Zwolle (Dutch: [ˈzʋɔlə] (listen)) is a city and municipality in the northeastern Netherlands serving as Overijssel's capital. With a population of 125,806, it is the second-largest municipality of the province after Enschede.

Sassenstraat 1-15, Zwolle
Diezerstraat - Grote Markt, Zwolle - BB - 1
Museum de Fundatie Panorama
Luttekestraat 12-16, Zwolle - BB
City Centre, 8011 Zwolle, Netherlands - panoramio (12)
Images, from top down, left to right: Sassenstraat,
Grote Markt, Museum de Fundatie, Luttekestraat,
and the Binnenstad
Flag of Zwolle

Coat of arms of Zwolle

Coat of arms
Location in Overijssel
Location in Overijssel
Coordinates: 52°31′N 6°6′E / 52.517°N 6.100°ECoordinates: 52°31′N 6°6′E / 52.517°N 6.100°E
Province Overijssel
 • BodyMunicipal council
 • MayorHenk Jan Meijer (VVD)
 • Municipality119.36 km2 (46.09 sq mi)
 • Land111.38 km2 (43.00 sq mi)
 • Water7.98 km2 (3.08 sq mi)
Elevation4 m (13 ft)
 (Municipality, August 2017; Urban and Metro, May 2014)[4][5]
 • Municipality125,806
 • Density1,130/km2 (2,900/sq mi)
 • Urban
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Area code038


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: Lourens & Lucassen 1997, pp. 83–84

Archaeological findings indicate that the area surrounding Zwolle has been inhabited for a long time. A woodhenge that was found in the Zwolle-Zuid suburb in 1993 was dated to the Bronze Age period.[6][7] During the Roman era, the area was inhabited by Salian Franks.

The modern city was founded around 800 CE by Frisian merchants and troops of Charlemagne.[8] The name Zwolle is derived from the word Suolle, which means "hill" (cf. the English cognate verb "to swell"). This refers to an incline in the landscape between the four rivers surrounding the city, IJssel, Vecht, Aa and Zwarte Water. The hill was the only piece of land that would remain dry during the frequent floodings of the rivers. Zwolle was established on that incline.

A document mentions the existence of a parish church dedicated to St Michael. That church, the Grote or Sint Michaëlskerk (big or Saint Michael Church), was renovated in the first half of the 15th century and exists to this day. The church contains a richly carved pulpit, the work of Adam Straes van Weilborch (about 1620), some good carving and an exquisite organ (1721).

On August 31, 1230, the bishop of Utrecht granted Zwolle city rights. Zwolle became a member of the Hanseatic league in 1294, and in 1361 joined the war between the Hanseatic League and Valdemar IV of Denmark. In the 1370 Treaty of Stralsund that ended the war, Zwolle was awarded a vitte, a trade colony, in Scania, then part of Denmark. Zwolle's golden age came in the 15th century. Between 1402 and 1450, the city's Gross Regional Product multiplied by about six.[9]

In July 1324 and October 1361, regional noblemen set fire to Zwolle. In the 1324 fire, only nine buildings escaped the flames.[10]

Blaeu 1652 - Zwolle
Map of Zwolle by Joan Blaeu in Blaeu's "Toonneel der Steden", 1652

Zwolle was also, with Deventer, one of the centers of the Brethren of the Common Life, a monastic movement. 5 km (3 mi) from Zwolle, on a slight eminence called the Agnietenberg, (hill of St Agnes), once stood the Augustinian convent in which Thomas à Kempis spent the greatest part of his life and died (in 1471).[11]

At least as early as 1911, Zwolle had a considerable trade by river, a large fish market, and the most important cattle market in the Netherlands after Rotterdam. The more important industries comprised cotton manufactures, iron works, boat-building, dyeing and bleaching, tanning, rope-making, and salt-making.[11]

De Librije

In World War II, Zwolle was single-handedly liberated from the Germans by French Canadian soldier Léo Major.[12] He was made an honorary citizen of Zwolle in 2005 and a street is named for him.

In 2004, Zwolle's De Librije restaurant was honored with 3 stars by Michelin Guide; as of 2018, it is one of only three restaurants so honored in the entire country.


