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Overijssel, located in the country's east-central part, is one of the Netherlands' 12 provinces. The province lies on the borders of Germany to the east, Gelderland to the south, Flevoland to the west, and Drenthe to the north. The capital city, Zwolle, is located in the western part of the province, while the largest city, Enschede, lies near the Overijssel's eastern borders.[3] The province features several historically significant destinations. Apart from the capital city, the town of Kampen is known for its abundance of historical heritage.[10] Another cultural point is the Singraven estate, which features buildings from the 14th century that have been renovated and showcase historic art and antique collections.[14] Concerning local geographic conditions, the northern part of Overijssel is mainly covered by bogs with an extensive system of lakes, while southern areas tend to be sandier.[3] There are two national parks that can be found within the province's borders. Sallandse Heuvelrug National Park in the south offers a variety of hiking and cycling trails.[13] To the north, the Weerribben-Wieden National Park mainly consists of bogs, lakes, and swamp forests.[6] The climate in Overijssel is oceanic; however, compared to the rest of the Netherlands, winters tend to be more severe, presumably due to the province's significant distance from the coast.[3] 

What Overijssel is known for

Zwolle, situated in the western part of Overijssel, is the capital city of the province. The city consists of a medieval center with a theater, a variety of shops, and several parks. As a former Hanseatic town, Zwolle features historic city walls and towers. The city also contains the Sassenpoort—a city gate that dates back 600 years—and a star-shaped canal surrounded by historic merchant houses. Another landmark in Zwolle is Peperbustoren, a 75 meters high tower from the 14th century, providing panoramic views of the city. There is also a Gothic church, Sint Michaelskerk; the Museum de Fundatie; and the Dutch Bakery Museum.[8] On the opposite side of Overijssel province lies Enschede, which is the largest city in the region. In Enschede, one can find the Rijksmuseum Twenthe displaying "the richest art collection in the Eastern Netherlands." The city is also reportedly known for its synagogue, which is still in active use but can also be visited by tourists.[9] 

Located in the province's southern region is one of the largest continuous nature areas in the Netherlands: the Sallandse Heuvelrug, protected as a national park. At the entrance to the national park is an observatory with telescopes and a planetarium open to tourists.[12] Additionally, there is a considerable number of outdoor walking and cycling tours in the Sallandse Heuvelrug, with some of the tours being thematic, showcasing historical, cultural, and natural highlights of the area.[13] 

Tourists seeking historical destinations might take an interest in visiting House Singraven, a historical estate close to the province's eastern borders. The first mention of the Singraven estate dates back to the 14th century. In the 20th century, the house was renovated and restored. Today, the building showcases rooms from the Louis XV and Louis XVI eras and also collections of art and antiques.[14] The house itself is not the only historic building located at the estate. The area also features a coach house, water mill, gatekeeper's houses, and miller cottages.[15] 


Overijssel is located in the east-central part of the Netherlands, contributing to the state border with Germany. The province is traditionally divided into three regions, the Kop van Overijssel, located to the northwest, Salland in the center, and Twente in the east. The capital city is Zwolle, found near the western borders of Overijssel. Other prominent municipalities include Almelo, Deventer, Hengelo, Enschede, and Kampen. Northwestern areas of the territory consist of sediments from the Overijsselse Vecht and clay, while its northernmost parts are covered by bogs, separating the dryer, arable habitats of Drenthe. In the northwest of the Overijssel, a system of lakes can be found, which formed as a result of peat mining. Today, the lakes are protected under the De Weerribben-Wieden National Park status as wetlands. On the other hand, the southeastern part of Overijssel is primarily sandy, containing rivers such as the Regge and Dinkel. The highest point in the province is Tankenberg, at an altitude of 85 meters above sea level, while the lowest is Mastenbroek Polder, at 2 meters below sea level.[3] 

Currently, the province of Overijssel is considerably industrialized, with the southeast of the territory being one of the Dutch textile industry centers. However, two national parks can also be found within Overijssel's borders, preserving peat bogs, marshlands, and waterfowl.[2] One of the national parks is the Sallandse Heuvelrug, found in the southern part of the province, between Hellendoorn and Holten.[5] Heathland, forest, and marsh landscapes are typical of the national park, with a substantial presence of rhododendron trees in the local woods.[4] The second national park in Overijssel is Weerribben-Wieden. Covering over 10,000 hectares, Weerribben-Wieden is the most extensive contiguous low-moor bog area in Northwest Europe. The local landscape includes puddles, lakes, ditches, swamp forests, reed plots, and meadows.[6]

Regarding the temperatures in Zwolle, the province's capital, the warmest month is August, with an average daily temperature of 23°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, with 6°C being the average temperature. April tends to be the driest month in Zwolle, due to receiving around 37 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during July, as the month receives about 76 mm on average. May typically experiences the most amount of sunshine, with an average of about 189 hours.[7]


Overijssel has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Reportedly, hunters and gatherers were the first to live in the area, gathering local fruits and vegetables. Earlies permanent settlements appeared around 2500 BC when the farmers settled along the Regge and Vecht rivers. During the era of the Roman Empire, Tubanten lived in the Overijssel territory.[1] The Overijssel territory was first known as the lordship of Oversticht, being part of the bishopric of Utrecht. However, in 1527, the area was sold to Charles V, which led to its incorporation into the Dutch territories of the Habsburgs. Later, Overijssel became one of the seven original territories of the United Provinces of the Netherlands. Some Hanseatic towns of considerable importance in the Netherlands during the Middle Ages, such as Kampen, Deventer, and Zwolle, were located within Overijssel's borders.[2]

The area of today's Overijssel province initially included Drenthe and was named Ouden IJssel, which was later renamed to Overijssel in 1801. Consequently, in 1810, the French annexed the region and renamed it the département of Bouches-de-l'Yssel. After Napoleone's defeat in 1814, Overijssel as the province of Netherlands was recreated. Concerning the region's recent history, Overijssel was occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War for five years until its liberation in 1945.[3] 

One of the local historical destinations is the city of Kampen, which is, according to the city site, almost like an "open-air museum," presumably due to the abundance of historical landmarks, as Kampen used to be an ancient Hanseatic city.[10] Some of the local monuments include the Gothic House that was constructed around 1500; the St. Nicolaas church, which is the oldest church in Kampen, as it dates back to the 14th century; and the Koornmarktspoort city gate, or the city wall used for the protection of Kampen, built in the 14th century.[11]

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