Kampen is a port on the banks of the River Ijssel near to its confluence with the Ijsselmeer (formerly the Zuyder Zee). Its narrow streets, lined with warehouses and merchants’ houses of many periods, provide vivid evidence of trade with distant countries and of the manufactures that derived from it.
Kampen received a municipal charter in 1236, and was a member of the Hanseatic League during the period of its greatest prosperity in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Three of its gates remain, together with sections of the city wall. The imposing town hall (Raadhuis) was rebuilt after a fire in 1543. A windmill, d’Olde Zwaver, stands on the edge of the town, and the town museum, in a Gothic house, includes a horse-powered mill for grinding buckwheat, and a pearling mill.
The former tobacco factory of Samuels & de Leeuw in the Butter Market is now a museum, whose exhibits include a cigar 2.75 m long, as well as many tools used in tobacco processing tobacco and making cigars.
The town’s synagogue is now an exhibition centre. Kampen belongs to the Hanzesteden which promotes tourism in cities that belonged to the Hanseatic League, and guided tours are organised of Hanseatic sites in the town.