The great city fire of Enschede (1862)

The great city fire of Enschede started in a house on the Kalanderstreet on 07-04-1862. It was a house made of wood, it hadn’t rained for weeks, there was a fierce easternwind and the city was filled with decorations, hung up for celebrating the visit of king Willem III six days prior to the incident. The fire spread fast as lightning, and putting it out seemed impossible.

The consequences of the fire were catastrophic: the entire historic city center within the canals was destroyed. The City Hall, the hospital, the Reformed Church and the Roman Catholic Church and factories were lost. 650 families became homeless, 2 died.

After the fire, reconstruction was quickly started. The canals were filled in after the fire in the city. At the factories outside the canals, which had been spared, entire neighborhoods with small workers’ houses were built from the ground. In this way, notorious slums such as Sevastopol and De Krim soon arose. There was now room for stately mansions on the main streets in the center.

The memorial to the fire (the fountain) can still be found in the square of the old market.