De peperbus in Zwolle met daarvoor oude gevels.

Discover Zwolle: A Historical Treasure in the Heart of the Netherlands

Discover Zwolle: Zwolle, first of all a city known for its rich history, beautiful scenery and hospitality, is the perfect destination for a day out or a longer stay. Whether you are interested in history, art, or just want to enjoy Dutch culture, Zwolle has something for everyone. In this comprehensive guide, we explore the historical sights as well as the most beautiful places and give practical tips for your visit to this enchanting city. In short, during a vacation in Zwolle, there is something for everyone.

Historical Sights in Zwolle: A Journey Through Time

Zwolle is rich in historical monuments that bear witness to its ancient past. Most websites provide the standard monuments however L3V3L, on the other hand, has delved much deeper into history and found a wealth of interesting information. In addition, on this page you will find a wealth of tourist information for Zwolle and the surrounding area.

The Peppermill: Iconic Symbol of Zwolle

Perhaps the most frequently used search term by tourists wishing to visit Zwolle is “Peperbus Zwolle. This iconic tower in the shape of a pepper pot has a rich history. Therefore, for the active tourist, climbing to the top of the Peperbus is an unforgettable experience with stunning views of the city. If you look around from the Peperbus, you can see the old shape of the city where the moat lies in a star shape around the center. What even most Zwolle residents do not know is that there have been a large number of towers in Zwolle. For example, most of them were found on the city wall while some towers could be found in the heart of Zwolle. At the time, one of those towers was the tallest tower in the Netherlands. This tower of the Great Church was even taller than the Dom tower in Utrecht, for example.

In 1815 a fire destroyed the upper part of the famous tower, the peperbus, in Zwolle. This drawing was made with a view from the Drakentoren.the Peperbus of Zwolle. This tower is part of the city game The Treasure of Simon Pinet.
Zwolle’s Peperbus during the 1815 fire and a photo from 2024. Use the slider to take a closer look at both photos.
  • fort Peperbus
  • fort Dragon Tower
  • fort Old Kruittoren
  • fort Gelderland tower
  • fort Lescker Gerritstoren
  • fort Trump Tower
  • fort Flushing tower also called midwife tower
  • fort Kruitmakerstoren or also called Wood Tower
  • fort Streetmaker Tower
  • fort Bulderbast Tower or also called Tower Mill
  • fort Fur Tower
  • fort Vineyard tower
  • fort Swan Tower
  • fort Jan Baghstoren
  • fort Rodetorenpoort also called Pronktoren
  • fort Organist tower
  • fort City redoubt tower

    City Game

    While creating the City Game The Treasure of Simon Pinet, its creator, Jachin Letwory, was able to find out the exact locations of where all the towers stood. This city game is the ideal way to explore Zwolle. Back for a moment to Zwolle’s icon, the Peperbus. If you stand atop the tower and look toward the southeast, you will see Zwolle’s only remaining city gate.

    Sassenpoort: Gateway to the Past

    The Sassenpoort is Zwolle’s only remaining gate. For a small fee, you can take a look inside the gate. After gaining access, you will find several floors where you will discover more information about Zwolle and the Sassenpoort. Want to know if the gate is open. Then check out the Sassenpoort website. Zwolle’s city wall still had several gates:

    • fort Sassenpoort
    • fort Crest Gate or also called Camper Gate
    • fort Luttikepoort
    • fort Diezerpoort (this gate is still partially visible)
    • fort Vispoort or also called Vischpoort
    • fort Steenpoort (this gate is still partially visible)
    • fort Rodetorenpoort
    • fort Waterpoort

      Want to visit all the locations of the towers and gates? Then you should definitely do the interactive city walk The Treasure of Simon Pinet. During this city walk, you will discover the story behind Simon Pinet by doing fun assignments at the different sites. This way you will discover Zwolle in an active way. You’ll also find out where Zwolle’s “secret moat” runs. In fact, there used to be two waters across the city. To keep everything easily accessible, there were also several bridges. The bridge with the most evocative name, though, is the Black Raven Bridge.