Citizens of Zwolle are colloquially known as Blauwvingers (Bluefingers). This dates back to 1682, when the St Michael's church tower collapsed. The authorities were strapped for cash and saw no option but to sell the church bells to neighbouring city Kampen. To make sure that Kampen would not make too much profit from the deal, the local authorities asked a high price for the church bells. Kampen accepted, yet after the arrival of the bells it became clear, they were too damaged to be played. In revenge, Kampen paid in copper coins of four duiten (the equivalent of two-and-a-half cents). Zwolle distrusted Kampen and wanted to be sure they truly paid the entire price. After the rigorous counting of this vast amount of money, their fingers had turned blue from the copper.[13][14]


Dutch Topographic map of the city of Zwolle, September 2014

Besides the Grote or Sint Michaëlskerk (the latter which houses a majestic Baroque organ built by Arp Schnitger), there are several other historic monuments in Zwolle. The Roman Catholic Onze Lieve Vrouwe ten Hemelopneming-basilica (Our Lady Ascension) dates back to 1399. The church tower, called Peperbus (pepperbox), is one of the tallest and most famous church towers in the Netherlands. The modernized town hall was originally built in 1448.[11]

Mention should also be made of the Sassenpoort (one of the old city gates), the city walls, the Mosterdmakerstoren (mustard makers' tower)(the complex where local mustard used to be made), a guild-house (1571), the former provincial government offices, a Dominican monastery, and on the Melkmarkt, two museums; the Stedelijk Museum Zwolle of antiquities and natural history, and the Vrouwenhuis. Museum de Fundatie, the fine art museum of the province of Overijssel, is hosted in the former Justice Hall on Blijmarkt Square.

In the western part of the city, west of the railway station, there is a quarter of Art Nouveau buildings, concentrated mostly on Koningin Wilhelminastraat, Prinses Julianastraat, and Prins Hendrikstraat. These three-store living houses were built in 1900s by various Dutch architects. Eleven of the buildings are protected by the Dutch government (rijksmonumenten).

The Broerenkerk church was part of the Dominican monastery founded in 1465. The monastery was closed in 1580 and the monks were expelled. From 1640 until 1982 the church was used for Protestant services. After a restoration in 1983-1988 it has been used for cultural events and it is now a bookstore.[15][16]

Image gallery

Zwolle, Thorbeckegracht


Peperbus, Eekwal

Peperbus from the Eekwal. The house in front really is that crooked.

Zwolle, Praubstraat

Praubstraat, inner city

Zwolle Sassenpoort


Zwolle, Rijke Fratershuis

The Rich Friar House a center of the Devotio Moderna and later the home of Willem Bartjens

Organ in Broerenkerk, Zwolle, 2013

The organ in Broerenkerk

Zwolle Prins Hendrikstraat Gate

The Art Nouveau gate at Prins Hendrikstraat 1-3-5. 1902, architect Geurt Gijsbertus Post.

Zwolle, fontein in Stadsgracht bij Museum de Fundatie foto4 2016-06-05 10.03

Fountain near Museum de Fundatie

Notable residents

See also People from Zwolle
Arts, culture, entertainment and the media

Educational institutions

Zwolle is home to several universities and colleges:


4011 en 4012 in Zwolle
Zwolle railway station with ICMm train

Road transport

Zwolle is a hub in the national highway network, and gateway to northern Netherlands. This is reflected in the high traffic volumes in and around the city. The A28 serves Zwolle with 4 exits, and runs from Utrecht to Groningen. It is being widened to 8 lanes across the IJssel River and 6 lanes from Zwolle to Meppel in 2010 and 2011. The motorway initially opened between 1964 and 1970.[17] Another motorway, the A50, interchanges with A28 just west of the city, offering a route for southbound traffic to Apeldoorn and Eindhoven.

The N35 highway starts in Zwolle, where it forms the eastern section of the ring road of Zwolle, it runs as a non-motorway to Almelo and continues to Enschede as A35 motorway. The ringroad is mainly a 4-lane road, with numerous traffic lights. It forms a full ring, and also exists out of the N337 highway that runs to Deventer. Other sections of the ring road are not numbered. Parts of the ring road were widened to six lanes in 2010. Other numbered highways running from Zwolle are N331 to Hasselt, N758 to Nieuwleusen, N340 to Ommen and N764 to Kampen.


