Sassenstraat 1-15, Zwolle.jpg
Diezerstraat - Grote Markt, Zwolle - BB - 1.jpg
Museum de Fundatie Panorama.png
Luttekestraat 12-16, Zwolle - BB.jpg
City Centre, 8011 Zwolle, Netherlands - panoramio (12).jpg
Images, from top down, left to right: Sassenstraat,
Grote Markt, Museum de Fundatie, Luttekestraat,
and the Binnenstad
Flag of Zwolle
Coat of arms of Zwolle
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Zwolle in a municipal map of Overijssel
Location in Overijssel
Coordinates: 52°31′N 6°6′E / 52°31′N 6°6′E / 52.517; 6.100

Zwolle (Dutch: [ˈzʋɔlə] (About this soundlisten)) is a city and municipality in the northeastern Netherlands serving as Overijssel's capital. With a population of 125,806, it is the second-largest municipality of the province after Enschede.


Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
Source: Lourens & Lucassen 1997, pp. 83–84

Archaeological findings indicate that the area surrounding Zwolle has been inhabited for a long time. A woodhenge that was found in the Zwolle-Zuid suburb in 1993 was dated to the Bronze Age period.[6][7] During the Roman era, the area was inhabited by Salian Franks.

The modern city was founded around 800 CE by Frisian merchants and troops of Charlemagne.[8] The name Zwolle is derived from the word Suolle, which means "hill" (cf. the English cognate verb "to swell"). This refers to an incline in the landscape between the four rivers surrounding the city, IJssel, Vecht, Aa and Zwarte Water. The hill was the only piece of land that would remain dry during the frequent floodings of the rivers. Zwolle was established on that incline.

A document mentions the existence of a parish church dedicated to St Michael. That church, the Grote or Sint Michaëlskerk (big or Saint Michael Church), was renovated in the first half of the 15th century and 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 31, 1230, the bishop of Utrecht granted Zwolle city rights. Zwolle became a member of the Hanseatic league in 1294, and in 1361 joined the war between the Hanseatic League and Valdemar IV of Denmark. In the 1370 Treaty of Stralsund that ended the war, Zwolle was awarded a vitte, a trade colony, in Scania, then part of Denmark. Zwolle's golden age came in the 15th century. Between 1402 and 1450, the city's Gross Regional Product multiplied by about six.[9]

In July 1324 and October 1361, regional noblemen set fire to Zwolle. In the 1324 fire, only nine buildings escaped the flames.[10]

Map of Zwolle by Joan Blaeu in Blaeu's "Toonneel der Steden", 1652

Zwolle was also, with Deventer, one of the centers of the Brethren of the Common Life, a monastic movement. 5 km (3 mi) 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).[11]

At least as early as 1911, Zwolle had a considerable trade by river, a large fish market, and the most important cattle market in the Netherlands after Rotterdam. The more important industries comprised cotton manufactures, iron works, boat-building, dyeing and bleaching, tanning, rope-making, and salt-making.[11]


In World War II, Zwolle was single-handedly liberated from the Germans by French Canadian soldier Léo Major.[12] He was made an honorary citizen of Zwolle in 2005 and a street is named for him.

In 2004, Zwolle's De Librije restaurant was honored with 3 stars by Michelin Guide; as of 2018, it is one of only three restaurants so honored in the entire country.


Citizens of Zwolle are colloquially known as Blauwvingers (Bluefingers). This dates back to 1682, when the St Michael's church tower collapsed. The authorities were strapped for cash and saw no option but to sell the church bells to neighbouring city Kampen. To make sure that Kampen would not make too much profit from the deal, the local authorities asked a high price for the church bells. Kampen accepted, yet after the arrival of the bells it became clear, they were too damaged to be played. In revenge, Kampen paid in copper coins of four duiten (the equivalent of two-and-a-half cents). Zwolle distrusted Kampen and wanted to be sure they truly paid the entire price. After the rigorous counting of this vast amount of money, their fingers had turned blue from the copper.[13][14]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Zwolle
العربية: زفوله
aragonés: Zwolle
asturianu: Zwolle
Bân-lâm-gú: Zwolle
башҡортса: Зволле
беларуская: Зволе
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Зволе
български: Зволе
brezhoneg: Zwolle
català: Zwolle
čeština: Zwolle
Cymraeg: Zwolle
dansk: Zwolle
Deutsch: Zwolle
eesti: Zwolle
Ελληνικά: Ζβόλε
español: Zwolle
Esperanto: Zwolle
euskara: Zwolle
فارسی: زووله
føroyskt: Zwolle
français: Zwolle
Frysk: Swol
Gaeilge: Zwolle
Gàidhlig: Zwolle
galego: Zwolle
한국어: 즈볼러
հայերեն: Զվոլե
Bahasa Indonesia: Zwolle
íslenska: Zwolle
italiano: Zwolle
עברית: זוולה
Jawa: Zwolle
ქართული: ზვოლე
қазақша: Зволле
Kiswahili: Zwolle
kurdî: Zwolle
Latina: Suvolla
latviešu: Zvolle
lietuvių: Zvolė
Limburgs: Zwolle
magyar: Zwolle
македонски: Зволе
मराठी: झ्वोला
Bahasa Melayu: Zwolle
Nederlands: Zwolle
Nedersaksies: Zwolle
日本語: ズヴォレ
norsk: Zwolle
norsk nynorsk: Zwolle
occitan: Zwolle
پنجابی: زولے
Plattdüütsch: Gemeen Zwolle
polski: Zwolle
português: Zwolle
română: Zwolle
Runa Simi: Zwolle
русский: Зволле
Scots: Zwolle
Seeltersk: Zwolle
shqip: Zwolle
Simple English: Zwolle, Overijssel
slovenčina: Zwolle
српски / srpski: Зволе
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zwolle
suomi: Zwolle
svenska: Zwolle
татарча/tatarça: Зволле
Türkçe: Zwolle
українська: Зволле
اردو: زوولے
vepsän kel’: Zvolle
Tiếng Việt: Zwolle
Volapük: Zwolle
West-Vlams: Zwolle
Winaray: Zwolle
粵語: 茲禾勒
Zeêuws: Zwolle
中文: 兹沃勒