(land area 333,890 hectares/824,708acres)The province of Overijssel extends across the Netherlands from the IJsselmeer in the northwest to the German frontier in the southeast, bounded on the north by Drenthe and on the south by Gelderland.
It offers an attractive variety of landscape - river plains, moorland, ridges of hills, arable land and expanses of sandy soil. In western Overijssel, on the IJsselmeer, are a number of nature reserves and natural watercourses. In the central region of Salland are three, and in Twente to the east two, morainic ridges formed in the second ice age, rising to heights of up to 90m/300ft. Overijssel means "over the IJssel" (i.e. beyond the IJssel when seen from the west). In the Middle Ages, when Overijssel belonged to the Bishop of Utrecht, it was known as Oversticht.Overijssel was occupied by man from the earliest times. Around 780 it was conquered by the Franks and incorporated in the Carolingian empire. About the year 1000 it was inherited by the Bishop of Utrecht (Nedersticht), who thus also acquired Obersticht. Owing to the independence of the towns and landowners of Oversticht, however, he was unable to establish his authority in the region until Burgundian times. In 1522 Overijssel, as it was now called, passed to the Duke of Gelre, and in 1528 to the Emperor Charles V. During the 80 years' fight for independence, in 1579, Overijssel joined the Union of Utrecht and drove out the Spanish occupying forces; the Spaniards recovered the territory in the following year, but were finally expelled from the province by Prince Maurice of Nassau between 1591 and 1597. After the country was liberated from French rule in 1813 Overijssel became a province of the new Kingdom of the Netherlands.Most of the population is employed in industry and the services sector, only 10 per cent in agriculture. Some 75 per cent of the area of the province is agricultural land, three-quarters of it pastureland, mostly in small holdings. Stock farming (cattle and pigs) is predominant. In the north and east of the province vegetables are grown. As a result of the redistribution of agricultural land and increasingly intensive cultivation productivity has steadily increased, while at the same time the number employed in agriculture has fallen since 1947 by almost half.When Belgium became independent the Netherlands lost the textile industry which had hitherto been a major element in the economy. Steps were taken from 1840 onwards to re-establish it in the Twente area, but now on an industrial basis rather than the previous cottage industry. More recently textiles have been displaced by other branches of industry such as metalworking, leading to unemployment problems in such towns as Almelo, Hengelo and Enschede. Other industries have also been established - the extraction of salt (at Boekelo), chemicals, electrical engineering, woodworking, foodstuffs, the extraction of natural gas (Twente) and shipbuilding. The main industrial centers in the province, in addition to the towns in the east of the province already mentioned, are Deventer, Zwolle and Kampen.The spacious landscapes of Overijssel offer many attractive holiday areas - in the northwest of the province, along the Vecht, in Salland and northwestern Twente.
The region of Salland, in the province of Overijssel, lies to the east of the IJssel, surrounded by the sandy heathland areas of Drenthe, Twente and Veluwe. The great expanses of sandy soil characteristic of Salland were formed in the second-last ice age (the Saale/Riss glacial). Here and there in this featureless plain morainic hills rise to heights of up to 80m/260ft, including the Lemelerberg and the Koningsbelt. North of the Vecht are several areas of peaty moorland. This almost entirely agricultural region (stock farming, with a certain amount of arable farming) is dotted with scattered settlements and villages of traditional type. The only towns of any size are Zwolle and Deventer, in the IJssel plain.
The district of Twente in the eastern Netherlands lies between Salland in the west and the German frontier to the east. It is a region of featureless sandy plains, varied only in the east by an area of terminal moraines rising to 85m/280ft, the weathered remains of detritus deposited by the glaciers of the second-last ice age (the Saale/Riss glacial).Since about 1830 the textile industry of Twente has developed from a traditional cottage industry into the major element in the economy of the region. The spinning and weaving mills and dyeing factories are mostly located in the towns of Enschede, Hengelo, Almelo and Oldenzaal.Outside these industrial centers Twente is still essentially an agricultural region, dotted with villages of traditional type and isolated farmsteads. Pastoral farming predominates in the north, with extensive areas of grazing and meadowland and only occasional patches of arable land. There is more arable farming south of Enschede, where the soil is better.
