Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
M72
Elburg
1396

Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg

Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg

The fortified town of Elburg has an interesting shape. In contrast to most medieval towns, the map of Elburg is not circular, but rectangular. The layout of the streets is also very regular, with lots of straight lines and 90 degree angles. Even the church is not in the centre of town, where you might expect it it is to one side, near the old town wall.

Middle Ages
Elburg still echoes of the Middle Ages, with its narrow alleyways, old houses and overgrown town walls. However, Elburg did not evolve like most medieval towns as a community with a church at its heart it was designed on a drawing board. The reason for this was the second St. Marcellus flood of 1362 followed by another large flood five years later. Hundreds of people and animals died during the floods and great chunks of land crumbled into the sea. This led to Willem van Gulik, Duke of Guelders’ decision to move the whole town.

Draughts
The local bailiff, Arnoudt ten Boeckop, came up with a revolutionary design. He gave Elburg the rectangular layout of a draughts board and that of a Roman town. The building started in 1392 on what was considered an enormous project at the time. Willem van Gulik announced in 1396 that he wanted to inspect the building works to assess its progress. Everyone hurriedly rallied together to get the project finished in time. When Willem arrived for his visit that autumn, the new town had been completed, except for the church, which still stood outside the town´s walls. The bishop had not yet given permission to move the church, which he eventually did, a year later. By that time, there was no more room for the church in the middle of town, which is why it is still standing in a corner near to the old town wall.

Fall of Elburg
The future of Elburg as a fortified and Hanseatic town, seemed rosy. But no less than one hundred years on, Elburg had lost its trading status and was forced to rely on fishing. Five centuries later, Elburg still fits nicely inside the town walls that were built in 1392. The modern world seems to have passed the town by, which is exactly what makes Elburg such a wonderful place to visit.

Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg
Elburg – The fortified town of Elburg