Due to nearby rivers, there are several major bridges in and around Zwolle. The most important bridge is the IJssel Bridge where the A28 motorway runs across. It was completed in 1970 and carries over 125.000 vehicles per day. Adjacent to this bridge is the older IJssel Bridge, which opened in 1930 and was destroyed twice during World War II. A third IJssel Bridge is the railway bridge (called Hanze boog) which carries the railway line from Zwolle to Amersfoort, and from 2012, to Lelystad. There are several bridges across the Zwarte Water River, including two 4-lane bridges, a 2-lane bridge, and a bus/bicycle bridge. There is also a bridge across the Vecht, which carries A28 motorway. Another local bridge is adjacent to this bridge. A third bridge carries rail traffic to Leeuwarden and Groningen. Numerous local bridges exist around the historic city center.

Rail transport

The first train in Zwolle arrived on June 6, 1864. Today the city has rail connections in eight directions (viz. Kampen, Leeuwarden, Groningen, Emmen, Enschede, Arnhem/Nijmegen, Lelystad/Amsterdam, and Amersfoort).

The rail connection with Amsterdam via Lelystad – the Hanzelijn – is operational since December 2012.

Water transport

Zwolle is located on or near three rivers (Zwarte Water, Vecht, and IJssel), several canals (the now disused Willemsvaart, Nieuwe Vecht and Overijssels Kanaal and the modern Zwolle-IJssel Kanaal). There are some water-related industries in Zwolle, mainly in the Voorst industrial area.

International relations

Twin towns—sister cities

Zwolle is currently twinned with:

In the past, Zwolle had partnerships with:


  1. ^ "Portefeuille burgemeester Henk Jan Meijer" [Tasks of mayor Henk Jan Meijer] (in Dutch). Gemeente Zwolle. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Kerncijfers wijken en buurten" [Key figures for neighbourhoods]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 2 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Postcodetool for 8011PK". Actueel Hoogtebestand Nederland (in Dutch). Het Waterschapshuis. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  4. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Bevolkingsontwikkeling; regio per maand" [Population growth; regions per month]. CBS Statline (in Dutch). CBS. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  6. ^ Theo Holleman (1996), Een verleden op de schop, University Press, Amsterdam, ISBN 90-5356-189-7
  7. ^ Hove, ten J. (2005). Geschiedenis van Zwolle Zwolle: Waanders. ISBN 90-400-9050-5
  8. ^ F.C. Berkenvelder (1980). "Het begin". Zwolle 750 jaar stad (in Dutch). Waanders. Archived from the original on 2006-08-16. Retrieved 2007-03-17.
  9. ^ F.C. Berkenvelder (1980). "De handel en de Hanze". Zwolle 750 jaar stad (in Dutch). Waanders. Retrieved 2007-03-17. De stedelijke geldmiddelen, het nationaal inkomen zouden wij nu zeggen, die in 1402 nog 6.000 gulden bedroegen waren in 1450 bijna verzesvoudigd tot 34.000 gulden. (Translated: The city's financial resources, the national income as we would now call it, which were 6,000 guilders in 1402, had by 1450 multiplied by six to 34,000 guilders.)
  10. ^ "Zwolle op keerpunt van bestaan" (in Dutch). De Stentor. 2005-03-02.
  11. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Zwolle". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 1064.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Boxma, Willem (2001). "Steuren, blauwvingers, kwekweschudders en tukkers. Schimpnamen in Overijssel". Traditie. Tijdschrift over tradities en trends. (in Dutch). 2: 26–27. ISSN 1382-4104.
  14. ^ "In welke stad wonen de blauwvingers?" (in Dutch). Nederlands Centrum voor Volkscultuur. Archived from the original on January 11, 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  15. ^ "Zwolle (Ov): Broerenkerk". Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  16. ^ Scholten, Rick. "Waanders in the Broerenkerk". Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  17. ^ "completion dates A28 at".


  • Lourens, Piet; Lucassen, Jan (1997). Inwonertallen van Nederlandse steden ca. 1300–1800. Amsterdam: NEHA. ISBN 9057420082.