In western Overijssel, amid extensive areas of pastures, is Staphorst, an old town very conscious of its traditions. Farmsteads along main streets (the Oude Rijksweg and the Gemeenteweg) are painted blue and green. The manners and customs of Staphorst and the surrounding area differ from those in other parts of the country. The people are strongly Calvinist and extremely conservative. Their costumes are different on working days and on holidays, when the women wear mid-length skirts striped dark blue and black, with blue aprons.The villagers are not fond of being photographed by tourists, though the children, who also wear traditional costume, do not mind having their photograph taken. In any event permission should always be obtained before taking a photograph.
Southeast of Staphorst lies a nature reserve (woodland, heath, moorland).
Almelo, lying close to the German frontier, was formerly the chief textile center in the Twente area in the eastern Netherlands. From about 1830 woolen and cotton goods were produced in factories and exported; in earlier days flax had been processed in home workshops. Merchants from Vriezenveen (north of Almelo) had a trading post as far afield as St Petersburg. The metalworking industry also made an important contribution to the town's economy. At the peak of its development, industry provided employment for 80% of the working population.The centre of Almelo has the castle belonging to the Counts of Almelo, it is centuries old and popular with tourists.
The moated castle of Almelo was originally built in the 13th century. It was extensively renovated in the mid 17th century and again in the 19th century. The 14th century chapel was rebuilt in the 18th century as a church, when the tower was given a timber spire. In the choir, built in sandstone at the end of the 15th century, can be seen the tomb of Count van Rechteren (1722).
Almelo's museum at Korte Prinsenstraat occupies the former Latin School (1783) and rector's house. It contains collections on the history of the town of Almelo, the old textile and tobacco industries and peat production, as well as old floor and wall tiles. Recent additions are a baker's shop and the baker's house.
Commune: BrederwiedeThe picturesque village of Giethoorn lies in an extensive area of former peat bog to the east of the Noordoostpolder. Traversed by a network of canals, it has hardly any streets, the main means of transport being small boats which are punted along the canals. Accordingly it is popularly known as the "Venice of the North".There are cycling paths as well.
De Oude Aarde
"Histomobil", at Cornelisgracht 42 in Giethoorn, has a collection of coaches, carts and other simple forms of transport.
't Olde Maat Uus
An old farmhouse at Binnenpad 52 in Giethoorn, 't Olde Maat Uus, is now open to the public as a museum.
The industrial town of Hengelo (electrical engineering, textiles) lies in the center of the Twente region, near the German frontier. It originally became known for its linen weaving, which was introduced by Wolter ten Cate, a native of Danzig. During the Second World War the town center suffered heavy damage, and now has many modern buildings.The Roman Basilica from 1890 is a place of interest for visitors to Hengelo.
The architecture of the Hengelo Town Hall is reminiscent of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. The 75m/245ft high tower has one of the largest carillons in the Netherlands (46 bells).
Oele - Watermill
The old watermill, De Olde Moele, at Oele, to the south of Hengelo, dates from 1334 but was restored in 1690 after a fire.
Oldenzaal, the oldest town in the beautiful Twente region, lies north of Enschede, close to the German frontier. It was granted the right to hold a market in 1049 and received a municipal charter in 1249.Oldenzaal has numerous recreation facilities and hosts an annual parade that attracts over one hundred thousand visitors.
