Dorestad. Medieval Metropolis

17 April until 1 November 2009

Dorestad. Medieval MetropolisDorestad. Medieval Metropolis
Dorestad. Medieval Metropolis (drawing: J.H. Isings, 1927)Dorestad. Medieval Metropolis (drawing: J.H. Isings, 1927)
Dorestad. Medieval MetropolisDorestad. Medieval Metropolis

If you think the Middle Ages were boring and dark, you are wrong. Circa 800, Dorestad was a city that was bustling, swarming with people and merchants. It was on the Rhine, where Wijk bij Duurstede now lies. At the exhibition 'Dorestad. Medieval Metropolis', you can personally experience the heydays of Dorestad. You can walk through the decor of the city and harbour. You can see which people lived in this metropolis of the early Middle Ages and what they did.

Metropolis of the early Middle Ages

The exhibition is for young and old. There are all kinds of games to play and children can follow their own treasure hunt. The huge quantity of archaeological discoveries that have emerged in the past decades render it possible to present a good picture of life in Dorestad. You can see implements, weapons, brilliant jewellery and much, much more. Three artists have created an emblem of Dorestad, inspired by the famous emblem by J.H. Isings from 1927.

Rich and famous

In the early Middle Ages, Dorestad was an international market place. The settlement on the Rhine grew to become the largest, richest city in the Netherlands. It was a true world port, comparable to the position Rotterdam now holds. Trade from all of Western Europe brought affluence. There was a throng of well-heeled people in the large port. Circa 800, the most successful Dutch merchants were found there. There were also a lot of sailors and craftsmen in Dorestad, who made luxurious products for the international market. The gold coins that were minted in Dorestad were found across the globe.

Extras with the exhibition

  • Illustrated book (in Dutch) about Dorestad by Annemarieke Willemsen, curator of the Dutch Medieval collection of the National Museum of Antiquities
  • Rich assortment on Middle Ages and Dorestad in museum shop