Bilderberg Grand Hotel Wientjes

Stationsweg 7 Postbus 515, Zwolle, 8011 CZ
Bilderberg Grand Hotel Wientjes
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Travel Tips for Zwolle

Drive by car or go by bus to...

by avdb1948

Drive by car or go by bus to the area 'De Wieden'.
You visit Giethoorn, Dwarsgracht, Blokzijl, Vollenhove and many other little villages.
This area is about 40 km. from Zwolle in the Province of Overijssel.

Go to KAMPEN, 20 km away from...

by heinwvm

Go to KAMPEN, 20 km away from Zwolle. Kampen is much nicer, more authentic! Kampen is a medieval town, with narrow streets. In kampen there are also loads of Christian girls, giggling all the time. But the environment in which they giggle is much nicer, know what I mean? Go to the café Mondriaan.

Basilica and Peperbus

by OlafS

The O.L. Vrouwekerk ('church of Our Lady') is the only medieval church in Zwolle that has a tower. This tower, called Peperbus ("pepperpot") has become one of the symbols of the city. The church was built after ca. 1463. It's a one-aisled cruciform church, which is rare in The Netherlands, especially at this size. After the Reformation the building was used for various purposes. In 1809 it was returned to the catholics. Although the church looks quite big from the outside it looks remarkably small inside. The difference is explained by the very thick walls. Although a catholic church there isn't much to see inside, except for the choir area.

The church was granted the honorary title of Basilica Minor by the pope in 1999. Architecture-technically speaking the church isn't a basilica at all because it is only one aisle wide.


by OlafS

Like in so many cases my visit to Zwolle was the result of "having to be in the neighbourhood". I always have the camera with me and try to take some time to see city. You cannot get to know a place in a few hours but you can get a first impression. And my first impression of Zwolle was a good one. On this sunny afternoon Zwolle seemed perfect for a walk.

Zwolle is a nice place. Not spectacular but nice. The problem is that it is in the same province as Kampen and Zwolle, the other two towns that once ruled Overijssel, together with Zwolle, and that makes it hard not to compare. To be honest: I rate Kampen and Deventer higher, but everything is relative, isn't it? My preference really says more about Kampen and Deventer than it does about Zwolle. If I didn't know the other two I would actually rate Zwolle quite high. It IS a nice place. And I'm sure I'll be back. In the meantime I've made some tips about some of my favourite sights. Of course there's more to it, but as I said, I was there only for a few hours.

European class nature "De Wieden"

by avdb1948

European class nature.....

'De Wieden' in 'the head of' the province of Overijssel, with its more than 5.700 hectares of water, reed, grass and hay land and marshland woods, is one of the lager nature reserves. With the 'Weerribben','De Wieden' is the largest, continuous peat bog area of Western Europe. To increase the natural value of these peat bog areas even further, the connecting zone between the two nature reserves is broadened wherever possible and the water balance is improved.

Peat bog
The area that is now called 'De Wieden' is situated between two lateral moraines: the high area of Vollenhove and the area around Steenwijk. These lands used to be wetlands and there were several rivers. At some places the water stagnated, and reed lands were formed, with many large sedges and peat moss. These plants mainly formed the peat bog in 'De Wieden'.
In the Middle Ages, it was already commonknowledge that dried peat could be used as fuel. Especially in the seventeenth century, the trade in peat flourished. In Blokzijl, Vollenhove and Zwartsluis you can still see the houses that were built in this time of prosperity.

The creation of 'De Wieden'
The peat cutters dredged the peat bog in strips of approximately 30 metres in width. Where the peat was removed, water returned: the excavated holes. Between the excavated holes strips of land were left intact, to lay down the peat to dry. These fields were called levees. The fields were not very wide, because the peat cutters wanted to obtain as much peat as possible. During heavy storms and high water, these fields (and in 1776 even the village of Beulake) were flooded. The peat cutting and storms resulted into more and more open water in the area. These lakes were given names that end in '-wijde'; for instance Beulakerwijde, Belterwijde. In this part of the country, 'wijde; is pronounced 'wiede'. That explains the name of the area: 'De Wieden'.

Sailing farmers
When the earnings of peat cutting became less and less, the peat cutters had to look for other means of support. On the remaining fields, they took up farming. They raised cattle, made hay and cut the reed. All transportation had to take place by boat. In the beautifull vilage of Dwarsgracht you can still meet some of the 'sailing farmers'.
Most of the farmers were also fisherman or reed cutters or they had a duck decoy. When cattle earnings dropped, a great part of the hay land became reed land.

Water turns into land again
Land accretion is typical of areas where peat used to be dredged. The strips of water, the excavated holes, are overgrown gradually with all kinds of plants, for instance crab's claw. In time, you can walk on it, although the (floating) ground is not so solid and is shaking and trembling: the water has turned into 'quaking bog' or a 'floating island'. Very rare species of plants grow here.
The bottom of the quaking bog is getting more and more solid, and shrubs and trees grow on the bog: willows, alders and birches in particular. When nature can take its course, there will be bog woods instead of water.

Explore 'De Wieden'
With all its lakes and many waterways 'De Wieden' is a wonderful area to explore by boat. Cycling around the lakes and through villages like Dwarsgracht and Giethoorn with all the waterways and towns like Vollenhove or Blokzijl is also very rewarding. A walk down the 'Veenweidepad' near Wanneperveen is also highly recommended. This 'rubber boot path' gives a good impression of the peat grasslands in 'De Wieden'.

Visitor's centre
An excellent start of an exploration of 'De Wieden' is a visit to the visitor's centre 'De Wieden'. It is situated near the town of St. Jansklooster, to the southwest of the area. Here you will find an interesting exhibition about 'De Wieden', which has a lot to offer to young and old. In an outbuilding, you can visit temporary exhibitions and slide shows. The nature study path near the visitor's centre will take the visitor through the reed land to the banks of the 'Beulakerwijde'. There are special programmes for children, like school trips.
The boat, walking and cycling trips from the centre will give you the opportunity to know more about the area and to visit places you are not allowed to visit on your own.


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