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Zwolle travel guide — Zwolle tourism and travel information

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about Zwolle

Zwolle is a municipality and the capital city of the province of Overijssel, Netherlands, 50 miles northeast of Amsterdam. Zwolle has about 110,000 citizens and is one of the most important cities in the northern and eastern parts of the country. Zwolle is located on or near three rivers (Zwarte Water, Vecht and IJssel), three ship canals (the now disused Willemsvaart and Overijssels Kanaal canals, and the modern Zwolle-IJssel Canal) and several important motorways (A28, A50 and perhaps in the future A35).

Zwolle history

Archaeological finds indicate that the area surrounding Zwolle was already inhabited by the ancient Germanic Isala tribe around 1500 B.C. The modern city was founded around 800 A.D. by Frisian merchants and by troops of Charlemagne. The name Zwolle comes from the word Suolle, which means "hill". Zwolle was founded on a hill between the three rivers surrounding the city, IJssel, Vecht and Zwarte Water. The hill was the only piece of land that would remain dry during the frequent floodings of the rivers. The oldest known written mention of Zwolle is from 1040 A.D. A document mentions the existence of a parish church dedicated to St Michael. That church, the Grote of Sint Michaëlskerk, was renovated in the first half of the 15th century and still 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 31st, 1230 A.D., the bishop of Utrecht granted Zwolle city rights. In July 1324 and in October 1361, regional noblemen set fire to Zwolle. In the 1324 fire, only 9 buildings escaped the flames. Zwolle's golden age came in the 15th century. Zwolle was an important member of the Hanseatic league and one of the most important cities in the north and east of the Netherlands. Between 1402 and 1450, the city's GDP multiplied by about 6.

Zwolle was also the center 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 Holland after Rotterdam. The more important industries comprised cotton manufactures, iron works, boat-building, dyeing and bleaching, tanning, rope-making and salt-making.

Citizens of Zwolle are known as Blauwvingers (blue fingers). This dates back to the rivalry with neighbouring city Kampen. When the local government was cash-strapped, they saw no option but to sell church bells to Kampen. To be sure Kampen didn't take 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 agreed to the condition, and Kampen paid in pennies made of copper. Because of the distrust, Zwolle wanted to be sure Kampen truly paid the price. The local authorities therefore counted their fingers blue, hence the name blue fingers.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Zwolle".

This city is also known as: Zwolle.

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