Oldest weighing house in the Netherlands. A must see!
Museum De Waag is located in the oldest weighing house in the Netherlands. It stands on Deventer’s historic marketsquare, the Brink.
De Waag is one of the city’s iconic buildings. In the Middle Ages, Deventer, with its excellent position on the river IJssel, became one of the most important cities of the Hansa Towns. In 1344, the city was granted rights to holdannual fairs. Merchants came from all over to Deventer to sell their wares on the Brink. Accuracy was considered vital to fair trading. That is why special officials supervised the weights and measurements used. It was mandatory to weigh goods in the weighing house before they were sold. The required weighing fee – ‘waechgelt’ in Dutch – was a kind of medieval VAT. In this way, the weighing house generated revenue for the city.
The Late Gothic weighing house is three stories high and features a clock, a tower with a spiral staircase and three turrets. Take a close look and you will see that the whole building is leaning about 80 cm lower on one side. This is because the weighing house was built where an old fortress wall originally crossed the Brink, and the ground has given way. Museum De Waag has been housed in the structure since 1915.