ready for your next rail-bound adventure?

Zutphen: immerse yourself in the city’s rich history

The winding medieval streets and colourful alleyways of Zutphen may test your sense of direction, but there’s no need to worry, because there is a surprising amount to discover wherever you go in one of the Netherlands’ oldest cities. It’s wonderfully rich in historic treasures, a virtually complete overview of which is shared between the Stedelijk Museum and the Museum Henriette Polak. Both are located within the Hof van Heeckeren, a former town palace that is well worth a look in itself. After marvelling at the femur of a mammoth, explore the city streets packed with boutique stores and sample Zutphen’s acclaimed culinary scene.

You can reach Zutphen in 3 hours 36 minutes from Brussels via InterCity, with one change in Breda.

Deventer: a quirky city that encourages flights of fancy

Deventer city centre is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the train station – putting the entire city within easy reach. Deventer is known as a haven for book lovers, a reputation built by the publishers and printing presses along the Hanseatic trading route. Today, the city still hosts the largest annual book fair in Europe. St. Lebuïnus Church is the most stunning church in Deventer. Step inside to marvel at its impressive gothic architecture, and head to the top of the tower for a view of the Proosdij, the oldest stone residence in the Netherlands, and the grey-coloured waters of the IJssel. Revitalise yourself downstairs with a cocktail board at one of the cosy cafes or explore the many small boutique shops in the area. The city has a genuine charm to it – which you’ll no doubt see for yourself.

You can reach Deventer in 3 hours 49 minutes from Brussels via InterCity, with one change in Breda.

Zwolle: a trendy Hanseatic city with cobblestones worn to a shine

With its 16th and 17th-century buildings, Zwolle is a feast for the eyes, but there’s more to it than that. The city’s historical roots are clear to see all over, not least in the form of the medieval Sassenpoort –the city’s gatehouse from the 13th century. Zwolle’s medieval charm is balanced out nicely by its vibrant modern character. The Museum De Fundatie is probably the most postcard-worthy spot in Zwolle. Not just because of its collection of Mondrian and Van Gogh paintings. The Neoclassical building was gifted a modern roof that demands attention: known as “De Wolk” (the cloud). The roof consists of no fewer than 40,000 ceramic tiles etched with the names of Zwolle residents. The city centre also has plenty of verdant spots where you can enjoy a picnic or go for a stroll.

You can reach Zwolle in 3 hours 43 minutes from Brussels via InterCity, with one change in Rotterdam.