Located at the meeting point of several rivers, Zwolle sprawls around a historic centre framed by a star-shaped canal. The area is believed to have been inhabited since the Bronze Age, although the modern settlement was established in the 9th century AD. Zwolle was an important trade hub during the Hanseatic League and many of its buildings date from the period.
Things to do in Zwolle
Dominating the centre of Zwolle is the Grote Kerk, a magnificent Gothic landmark dating back to the 15th century. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael and houses an impressive organ designed by Arp Schnitger. Admire the 17th-century pulpit created by Adam Straesz and the high, narrow windows, which ensure plenty of natural light streams in.
Zwolle is home to one of the finest gatehouses in the Netherlands, the Sassenpoort, which was constructed in 1409 and has been designated as a Rijksmonument. It was meticulously restored in the 1890s, with its crenellated towers and decorative windows watching over the southern entrance to the city centre. Also not to miss is De Peperbus, a striking church tower offering magnificent views across Zwolle.
Art lovers can visit Museum de Fundatie, which showcases artwork dating from the Middle Ages to the present day. Its permanent collection is based on works collected by Dirk Hannema and includes paintings by Marc Chagall, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Citroen. Marvel at the sculptures by Antonio Canova and Gian Lorenzo Bernini or attend one of the temporary exhibitions that regularly take place.
Getting around Zwolle
Zwolle is around 35 minutes’ drive from Apeldoorn and just over an hour from Amsterdam. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is 1.5 hours away. Regular trains connect to the Zwolle railway station and buses travel throughout the city.