Gingerbread is a form of carbohydrate that lasts for a long time, and could readily be traded over long distances. It was made in various forms in many European cities in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. One of the most celebrated forms was the Deventer Koek, which was already being exported in large quantities in the 1830s. Deventer, on the River Ijssel was once a member of the Hanseatic League, and has links through the Hansesteden with other Dutch Hanseatic cities, Kampen, Doesburg, Hasselt, Hatten, Kampen, Zutphen and Zwolle.
Deventer koeken are manufactured by the the company known as Koninklijke Deventer Koekfabrieken BV, which traces its origins to a bakery establishedin 1593 by Johan and Gerrit Schutte, in whose family it remained until 1886, when it was taken over by the company established by Jacob Bussink, which dated from 1820. Since 1973 the company has belonged to international conglomerates, and its factory since 1952 has been on the outskirts of Deventer, but the Jb Bussink Koekhuisje shop remains on the Brink, the square in the centre of the town. All aspects of the town’s history are illustrated in the museum, and there is also a small museum of everyday life at the Hotel De Leeuw, which prides itself on its Hanseatic connections and has a coffee shop where Deventer Koeken are specialities.