Zutphen

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Ltspkr.png Zutphen is a city in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. It lies some 30 km north-east of Arnhem, on the Eastern bank of the river IJssel at the point where it is joined by the Berkel. The name Zutphen (first mentioned in the eleventh century) appears to mean 'zuid-veen', or in English, south-fen.

In 2005, the municipality of Zutphen was merged with the municipality of Warnsveld, retaining its name. The municipality has about 47,000 inhabitants.

Zutphen is also twinned with the English town Shrewsbury, in the Midlands county of Shropshire.

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History

About 300 AD a Germanic settlement was the first permanent town on a complex of low river dunes. Whereas many such settlements were abandoned in the early Middle Ages, Zutphen on its strategic confluence of IJssel and Berkel stayed. After the incorporation of the IJssel lands in Charlemagne's Francia, Zutphen became a local center of governance under a count. The Normans raided and ravaged it about 900. Afterwards a system of walls was built to protect the budding town.

In the eleventh century Zutphen was a royal residence for a number of years; a pfalz was built, together with a large chapter church, the predecessor of the present St. Walburgis. The counts of Zutphen acquired a lot of power, until the line of counts became extinct in the twelfth century. After the death of her father and her brother, Ermgard, the heiress of Zutphen married the count of Guelders; her son Henry I, Count of Guelders was the first to wear both titles.

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