On our quest to see all 12 provincial capitals in The Netherlands, we went on a weekend visit to the lovely city of Zwolle last summer, the capital of the province Overijssel. Before going there, our usual search for hidden gems taught us that according to many, Zwolle is a hidden gem on its own. By our standards, we were looking for some more small scale hidden gems; surprising streets, peculiar places and quality coffee. And guess what, we found some! Here are five of the best hidden gems we found in Zwolle.
Hidden gem Zwolle 1: Celeplein
The first location we’re sharing is the picturesque Celeplein. Just around the corner from the centrally located Great Church, an inconspicuous red door leads you from Papenstraat to this tiny square, which takes you right back to the Middle Ages. Despite his renowned effort for education, Johannes Cele’s statue was not quite deserving of an eye-catching location; it’s the kind of place you’ll 100% miss if you don’t seek it out specifically.
Looks mysterious, right?
The Celeplein is located here. You can access it through a red gate from the Papenstraat.
Hidden gem Zwolle 2: Onder de bogen
On the North side of the city centre lies the quiet and overwhelmingly green residential street, creatively named Onder de Bogen (Under the Arches). As we usually do when visiting a city centre, we took some random turns when strolling through Zwolle and ended up passing through Onder de Bogen. A place that makes you feel much more like being in a small town where everyone knows each other, than in a provincial capital of well over 100,000. It’s just a tiny street, so don’t expect too much, but be sure to pass by when you’re in Zwolle. It’ll most likely be just you – and those who live there.
Onder de bogen is on the North side of the city centre, here.
Hidden gem Zwolle 3: Fratersteeg
The Fratersteeg is yet another example of an unexpectedly quiet place right in the city centre. Sure, on one side the rather unattractive city hall quite literally overshadows it, but look the other way and the Fratersteeg takes your mind well of the hustle and bustle of the city centre!
The Fratersteeg is located directly south from the Grote Kerkplein square, here.
Hidden gem Zwolle 4: Jantjes Lief
Hidden away in a little side-alley off the main shopping street, Jantjes Lief is easy to miss. But try not to, as they offer kind service, good coffee and some top notch cakes. We tried the brownie and it’s the kind of cake you’ll gladly go out on that extra run for. So try to get a spot on their small terrace or in the livingroom-like indoors (don’t you love the interior?) and don’t skip on the cake!
Jantjes lief is located at Mandjesstraat 4. More info on their website in Dutch: www.jantjeslief.com
Hidden gem Zwolle 5: Krommejak
The last place we’d like to highlight is Krommejak; arguably the best place in Zwolle for an Instagram photoshoot if you’re into that kind of stuff; almost no people, flowers, cobbles, you name it. The most adventurous way to enter it is from the Sassenstraat through the Muursteeg. See if you can find the tiny passage! Fun fact: Dutchies might recognize this as one of the film sets of the movie ‘Ciske de Rat’!
Krommejak is located here.
All of these hidden gems can easily be combined to form an alternative city walk, including a top-level coffee stop!
Kirsten & Thomas