      Black Raven Bridge: One of 8 bridges in Zwolle’s historic center

      In 1817, a textbook was published in Zwolle for schoolchildren. In it it is told that there are 18 bridges of which firstly 6 are wooden bridges and secondly 12 are stone bridges. In addition to this list of bridges, there have been other bridges over the centuries.

      6 Wooden bridges

      • explore Schoekhoven Bridge
      • explore Outside Dieserpoorten Bridge
      • explore Inside Dieserpoorten Bridge
      • explore Fish Gate Bridge
      • explore Crest Gate Bridge
      • explore Sassenpoortenbrug

        12 stone bridges

        • explore Peter van Akens Bridge or also called the Blue Hands Bridge
        • explore Guest House Bridge
        • explore Old Fish Market Bridge
        • explore Inner-Rooden-Tower-Bridge or also previously called the Bloemendals Bridge
        • explore Forge Bridge
        • explore Black Raven Bridge
        • explore Broerenbridge
        • explore Vischpoortenplasbrugje
        • explore Stone Gate Bridge
        • explore Swan Bridge
        • explore Outer-Rooden-Tower Bridge

          Other Zwolle bridges

          In addition to the list of historic bridges, there are several more bridges in Zwolle right near the center or in the surrounding area. For both hikers and cyclists, these bridges are fun to visit. Some bridges play an important role in Zwolle’s history.

          • explore Rodetower Bridge
          • explore Pelser Bridge
          • explore Polka Bridge
          • explore Spider House Bridge
          • explore Kattenbeltsch bridge
          • explore IJssel Bridge
          • explore IJssel Bridge or also called Katerveer Bridge
          • explore Hanzeboog
          • explore Berkummer Bridge
          • explore Mastenbroeker Bridge
          • explore Twistvliet Bridge
          • explore Passerelle

            Top Locations in Zwolle: Must-Visit Attractions

            Discover the beauty and hidden treasures of Zwolle. Earlier we talked about the gates, towers and bridges of Zwolle. But that is certainly not all that makes Zwolle worth visiting. What about nature, art and culture. A visit to Zwolle also means enjoying one of the many outdoor cafes and ending the day at one of the many restaurants. From cozy local restaurants to a three-star restaurant. If you want to eat there, plan your visit far, far in advance because the waiting list is very long.

            The English Work: Nature at its Best

            ‘The English Work Park’ is a popular spot for nature lovers and offers a serene escape from city life. Once at English Work, you almost don’t believe that you’re only a 10-minute bike ride away from downtown. The park is located right next to the river IJssel where you can easily see the previously mentioned bridges. Of course, there are other parks and forests you can visit in Zwolle. So there are plenty of places to explore in the Zwolle area.

            Photo: Education geek, CC BY-SA 2.5 EN, via Wikimedia Commons
            • nature Park de Wezenlanden
            • nature Ter Pelkwijk Park
            • nature Park the Suekerbult
            • nature Park Eekhout
            • nature Westerveld Forest
            • nature Zandhove Forest
            • nature The Leemkule (Hattem)
            • nature Zwolse Bos (Heerde)
            • nature Wijthmenerplas

              Museum de Fundatie: Art and Culture

              If, besides the Peperbus and the Sassenpoort, a third Zwolle landmark building should be mentioned, it is certainly Museum de Fundatie. On top of the roof is a giant egg placed and a golden dove. The museum is worth visiting, especially since you can also walk around in the : “egg” to see exhibits. Besides this Zwolle visual arts museum, there are several places of cultural and artistic interest that you can visit in Zwolle and in the surroundings of Zwolle.

              Museum de Fundatie in Zwolle with its landmark egg and golden dove on the roof.
              Photo: © Venemama |

              Explore Zwolle’s museums

              • museum Herman Brood Museum
              • museum Sinterklaas Museum
              • museum ANNO City Museum Zwolle
              • museum Anningahof Estate
              • museum art space the Langhuis
              • museum Anton Pieck Museum (Hattem)
              • museum Voerman City Museum (Hattem)
              • museum Nederlands Bakkerijmuseum (Hattem)
              • museum Historical Museum Overijssel
              • museum The Women’s House
              • museum Bonami Game Computer Museum
              • museum Historical Museum Overijssel
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