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Zwolle, The Netherlands

Zwolle, The Netherlands

Living in or visiting Zwolle? Information and useful links for students, locals and tourists.

Information about Zwolle

Zwolle is the capital city of the province of Overijssel, located 120 kilometres northeast of Amsterdam. It has 120.000 inhabitants, who are colloquially referred to as blauwvingers (blue fingers) after a 16th century money-counting fable.

History of Zwolle

Zwolle has been recognised as a city since 1230, although archaeological findings suggest that the area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Its name derives from the word suolle, which roughly translates to hill: a reference to its relative altitude between the rivers Ijssel, Vecht, Aa and Zwarte.

Historically, Zwolle's wealth came from its strategic location as a trading post, as well as its food markets, iron works, tanning industry and boat building facilities.

Sites & Activities in Zwolle

Zwolle’s beautiful Peperbus (pepper box) is one of the tallest and most famous church towers in the Netherlands. For those interested in historical structures, there is also:

  • the Onze Lieve Vrouwe ten Hemelopneming Basilica
  • a Dominican monastery
  • historical city gates called the Sassenpoort
  • the Mosterdmakerstoren (mustard makers’ tower)

Furthermore, in the west of the city there are many impressive Art Nouveau buildings. If you’re into Dutch food, then take note: Zwolle’s De Librije restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars in 2004 (currently one of only two restaurants in the Netherlands with this accolade).

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