St Plechelmuskerk (R.C.), at Gasthuisstraat 10, Oldenzaal, was built in 945 and dedicated to Plechelm, a Northumbrian missionary who preached the Gospel in this area in the eighth century. The oldest part of this cruciform basilica dates from 1150. The Romanesque tower (with a carillon of 40 bells) was built in the second half of the 13th century, followed by the choir apse and the south aisle in the second half of the 15th century. St Plechelmuskerk is the only well preserved church of its type in the Netherlands apart from the church of Rolduc Abbey. The treasury contains the silver-gilt reliquary of St Plechelm (1438).
In Marktstraat of Oldenzaal are a number of handsome 17th century houses, including the Palthe Huis (No. 13), once the home of a textile merchant of that name. It is now a museum, with an 18th century pharmacy, an old private library and a number of rooms with their original decoration and furnishing.
To the west of Enschede is the little town of Goor, with the moated castle of Weldam, near the Twente Canal. Originally built in 1389, it was converted into a country mansion in 1568. In the 19th century two new doorways were added on the rear front. The castle is set in a beautiful French-style garden laid out in 1886.
South of Goor, in the Salland area, is the village of Diepenheim, near which are a number of fine castles: Huis te Diepenheim (1330; rebuilt 1645), with a very handsome doorway; Nijenhuis (1457, rebuilt 1650; tower 19th-20th C.); Huize Westerflier (1046; rebuilt in 18th C.) and Huize Warmelo (17th C.), which at one time was the home of Princess Armgard, Prince Bernhard's mother. Also of interest is De Haller, a watermill which is still used to grind grain when the water level is high enough.
The Hanseatic town of Hasselt, north of Zwolle, received its municipal charter in 1252. It was mainly of importance as a port for the shipment of Bentheim stone.There are a number of historical buildings in Hasselt including St Quentin's Cathedral, the market and the Virga Jesse Basilica.
Grote Kerk (St Stephanuskerk)
The Grote Kerk or St Stephanuskerk in Hasselt, a Late Gothic hall-church, was built between 1380 and 1466. The spire was added in 1725.
The Vispoort (Fish Gate), of Bentheim stone, gives access to the quay.
Salland Festival, Raalte, Netherlands
The highly-acclaimed Salland Festival in Raalte includes singing, dancing and music, as well as traditional trade fairs and expositions.The festival takes place on the third weekend in June and usually lasts five days.
Harvest Home Weekend
The Harvest Home Weekend, is an annual weekend festival which takes place in late August and includes a parade with food floats and a butter market on Friday.
Fully furnished in Louis XV/Louis XVI style, Huis Singraven is a 15th C. castle featuring a number of notable paintings and an excellent collection of porcelain, silverware and tapestries.
Address: Molendijk 37, Netherlands
Opening hours: Apr 16 to Oct 31: Closed: Sun, Mon, Sat
Always closed on: Dutch National Day (Apr 30), Easter - Christian, Ascension Thursday - Christian
Entrance fee: FREE
Useful tips: Conducted Tours at 11am. 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. Groups on Saturday by appointment.
Guides: Guided tour included with admission.
Ommen - Tin Figurines Museum
The Tin Figurines Museum in Ommen contains a diverse collection of tin figurines, including but not limited to toy soldiers. These are very detailed and artistically handcrafted figurines. Each year an annual exhibit is organized with additional collections from all over Europe.
Kasteel 't Nijenhuis
The Kasteel 't Nijenhuis contains art works, furniture, porcelain within the 15th Century castle. The surrounding green space is today a sculpture garden.
Naational Park De Weerribben
Holten - Nature Diorama Holterberg
Natuurdiorama Holterberg offers dioramas of wildlife in their natural settings.
Address: Holterbergweg 12, Holten, Overijssel 7451 JL, Netherlands
Opening hours: Apr 1 to Oct 31: 10am-5pm; Sun: 11am-5pm
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 11am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue
Nov 1 to Mar 31: 11am-5pm; Closed: Mon, Tue
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), New Year's Eve (Dec 31), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25)
Entrance fee: FREE
Onderwijsmuseum (Educatorium Ootmarsum)
Educatorium Ootmarsum has a collection of items used in schools.