Discover historic Zwolle

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Zwolle is a, in the Middle Ages created, fortified city that still has many elements from the past hidden in its streetscape. All these historical places make Zwolle an intimate and romantic city. Go out with your partner and discover all these beautiful places of historical Zwolle.

The Sassenpoort

From the train station you can walk right through the Sassenpoort into the center of Zwolle. But don't stop there, because this historic building simply must be admired! Characteristic of Zwolle as a true Hanseatic city was its city wall. The first city wall was built before 1300 and served as protection against cannon fire and other threats. At various points in the city wall were gates, of which the Sassenpoort is the only remaining gate.

Sassenpoort
Sassenpoort

This special monument therefore has a well-deserved place in the top 100 Dutch UNESCO monuments. A must-visit! Both the architecture and the stories about how the gate used to serve are breathtaking. We highly recommend visiting the Sassenpoort and taking a guided tour!

Curious about the other remains of the city wall? Take a look at the three remaining towers: the Zwanentoren, Wijndragerstoren and Pelsertoren.

City Canals and Bridges

The city defenses are surrounded by the unique star-shaped canal. Zwolle's canals have existed for over 700 years and are a prominent part of historic Zwolle. The canals themselves, in combination with the many canal houses and old bridges, are for many blue-fingered people and tourists their favorite part of Zwolle. Stroll along the canals of Zwolle or rent a boat or sloop and sail along all the special places.

The Thorbeckegracht is one of our favorite canals in Zwolle. With the beautiful warehouses and the moored boats there is always something to admire here. Sail under the Pelserbrug towards the center of Zwolle and discover Zwolle from the water!

Thorbeckegracht
Thorbeckegracht

Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and the Peperbus

The real eyecatcher of Zwolle is the Peperbus. This tower is the bell tower of the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basiliek and was therefore originally called the Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren. The church was built between 1399 and 1454, and about 20 years later the church was provided with the well-known Peperbus.

Peperbus view
Peperbus view

The 75 meter high tower has therefore been an indispensable element of the city for many since the 15th century. Take a look at the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk and dare to climb the Peperbus! Don't forget to bring your camera, because you'll want to capture the view.

The Women's House

Located under the Peperbus, you'll find the Women's House. The building was originally the home of Aleida Greve, a painter from Zwolle. In her will she indicated that after her death her house had to offer shelter to single, elderly women. From 1742 to 1984 this building served as the so-called Women's House. Today, the first floor of the Women's House serves as a museum. The other part of the building is still occupied by women!

Through special interiors you get a picture of the housing of elderly women, from 1680 to 1980. This gives you a unique look back at three centuries of living history in Zwolle. We have to disappoint you: the Vrouwenhuis is currently undergoing restoration. Your visit to the Vrouwenhuis will therefore have to be postponed until early 2023.

The Women's House
The Women's House

The Great Church

The Grote Kerk on the Grote Markt is the largest national monument in Zwolle. The building is over 600 years old and features unique interior pieces, including the world famous Schnitger organ and the pulpit. While you're in the imposing city church, check out the book market, exhibitions and the Academiehuis. The Academy House caters to the youth and offers interactive activities to connect them with the church's special history.

Angel Michael
Angel Michael

Also stop by the beautiful Angel Michael, in the middle of the Grand Market. This statue is made entirely of glass and is considered the patron saint of Zwolle. According to legend, Michael protected Zwolle from a dragon.

Historic Zwolle with a modern twist

Zwolle is a historic city, but also very progressive. And that makes Zwolle such a unique and popular city! For example, the medieval city center is the place where you can find trendy stores and restaurants. We are fans of this combination of old and new! Van der Velde in de Broeren is such a place in Zwolle, where historical elements have been given a modern twist. This bookstore is in fact located in a 15th century church. Many authentic elements have been preserved in this unique store. Just walk in and admire!

Museum de Fundatie is also highly recommended when it comes to historic Zwolle. This museum for visual arts is the perfect location for a nice afternoon out with your partner and has something for every art lover. Just the neoclassical building itself is a historical highlight of Zwolle. And then there is much more beauty waiting for you inside!

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