Zwolle Mini Guide
Tell me Something About Zwolle
The name of the city comes from the Dutch meaning ‘a swelling of the landscape’ and denotes the hill upon which the city was originally built to avoid flooding from the four rivers that surround it. The city was first established over 1,200 years ago by the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne who settled it with merchants from Danish Frisia. Over the centuries its importance grew and it was accorded city status. However in the 14th century, jealous noblemen set fire to the city and it was all but destroyed. Much of the old town you can see today comes from the reconstruction of the city. Zwolle has retained much of its old world charm, especially around the buildings of the old town and is capital of its region.
How do I get to Zwolle?
The easiest way to get into the city is to fly into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport
. The airport has many scheduled flights from all across Europe and is served by several easyJet flights from the UK, America and the Middle East. The city is about an hour by road from Amsterdam’s airport but a better way of getting to the city from Amsterdam is by train. Although taking thirty minutes longer, the train takes you directly from the airport to the centre of Zwolle. Groningen Airport is closer but only has flights from Aberdeen in the UK and is still nearly an hour from the city.
What Should I see and do in Zwolle?
The answer is to explore its historical and unusual buildings. There’s the Mustard Maker’s Tower, part of a complex that used to process mustard seed in the city. You should also try to climb the ‘Pepperbox’, the tallest church tower in Holland. You can walk around the lines of the old city wall, sadly no longer in existence but demarcated by the canals that now fill the defensive ditches outside the former walls.
What Should I eat in the City?
In this part of Holland, pork is a very popular dish and comes in a variety of forms. The city is also home to De Librije, one of only two restaurants with three Michelin stars in Holland. Booking is essential but the food is worth the wait and the price.De Librije
What can I buy to Take Home with me?
Zwolle was a very important leather producing city in the last century but still today it’s possible to find shops selling leather goods from hides processed in the city. Many of the items are specialist pieces and some workshops will make bespoke goods. Handbags, wallets and purses make great gifts. Be there on 'Bluefingers Days' every Wednesday in July for a market with lots of ideas for gifts from Zwolle.
What Does the City do to Celebrate?
Life in the city is generally very quiet with most cultural events being indoors such as concerts, operas and exhibitions. There are a number of quaint bars in the old town which are popular with students as well as tourists and you can usually guarantee a lively time there.
Car hire in Zwolle allows you to see this Overijssel municipality. It also gives you the flexibility to drive to the Dutch capital which is 120 kilometres away. Zwolle has an interesting history and in 1294 the city became a member of the Hanseatic League.
In the 14th century Zwolle was subject to a devastating fire in which many buildings were burned down. By the beginning of the 20th century Zwolle had become a market town trading fish and cattle. Then the city had to deal with the horrors of World War II before being liberated by Canadian soldiers.