Deventer - Encyclopedia




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DEVENTER, a town in the province of Overysel, Holland, on the right bank of the Ysel, at the confluence of the Schipbeek, and a junction station Io m. N. of Zutphen by rail. It is also connected by steam tramway S.E. with Brokulo. Pop. (1900) 26,212. Deventer is a neat and prosperous town situated in the midst of prettily wooded environs, and containing many curious old buildings. There are three churches of special interest: the Groote Kerk (St Lebuinus), which dates from 1334, and occupies the site of an older structure of which the IIth-century crypt remains; the Roman Catholic Broederkerk, or Brothers' Church, containing among its relics three ancient gospels said to have been written by St Lebuinus (Lebwin), the English apostle of the Frisians and Westphalians (d. c. 773); and the Bergkerk, dedicated in 1206, which has two late Romanesque towers. The town hall (1693) contains a remarkable painting of the town council by Terburg. In the fine square called the Brink is the old weigh-house, now a school (gymnasium), built in r528,with a large external staircase (1644). The gymnasium is descended from the Latin school of which the celebrated Alexander Hegius was master in the third quarter of the 15th century, when the young Erasmus was sent to it, and at which Adrian Floreizoon, afterwards Pope Adrian VI., is said to have been a pupil about the same time. Another famous educational institution was the "Athenaeum" or high school, founded in 1630, at which Henri Renery (d. 1639) taught philosophy, while Johann Friedrich Gronov (Gronovius) (1611-1671) taught rhetoric and history in the middle of the same century. The "Athenaeum" disappered in 1876. In modern times Deventer possessed a famous teacher in Dr Burgersdyk (d. 1900), the Dutch translator of Shakespeare. The town library, also called the library of the Athenaeum, includes many MSS. and incunabula, and a 13thcentury copy of Reynard the Fox. The archives of the town are of considerable value. Besides a considerable agricultural trade, Deventer has important iron foundries and carpet factories (the royal manufactory of Smyrna carpets being especially famous); while cotton-printing, rope-making and the weaving of woollens and silks are also carried on. A public official is appointed to supervise the proper making of a form of gingerbread known as "Deventer Koek," which has a reputation throughout Holland. In the church of Bathmen, a village 5 m. E. of Deventer, some 14th-century frescoes were discovered in 1870.

In the 14th century Deventer was the centre of the famous religious and educational movement associated with the name of Gerhard Groot, who was a native of the town (see Brothers Of Common Life).

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