History of Harderwijk

The adventurous

And (sometimes) true story of the captain, the city and Loft Harderwijk.

Somewhere deep in the Middle Ages, in the time of damsels, castles and knights' duels, some clever representatives from different cities hatched a plan. Long before Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp had large ports, long before "unity is strength" became the motto of the Republic of the Netherlands. A plan to defeat pirates, and to become rich and prosperous.

“Together we are stronger, together we are more efficient and safer, together we are the Hanze network.”

Sea and land trade flourished and our city of Harderwijk took advantage of its strategic location on the water. A glorious time is ahead of us. Harderwijk is developing into a bustling city of trade and prosperity. How could things go wrong?

For a long time everything went well, but then everything went wrong and Harderwijk experienced turbulent times. With the arrival of the VOC, trade shifted to the Randstad. The city on the Zuiderzee proved to be more than a blessing. Storms at sea led to floods in which many drowned. Others died in the flames of the city fires that ravaged the town in the 16th century. A tactical location by the sea made us the target of naval battles and occupations. The Burgundians, the French. We had them all on our quays.

And then came the plague. The city occupied by fear and the black blanket of contagion and disease. An enemy that became visible only when it was already too late. The past was not always easy, but it made the city what it is today. Despite all the setbacks, Harderwijk has never perished.

The heyday of the University of Harderwijk has produced some scholars. Herman Boerhaave, Carolus Linnaeus and the discoverer of Easter Island Jacob Roggeveen. I don't want to boast, but I mean they are not the least names.


During all my years at sea, I have managed several ships. Fishing was my bread and butter, and it was a golden profession. And all these years Harderwijk was my refuge. In the hostel it was nice to have solid ground under my feet. No storm, no flapping of the sails.

"But at night in my dreams I could still feel the swaying of the sea. The treacherous, swirling water that I loved so much at the same time."

It was in 1932 that I decided to go ashore and rest my sea legs forever. Who would have ever thought it was possible to seal off an ocean? Madness. But it was good. Salt turned sweet. The tide has turned. The city is now cozy, Burgundian and hip. Do we have the Burgundians to thank for that?

The fishing was not in vain, and I found a perfect place to rest on my laurels while giving back to the people of Harderwijk and its visitors.

"The place where the Loft is now, is where I set foot many years ago. I decided to build my home port there and make it your home."

A place with all the amenities that an old sailor like me could use. A place where people can be pampered and relax in the turbulent waves of life. Where they can be with their loved ones.

Harderwijk is now a city for water sports enthusiasts. For surfers and stand-up paddlers, for aspiring captains, for adventurers for a day or longer. For bon vivants who like to indulge themselves.

And the water? I never have to miss it, because no matter where I am in my loft, I can always see the churning water through the tall windows. And when I stroll through the city, the merchants' houses, the city walls and the narrow cobblestone streets remind me of times gone by. The Vischpoort, the Great Church, the City Museum, the Vischmarkt and the harbour of Harderwijk on the wide boulevard. Back to the time when a group of wise merchants and representatives decided: together we are stronger.