I am happy to take part in the blogparade of John and Marc from their beautiful blog 1THING TO DO- the German travel bloggers motivate and encourage with their beautiful pictures and texts people to visit East Germany and all the other countries further east as well as promoting slow travel.
The blogparade’s topic is to discover your home- especially people who love travelling often don’t see the beauty and diversity which is right in front of the their doorstep.
Small city girl forever
Some of you might know: Since almsot three years I live and study in the Netherlands, not in a major city like Amsterdam or Maastricht but in small little Zwolle. It’s in the North of the country in the Overijssel province in between of Groningen and Utrecht.
Most of the people I tell about my home there, never heard of it only a few people who are into sailing know the town as it’s in the Ijsselmeer area. Living in a small town as a student for me is a hate-love relationship. I love the short distances, I can cycle to uni and do all my groceries and going out by foot or again, with my bike. But OF COURSE sometimes I wish I would live in big city- getting lost in big alleys, dancing nights away in numerous bars and clubs, always having the oppertunity to visit events or checking out the newest hippest café.
Zwolle is a small town, it’s not exciting but it’s cute. It gives me the chance to fully focus on my study and it’s close to the country side which means I can follow my other passion which is horse risding much easier than I ever could in a big city. Also if you are an international student in a small city you are kind of “forced” to deal wit the local culture and people, there is less of an “international-students-bubble”. I partied in villages in a horse arena, where some guys wore the famous wodden shoes. I buy once a week at the local market practising my Dutch and I’ve been able to visit and enjoy supper with the family of my beloved Dutch friend (Anne I loooove you :))
What to do in Zwolle
- Enjoy a walk in the city center
The town looks like a star from above, there are “grachten” (water canals) everywhere, together with the old architecture it’s like a stroll through history. You can easily see the city center in one afternoon.
Back in the days it was a very prosperous and wealthy “hanze” town. Which meant that people here did lots of trading on water and land with other towns. They “Zwollenars”- people who come from Zwolle are called “Blauwfingers” which means “Bluefingers”. They got this name because apparently their fingers were always blue from counting all their money. Indulge in history and architecture with the help of this map. TIP: Every Friday from morning until 12.00 and Saturdays until 17.00 the local market takes place. Here you can buy fresh vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and even bags, handcrafts and pottery.
- Visit the library in a church!
Probably one of the more uncommon places where you would expect a library. The former church is not used for any services anymore. Nowadays it’s full of books and a nice café. So go out- grab a book (they do have English books and magazines) and enjoy a coffee with it. If you are still hungry, and could’nt get enough of the church atmosphere, walk a few minutes and enjoy some Sushi at “Blue Sakura” a Japanese restaurant which is also in a former church.
- Do a cycle tour to Agnietenberg
Grab your bike and cycle to this amazing restaurant! The tour will take you around 30 to 45 min from central Zwolle. The location is in the middle of a nice forest and is also dog friendly. What I did once, I took my dog along, did a long stroll through the forest and then treated myself with apple pie and hot chocolate. Their cakes are amazing! If you feel like camping: Next to this restaurant is a big camping place between the forest and the waterside. TIP: In the center of Zwolle is free Wifi available- let Google give you the route to the place, then turn off your internet and google will still guide you with the GPS signal only.
- Bevrijdingsdag – Festivaloverijssel in Zwolle
At the 5th May the Dutch celebrate that the Germans left their country after invading in the conext of the 2nd WW! This day is of course celebrated all over the country often with lots of music, bands and parties. The biggest celebration is in Zwolle! Every year the city organizes a festival with lots of local and national artists. And the best: it’s FOR FREE!
Where to eat in Zwolle
My favourite restaurants and cafés you should not miss when you are visiting Zwolle:
Gelateria Salute- The BEST ice cream this side of Italy. I promise you will love this Gelato!
Mayur Kitchen– Fine Indian food in a cozy atmosphere, if you have any intolerances or food preferences the owner will happily take care of them.
Buik van Parijs– You can indulge in fabulous down-to-earth French cuisine here.
Itoshii- Grab all your girlfriends and enjoy yummy Sushi at this Japanese restaurant- on Thursdays it’s Ladys night and you get the “all you can eat” option for around 19 Euros.
De Plataan– You are on a budget but still want some nice food? The Pizza and Pasta restaurant will spoil you with good Italian food- every dish is 6 Euros only.
Espressobar Mailing: If you love coffee or your coffee crazy friend needs their “dosis” take them here. Have a slice of their carrot cake- an absolute must!
Swolsche Friethuys: The BEST fries in town! No wonder they won several awards.
I hope I could give you a tiny insight into this small cute town which still is my home until Summer! Did you also move for your study?
Let me know if you ever had been here and if you liked it. To all the others: Yes it’s definitely worth a visit if you are planning to head to the Netherlands!
“Wherever you go-go will all your heart” <3