The Netherlands has many historic waterfront towns, or Hanzesteden as they are known locally. These include Zwolle, Kampen, Deventer, Harderwijk, Zutphen and Hattern. They were set up to spread commerce, wealth and knowledge in the 14th and 15th centuries and were established on waterfronts because of the connectivity to transport routes.
Visiting the historic buildings of the Hanzesteden is a wonderful way to experience Dutch culture and history. The richly decorated exteriors of the waterside houses adds to the appeal of these pretty towns.