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24 hours of art and culture in Zwolle

With 328 monuments, a rich Hanseatic history and the most beautiful bookshop in the Netherlands, Zwolle is a city you can fall in love with. We let ourselves get transported by the city's medieval charm and sense of solidarity. You'll be charmed by Zwolle as well! Follow our tips for 24 hours of art and culture in the provincial capital of bucolic Overijssel. All of Zwolle's sights are within easy walking distance of Zwolle station.

10:00: Take a walking tour through historic Zwolle

Wander straight from Zwolle station directly into the heart of the medieval city, and follow the signs to the must-sees: Peperbus tower, the Grote- or Sint Michaelis church, and national monument Sassenpoort gate. You can climb the towers of the Peperbus and the Sassenpoort. If you don't feel like reading the signs, you can also install the 'Walk the City' app on your smartphone. Via the app, you can select the 4.3 km 'Bolwerk Zwolle' walking tour. Along the route, you'll learn all about Zwolle's rise and you'll visit all the city's highlights. But you'll also discover the hidden spots that you might not have come across on your own. And you'll hear about the legend of how Zwollenaren came to be referred to as 'Blue Fingers'.  

  • The 'Bolwerk Zwolle' walking tour is available for € 1.95 in the free ‘Walk the City’ app. 
  • Download the app for iOS in the App Store of the Google Play Store for Android.

​​​​​​​Walking tour start point: Museum de Fundatie, Blijmarkt 20

12:30: Lunch and a good read at Brasserie in de Broeren

After a fascinating walking tour, you're probably ready to rest your legs. De Broere is a great place to take a lunch break, among the books of Van der Velde in de Broeren and under the vaulted ceiling of the medieval Broerenkerk. Don't be surprised to see other guests reading the paper over their lunch. The menu at Brasserie in de Broeren is full of tasty salads, soups and sandwiches, many made with regional products like Zwolse mustard. Enjoy your meal indoors or outside on the sun-drenched terrace, then browse through the most beautiful bookshop in the Netherlands. This is a perfect place to find a book to remind you of your trip to Zwolle.  

The bookshop and brasserie are a 15-minute walk from Zwolle station. 

  • Brasserie in de Broeren is open daily for lunch from 11:30. Open from 12:00 on Sunday and Monday. 
  • Lunch costs an average of € 11.50 p.p. 

Achter de Broeren 1-3,

14:00: Discover the beauty of contrasts at Museum De Fundatie

Museum De Fundatie is an ode to contradictions. You probably noticed the striking museum building during your walking tour of Zwolle. The combination of the old Palace of Justice from 1939 with the futuristic 'floating' exhibition space above is truly unique. Inside, you'll also be amazed by unexpected combinations and surprising contrasts. The collection of visual arts is world-class, and forms an iconoclastic whole, from the late Middle Ages to today. While you're there, relax with a cup of coffee or tea at Hannema's museum café and appreciate the spectacular view of Zwolle's skyline waiting for you there.

Museum De Fundatie is a 10-minute walk from Zwolle Station, and 8 minutes from your lunch café.

  • Open Tuesday to Sunday, from 11:00 to 17:00. 
  • Admission: € 15 for adults, free for children and museumkaart holders 
  • Admission is free for everyone on Friday evenings from 17:00 - 21:00. Reserve tickets in advance.

Blijmarkt 20,

16:00: Visit art studios and galleries

Galerie Het Langhuis

Zwolle is inspiring, which is why so many artists live and work here. The city centre is bursting with art galleries and studios. We have two tips that you shouldn't miss while you're here, that are guaranteed to give you inspiration as well. And maybe you'll find a new art piece for your own collection.

Het Langhuis is home to surprising art by talented makers, with unique temporary exhibitions. The gallery is located in a monumental building, which will intrigue you with the connections between old and new.

  • See the website for current exhibitions and irregular opening hours.

Goudsteeg 8,

Art Studio Nende Kunst

The cutest shopping street in Zwolle is also home to Nende Kunst. The gallery owned by painter Natasja van 't Ende also serves as her studio. Expect an explosion of colour and creativity, with a recurring theme of round forms. Here you can find paintings, jewellery and accessories inspired by nature and birds.

  • Open Wednesday to Saturday from 10:00 - 17:00, and Tuesday from 12:00.

Sassenstraat 47,

19:00: Culinary highlights at 't Pestengasthuys

The best way to end your day of culture is of course dinner at a historic restaurant. In a building from the 15th century, to be precise, at 't Pestengasthuys. Let yourself be pampered by the kitchen brigade led by classically trained chef Paul Stegeman. The tables are decked with white linen and glistening glasses, and the menu changes with the seasons. But you can also just let yourself be surprised by the chef's suggestion. All of the dishes are a feast for the eye, and a celebration for the tongue. All prepared using honest meat, fish and vegan products. Before your meal, order a cocktail at a table on the terrace facing the square. You'll immediately realise that you're on holiday.

The restaurant is a 15-minute walk from Zwolle station.

  • Open Tuesday to Saturday from 17:30. 
  • A 3-course chef's menu will cost around € 52 p.p. 

Weversgildeplein 1,

Hotel tip: A historic night's sleep at B&B De Theekoepel

There is plenty to do in Zwolle, so plan on taking your time and stay the night in the city. The charming B&B De Theekoepel is just a half-hour walk from the station, or a 10-minute ride with an OV-fiets. The Sloet family will take care of you for the night, and birdsong will wake you up in the morning, because the 19th-century tea pavilion is surrounded by nature. Perfect for a good night's sleep! And in the morning you can enjoy breakfast on your own terrace.

Then get started on your day. Why not stroll through a statuary garden just outside the city? Beeldentuin Landgoed Anningahof is open starting from 20 May. Or if you'd rather stay in town, check out our guide for 24 hours like a local in Zwolle

  • A night in De Theekoepel will cost around € 75 per room. 

Ruiterlaan 1,

Copy: Christy Melsbach - Insiders
Image: Sjoerd Bracke, Cuno de Bruin, Boekhandel Van der Velde, Pedro Sluiter, Nende, Jade Stephens, Laura Adai, Steven van Welie, Pestngasthuys,Marketing Oost, Pexels, B&B Theekoepel

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