When visiting The Netherlands, people always talk about Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht or Den Hague maybe, but this time I am talking you on a trip to the East of Holland, the so called Hanzestad named Zwolle. From the big stores to small boutiques and crafty shops. From fine dining to exclusive wine tasting. And from uniquely designed museums to bookshops located in churches; Zwolle has got it all!
Where to shop?
My favorite place to go shopping in Zwolle (for men and woman), with Scandinavian designed clothing of brands like MbyM, DrDenim and Minimum. With the newly opened second (and bigger!) store, they have a wide collection of clothing, shoes, accessories and sunnies.
Whilst shopping, enjoy a cup of coffee or get your hair cut by the girl with the magical fingers, who is actually one of the owners too. Dian is a professional hairdresser who you will see in the salon or in store occupied by her beloved one Wouter and lively dog Joe.
Contact & Info
Grote Markt 2
8011 LV Zwolle
Kootuur x Minimum
8011 RK Zwolle
2.Waanders in de Broeren
It doesn’t matter if you are into book reading or churches: Waanders in de Broeren is a must visit. The location is very unique and impressive. Whilst there, enjoy a cup of coffee or go for lunch.
From clothing to interior pieces and from pies to coffees. Pistache is offering the perfect combination of several hip and cool shops in a shop!
I am in love with shops like these. If you manage to leave the story empty handed: let me know your trick. They have many cool stuff, from clothing and jewellery to home decoration to stationary. Gotta love it!
What to see?
5.Museum De Fundatie
What used to serve as the Palace of Justice is now known as Museum de Fundatie. The roof of the museum is actually called The Eye or The Cloud by the museum itself, but it has already given many names like the egg, the UFO and even the spaceship. You can find impressive collections from many well-known artists like Mondriaan and Van Gogh. And there are regularly temporary expositions too.
The Peperbus (pepperbox) or Tower of the Basilica of Our Lady of the Assuncion is one of the first things you see when entering Zwolle. The 75 meter high tower has an amazing look out point over the city. A climb of 236 steps will bring you all the way to the top.
It’s a classic, but something you must do when visiting Zwolle..
Contact & Info
Onze Lieve Vrouwe Basiliek
Website: De Peperbus Zwolle
During the winter, the Peperbus is open from Monday to Saturday from 13.30 to 15.30 hrs.
Tickets are €2.50 per person (adult).
Where to eat?
7.Bij Hartje Zwolle
Just outside the shopping center you will find Bij Hartje Zwolle. A cozy brasserie with extremely friendly staff! The menu is filled with several small bites which you can mix and match to create your own, tasty breakfast, lunch or dinner. By picking these dishes, each can eat as much as he/she wants. A wide variety of sweet and savory dishes, cakes, smoothies, teas and coffees.
Asian fusion restaurant Kota Radja is the best Asian restaurant in Zwolle. They have a wide range of several fish, meat and vegetarian dishes for everyone’s wishes (ha, that rhymes). As it is well known under de Zwollenaren, you have to make sure you book well in advance. But it’s worth it!
Contact & Info
8011 ME Zwolle
Website: Kota Radja Zwolle
Where to drink?
9.In Den Hoofdwacht
This newly opened wine bar and brasserie is located in an old police station, dated from 1614. You can feel the perfect blend between the old and the new. Historical elements have been kept and combined with a modern interior.
Wines are served by the glass and bottle. You can come in for lunch and dinner or taste some of the many cheeses that are listed on the menu.
This is my all-time favourite when it comes to enjoying an amazing glass of wine, served by the most enthusiastic and wine-loving owner in a warm and cosy bar. Not sure how many wine tastings I have already done here, but each time they manage to let me experience wines I have not tasted before, like just the other day: a 40 year old dessert wine from Germany.
Long story short: super friendly staff and amazing wines in the heart of the city. If you aren’t a wine lover yet, you will be after leaving this place.
Psst. Do(n’t) tell!
So, here are the top 10 things I think you should do when you are visiting Zwolle. This doesn’t mean these are all. As someone being born and raised in Zwolle, I actually have lots more but I had to make a selection.. So if you wish to have more tips: feel free to let me know! Very happy to help.
Okay, two more tips.. Will you be visiting Zwolle during the sunny spring or summer months? Make sure you’ll book one of the barbecue donuts Zwolle (a small boat with a barbecue in the middle). Very cool experience and a nice way to see Zwolle by water. You can of course rent a normal boat too if you wish. Also make sure you check out if any festivals Zwolle are taking place, as many food, wine and music festivals are being organized during the summer months
Photo credits: each photo belongs to the actual shop or venue. Picture Museum De Fundatie by RTVoost.