External links

2013–14 KNVB Cup

The 2013–14 KNVB Cup is the 96th season of the Dutch national football knockout tournament. The competition began on 28 August 2013 with the matches of Round 1 and ends with the final on 20 April 2014. AZ are the defending champions having won the cup the previous season.

The winner qualifies for the play-off round of the 2014–15 UEFA Europa League.

2014 Johan Cruyff Shield

The 2014 Johan Cruyff Shield was the nineteenth Johan Cruyff Shield (Dutch: Johan Cruijff Schaal), an annual Dutch football match played between the winners of the previous season's Eredivisie and KNVB Cup. The match was contested by PEC Zwolle, the 2013–14 KNVB Cup winners, and Ajax, champions of the 2013–14 Eredivisie. It was held at the Amsterdam Arena on 3 August 2014. PEC Zwolle won the match 1–0.Coincidentally, the match was a repeat of last season's KNVB Cup final, which PEC Zwolle emphatically won 5–1 despite conceding early and major crowd disturbance from Ajax fans in the crowd at De Kuip, home of Ajax' rivals Feyenoord.

Arie Slob

Arie Slob (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈaːri ˈslɔp]; born 16 November 1961) is a Dutch politician and history teacher serving as Minister for Primary and Secondary Education and Media in the Third Rutte cabinet since 26 October 2017.

A member of the Christian Union (CU), he was a member of the House of Representatives from 19 November 2002 until 1 December 2015. From 28 April 2011 to 10 November 2015, he was also party leader and parliamentary leader, in both positions succeeding André Rouvoet. He focused on matters of the Royal House, security, constitutional rights, infrastructure and fishery.

Georg Keßler

Georg Kessler (born 23 September 1932) is a former German football manager.

Gregg Berhalter

Gregg Berhalter (, bər-HAWL-tər; born August 1, 1973) is an American retired soccer player and head coach of the United States men's national soccer team. Berhalter previously coached Columbus Crew SC in Major League Soccer, Hammarby IF in Sweden, and served as an assistant coach for the LA Galaxy.

Henk-Jan Zwolle

Henk-Jan Zwolle (born 30 November 1964 in Enschede, Overijssel) is a former rower from the Netherlands and two-time Olympic medallist. He competed in three consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1988.Zwolle and Nico Rienks won gold in double sculls at the 1991 World Rowing Championships in Vienna. The following year, they won a bronze medal in the men's double sculls at the 1992 Summer Olympics. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, he claimed the gold medal in the men's eight event with the Holland Acht (Holland Eight).He married fellow Dutch rower Tessa Appeldoorn in October 1998.

Hennie Spijkerman

Hennie Spijkerman (born 28 October 1950 in Zwolle) is a Dutch football coach and former player who was most recently assistant manager to Marcel Keizer for Eredivisie side AFC Ajax.During his playing career, he played as a goalkeeper for both PEC Zwolle and Go Ahead Eagles. Following his playing career he became the assistant manager for Go Ahead Eagles, and then manager for Rohda Raalte, SV Urk, VVV-Venlo, FC Emmen, PEC Zwolle and HFC Haarlem. He has served two terms as assistant manager for Ajax, and was briefly appointed as technical director of Ajax Cape Town in 2010.

Jaap Stam

Jakob Stam (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈjaːp ˈstɑm]; born 17 July 1972) is a Dutch professional football manager and former player who played as a centre-back. He was known for possessing "a rare combination of speed, strength and ball-playing ability", as well as an excellent positional sense. Due to his wide range of skills, in his prime he was also capable of playing as a full back on the right flank.. He is the manager of Eredivisie club Feyenoord.

Stam played for several European clubs including PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, Milan and Ajax before retiring in October 2007. As well as club trophies, he won several personal awards, including being voted the best defender in the 1998–99 and 1999–2000 UEFA Champions League. Stam played 67 international matches for the Netherlands, scoring three goals. He was in their squads for three UEFA European Championships and the 1998 FIFA World Cup. After retiring as a player, Stam worked as a coach at PEC Zwolle and Ajax before making his managerial debut with Reading in 2016.

