Gothic House Kampen

Once saved from demolition, now an impressive monument with elements from a variety of time periods. For example, the Gothic House in Kampen was built around 1500 by a wealthy merchant. Three quarters of a century later, in 1675, it was used as a gristmill and a horse mill was added with stables for the horses. Again centuries later, in the early twentieth century, the building was restored to a design by Pierre Cuypers. You can still see the bluestone façade with its rich details.



Year built

Around 1500

Building Style

Late Gothic

Original function

Merchant's house

Restoration architect

Pierre Cuypers


Front facade and rose mill

Owned by Monumentenbezit

Since 2016

Wheelchair accessible

After restoration

Visitor information

Due to security and restoration concerns, the Gothic House is not currently open to visitors.


Oudestraat 158, 8261 CZ Kampen

The Gothic House dates from around 1500. It was built by and for a prosperous merchant. Until the third quarter of the seventeenth century it retained the function of a merchant's house. Around 1675, the house was repurposed as a gristmill. For this work - grinding grits or buckwheat into flour - a horse-mill was built in the building. Behind the horsemill, stables appeared where the horses stayed when not running the mill. Until 1904, the Gothic House retained the function of a gristmill.

From 1921 to 1984, the monument was leased to the Kampen Public Reading Room and Library Association. Then the Municipality of Kampen rented the building and the "Stedelijk Museum" settled here. Since 2009, the building has been vacant under poor conditions. Monumentenbezit is working on a plan to get the building back into good condition.

The different functions meant that the house also had different layouts. The current complex of the Gothic House consists of three building parts. Namely, the store part (the front house), the smoke mill and the residential house (back house). In plan, the house is an elongated space, divided by an open place in the middle into a front and back house. The front house consisted of a front and back room. At the time of the gruttery, the front room housed the store and the back room belonged to the private residence. The back room was originally divided into a corridor with a large room on the left. The corridor was present until 1984. When the building became a museum, the wall of the corridor was removed to create a large exhibition space.

In 1904, the Gothic House was brought in for safe keeping, with the goal of selling it for demolition. The building came to the attention of A.J. Reijers, the superintendent of Kampen's municipal works department. Reijers recognized the building's architectural qualities and subsequently launched a campaign to save the building from demolition. The intention was also heard from Victor de Stuers and Pierre Cuypers. The Minister of the Interior then gave the message to the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of Kampen that it was "a most remarkable building" and "that it would be deplorable if it fell into the hands of demolishers at the announced sale!". He based his opinion on the advice of De Stuers and Cuypers.

The State could not purchase the Gothic House in Kampen itself because there was no use for the property. Therefore, the minister requested the city council to buy the property in order to establish a museum, for example. The mayor and aldermen acceded to the request and subsequently purchased the property. A large-scale restoration was then badly needed. This was started in 1907, according to the plans of Cuypers and de Reijers.

Fortunately, this remarkable building was saved from demolition and an important piece of history was preserved. Even though many changes have been made to the building over the centuries, many parts are still original. For example, the side walls and the joists date back to the construction period. The front facade is also largely original, with very special details. For example, under the waterslides, you can see vines with all kinds of animals in between. The rosettes on the facade have the letters 'JOH', which may indicate John the Baptist. And you see the letters 'MAR' in the rosettes, which in combination with the rose, indicate Mary.

After the building was saved from demolition, restoration began. During the first restoration phase by Pierre Cuypers in 1908, the lower facade and the stepped gable were reconstructed. In the entrance portal, he depicted the year of restoration, the Dutch state and the city of Kampen. In the same year, the tiled floor in the front house was reconstructed and the roof and part of the walls were repaired. At the end of 1908, due to lack of funds, the restoration had to be discontinued....

Work continued in 1909, on the advice of the National Commission for the Preservation of Monuments. They decided to take on the work on the grut mill and stables. However, the city council considered that these buildings had little historical value. Therefore, and due to high maintenance costs, the council gave its approval for demolition of the buildings in September 1911. A royal decree prevented that from happening. After years of mediation, the council decided to sell the property to the State in 1914. Unfortunately, the stables were now so dilapidated that they eventually had to be demolished.

A year later, from 1915, the remaining work resumed. The rear facade was completely rebuilt in the 1960s. This gives a good idea of the post-war restoration vision. In the 1980s, the current doors in the entrance porch were installed.

Meanwhile, we have arrived at yet another restoration phase. Monumentenbezit is currently working on a restoration plan for the Gothic House Kampen.

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