Sassenpoort Zwolle

Sassenpoort Zwolle: Every visitor and even resident should visit this landmark gate at least once. As part of Zwolle’s city wall, this tall gate was built in the early 15th century, probably 1409.

Sassenpoort then and now

Municipality of Zwolle should be glad that the, close to the central station, entrance gate is still part of the Dutch monuments. In past centuries, Zwolle experienced bouts of demolition rage. Thus, most of the towers and gates have been partially or completely demolished. This part of the city defenses fortunately still belongs to the Hanseatic city of Zwolle and can still be visited almost daily. This is arranged by the Sassenpoort operating foundation.

Sassenpoort: the entrance to the city of Zwolle

A dozen years ago, the gate’s wide passageway was still accessible to vehicles. Fortunately, Zwolle does a lot of cultural heritage preservation these days, and the passageway is only accessible to pedestrians and cyclists. If you need to go to the center of Zwolle by car, you can drive right past the Sassenpoort. Although it is not recommended to go into the center by car. Parking is plentiful at the edge of the historic center, where centuries ago the city’s walls were found.

The Sassenpoort inside

If you go to the second floor of the building, you pass through a great stone staircase. Do watch your head and hold on tightly to a rope that serves as a banister. The interior of the gate is a mix of authentic features and lots of interesting information about the Sassenpoort and Zwolle.

Learn more about the Sassenpoort

Because the Sassenpoort no longer needed to perform its purpose as a defense of the city due to the construction of more modern fortifications, the gate was used as a prison in the seventeenth century. In 1793, the last prisoner left the gate and the Sassenpoort was inhabited by poor families after a thorough remodeling of the interior. Presumably at this time the roof spire was replaced by a classicist domed tower.

The Sassenpoort as an archive

What is also worth mentioning is that between 1894 and 1897 the then wooden bell tower was replaced by the current pointed tower. Not long after, this main remnant of Zwolle’s medieval enclosure was used as the Provincial City Archives.

In short, from the early 15th century, to the present, the large size of this city gate is seen as Zwolle’s wealth and is a real eye-catcher. Evidence of this is the large number of drawings, paintings and photographs of the Sassenpoort created by Meister Henric van Roden.

City game goes past Zwolle’s Sassenpoort

The Sassenpoort is also part of the interactive city walk The Treasure of Simon Pinet. During this city game, you will complete assignments at various locations in Zwolle to uncover the true story of Simon Pinet. For that commission, the coats of arms seen in the stained glass windows will be used. While making this city game, its creator, Jachin Letwory, stumbled upon a mystery.

The mystery of the lost coat of arms of the Sassenpoort

There are currently 13 coats of arms on display. Each from a town in the area. In the comprehensive historical book, the History of Zwolle (Jan ten Hove), a coat of arms of the Knighthood of Overijssel is shown. However, it is nowhere to be found in the gate. According to Jachin, the window must have been in one of the windows in the kitchen. It is suspected that this coat of arms disappeared during one of the Sassenpoort’s restorations. The coats of arms that can still be seen represent the following places:

  • shield Delden
  • shield Deventer
  • shield Enschede
  • shield Genemuiden
  • shield Hasselt
  • shield Kampen
  • shield Netherlands
  • shield Oldenzaal
  • shield Ootmarsum
  • shield Overijssel
  • shield Steenwijk
  • shield Vollenhove
  • shield Zwolle
  • gpp_bad Knighthood Overijssel
    • Coat of Arms Delden

    All city gates of Zwolle

    Zwolle has had 7 city gates. In downtown Zwolle, you can even find an artwork called “Ode to the Gates,” which depicts these gates. The Sassenpoort is the only remaining gate. View all gates on this page.

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