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city (1994 pop. 69,079), Overijssel prov., E central Netherlands, on the IJssel River. It is an industrial center with machine shops and foundries; important manufactures are bicycles and bricks. A member of the Hanseatic LeagueHanseatic League
, mercantile league of medieval German towns. It was amorphous in character; its origin cannot be dated exactly. Originally a Hansa was a company of merchants trading with foreign lands.
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 in the Middle Ages, it was a prosperous commercial city and a center of piety and learning; Thomas à KempisThomas à Kempis
, b. 1379 or 1380, d. 1471, German monk, traditional author of The Imitation of Christ, b. Kempen, Germany. He was schooled at Deventer, in the Netherlands, the center of the Brothers of the Common Life founded by Gerard Groote.
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 and ErasmusErasmus
or Desiderius Erasmus
[Gr. Erasmus, his given name, and Lat., Desiderius=beloved; both are regarded as the equivalent of Dutch Gerard, Erasmus' father's name], 1466?–1536, Dutch humanist, b. Rotterdam.
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 of Rotterdam studied there. Deventer has retained many medieval and Renaissance structures, including the Groote Kerk (church, built 8th cent., and later rebuilt), the Mariakerk (15th cent.), the weighhouse (16th cent.), and the town hall (17th cent.).
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