Landstede Basketbal

Landstede Basketbal, also known as Landstede Zwolle, is a Dutch basketball organisation from Zwolle. The club currently plays in the Dutch Basketball League (DBL), the Dutch top tier division. The club was founded as Cees Lubbers The Hammers in 1995. In 1999, the club’s name was changed into Landstede Hammers. In 2001, the club received its current name Landstede Basketbal. The home games of the club are played in the Landstede Sportcentrum.

In its existence, Landstede has been the runner-up of the DBL three times. In 2017, the club captured its first trophy when it won the Dutch Supercup. Two years later, Landstede won its first DBL championship in the 2018–19 season.

MAC³PARK Stadion

MAC³PARK Stadion (Dutch pronunciation: [mɛɡˈdripɑrk ˌstaːdijɔn]) is a multi-use stadium in Zwolle, Netherlands. It is used mostly for football matches and hosts the home matches of PEC Zwolle. The stadium has an official capacity of 12,500. The stadium replaced Oosterenkstadion as the home of PEC Zwolle.

On 12 July 2012 PEC Zwolle announced the new name for their home ground, IJsseldelta Stadion. The current name, MAC³PARK Stadion, was unveiled in November 2015 and officially adopted on 1 July 2016.

PEC Zwolle

PEC Zwolle is a Dutch football club based in Zwolle, currently playing in the Eredivisie, the country's highest level of professional club football. They have played in the Eredivisie for a total of 16 seasons, reaching sixth place in 2015. They won the KNVB Cup in 2014 and also reached the final in 1928, 1977 and 2015.

This is the second incarnation of the club; its predecessor of the same name went bankrupt in 1990. The current club was founded immediately afterwards as FC Zwolle before renaming back to PEC Zwolle in 2012.

Peter Wessels

Peter Wessels (born 7 May 1978) is a presently inactive tour professional male tennis player from the Netherlands. He achieved his career-high singles ranking of world No. 72 in February 2005.

Piet Schrijvers

Pieter "Piet" Schrijvers (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈpitər ˈpit ˈsxrɛivərs]; born December 15, 1946) is a professional Dutch football manager and former player, who played as a goalkeeper. At international level, he was a member of the Netherlands squads which finished runner up in both the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups. At club level, he spent nine years with AFC Ajax, winning five Eredivisie titles and two KNVB Cups.

Rinus Israël

Marinus "Rinus" David Israël (born 19 March 1942 in Amsterdam) is a former Dutch football player, manager and currently scout. Nicknamed "Iron Rinus" he formed a solid defence line at Feyenoord with Theo Laseroms.

Ron Jans

Ron Jans (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔn ˈjɑns], born 29 September 1958) is a Dutch football manager and a former player in the role of Striker. Jans has last been the manager of PEC Zwolle.

Sepp van den Berg

Sepp van den Berg (born 20 December 2001) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays as centre-back for English Premier League club Liverpool.

Tomáš Necid

Tomáš Necid (Czech pronunciation: [ˈtomaːʃ ˈnɛtsɪt]; born 13 August 1989) is a Czech professional footballer who plays as a striker in the Netherlands for ADO Den Haag, and the Czech Republic national team.He is the older brother of Simona Necidová, who is also an international footballer.

Trent Sainsbury

Trent Lucas Sainsbury (born 5 January 1992) is an Australian professional soccer player who plays as a centre back for PSV Eindhoven and the Australia national team.

Sainsbury was born in Thornlie, Perth and played youth football with Perth Glory and the Australian Institute of Sport before starting his professional career with Central Coast Mariners. Sainsbury moved to PEC Zwolle in 2014.

Sainsbury has made over forty appearances for the Australian national team, scoring three times. He was a member of the Australia team which won the 2015 AFC Asian Cup.

Zwolle railway station

Zwolle is the main railway station of Zwolle, Netherlands. The station opened on 6 June 1864 and is on the Utrecht–Kampen railway, also known as the Centraalspoorweg, the Zwolle–Almelo railway, the Arnhem–Leeuwarden railway, the Zwolle–Stadskanaal railway and the Lelystad–Zwolle railway, also known as the Hanzelijn.

The station is a major hub for the Northern Netherlands. It is the only way trains can get from the north of the country, to any other region of the Netherlands.

Places adjacent to Zwolle
Members of the Hanseatic League by quarter
Other cities
Municipalities of Overijssel
Populated places in the municipality of Zwolle


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.