is a municipality
and the capital city of the province of Overijssel
, 120 kilometers northeast of Amsterdam
. Zwolle has about 115,000 citizens.
finds 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. During the Roman era, the area was inhabited by Salian Franks
The modern city was founded around 800 A.D. by Frisian merchants and troops of Charlemagne. 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, Sweden. Zwolle's golden age came in the 15th century. Between 1402 and 1450, the city's Gross Regional Product multiplied by about six.
In July 1324 and in October 1361, regional noblemen set fire to Zwolle. In the 1324 fire, only nine buildings escaped the flames.
Zwolle was also, with Deventer, one of the centers of the Brethren of the Common Life, a monastic movement. Three miles 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).
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.
In 2004, Zwolle's De Librije restaurant was honored with 3 stars by Michelin; as of 2007, with the demotion of Parkheuvel from 3 to 1 star, it is one of only two restaurants so honored in the entire country.
Citizens of Zwolle are colloquially known as Blauwvingers
(Bluefingers). This dates back to a local legend that the local authorities were one day strapped for cash and saw no option but to sell church bells
to neighbouring city Kampen
. To make sure Kampen did not make too much profit from the deal, the local authorities asked a high price for the church bells. Kampen agreed to the deal, on the condition that they could choose their own way of paying for the church bells. Zwolle consented, and Kampen paid in copper coins of four duiten
(the equivalent of 2-and-a-half cents
). Because of their distrust, Zwolle wanted to be sure Kampen had truly paid the entire price. The local authorities therefore counted the money until their fingers had turned blue from the copper.
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.
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 a museum of antiquities and natural history.
- See also People from ZwolleArts, culture, entertainment and the media
- Hein Boele (born November 24 1939), actor;
- Jonnie Boer (born 1965), chef with three Michelin stars;
- Gerard ter Borch (1617–1681), painter;
- Tooske Breugem (born 1974), television host (Idols, TMF, MTV Netherlands), actress;
- Herman Brood (November 5 1946–July 11 2001), painter/rock star;
- Eef Brouwers (born 1939), journalist and former head of the Netherlands Government Information Service;
- A. den Doolaard (February 7 1901–June 26 1994), author;
- Rhijnvis Feith (1753–1824), author;
- Bennie den Haan (born February 3 1970), GTST actor;
- Eli Heimans (1861–1914), author;
- Marnix Kappers (born 1943), actor;
- Ton Koopman (born 12 October 1944), a conductor, organist and harpsichordist.
- Joost Marsman (born 1974), singer for rock group I.O.S.;
- Robbie Muntz (born 1963), television and radio programme maker;
- Opgezwolle, rap crew
- Everhardus Johannes Potgieter (1808–1875), author;
- Joan Remmelts (August 12 1905–December 19 1987), actor;
- Danny Rook (born October 6 1971), television host;
- Emmy van Swoll (August 6 1897–May 27 1990), actor;
- Bert Tigchelaar (1946–2004), journalist, news correspondent in Berlin;
- Jan Vayne (Jan Veenje) (born June 6 1966), pianist;
- Charlotte Wessels, singer of DelainReligion
- Johannes Busch (1399–c. 1480), church reformer and provost of the Augustinian monastic order;
- Andreas Ignatius Schaepman (1815–1882), Archbishop of Utrecht; Politics
- Laurens Jan Brinkhorst (born 1937), former Minister of Economic Affairs;
- Joan van der Capellen tot den Pol (1741–1784)
- Willem Johan Lucas Grobbée (1822–1907), Minister of Finance from 1883 to 1885;
- Johannes ter Pelkwijk (August 26 1769–November 18 1834)
- Johan Rudolf Thorbecke (1798–1872), Prime Minister of the Netherlands (1849–1853, 1862–1866, 1871–1872);Sports
- Jeroen Dubbeldam (born 1973), 2000 Olympic Equestrian champion;
- Harry Duiven Jr. (born 1987), heavyweight boxer;
- Marten Eikelboom (born 1973), hockey player;
- Martin Haar (born 1952), former football defender;
- Ron Jans (born September 29 1958), soccer trainer;
- Jo van Marle (1925–1995) president of the Royal Netherlands Football Association from 1980 to 1993, treasurer of UEFA from 1984 to 1995.
- Eric Pierik (born 1959), field hockey player
- Peter Wessels (born 1978), tennis player.Science
- Thomas Joannes Stieltjes (1856–1894), mathematician/civil engineer/politician;
Zwolle is home to four institutes of technology
Zwolle is located on or near three rivers
, and IJssel
), several canals
(the now disused Willemsvaart, Nieuwe Vecht and Overijssels Kanaal and the modern Zwolle-IJssel Kanaal).
As for transportation by land:
Zwolle is connected by the following three major roads:
The first train in Zwolle arrived on June 6 1864. Today the city has rail connections in seven directions.(viz. Kampen, Leeuwarden, Groningen, Emmen, Enschede, Arnhem/Nijmegen, and Amersfoort).
A rail connection with Amsterdam via Lelystad will open in 2012. For more information see Hanzelijn.
Zwolle is currently twinned with:
In the past, Zwolle had partnerships with: