Heaven on earth for the coffee and tea enthusi…
Wealth increases enormously during that period thanks to the many mercantile activities. For instance this way the city is a transhipment place for Bentheimer sand stone, corn, linen, and fish. The merchants spend their money freely and they build monumental houses to show their luxury. Important architects set up business such as Arent van Calcar and Berend Coblenz. The fame and hustle and bustle of the city also attracts artists such as the painter Gerard ter Borch and the poets Rhijnvis Feith and Everhard J. Potgieter. The Modern Devotee Thomas a Kempis and well known politicians such as Thorbecke and Joan Derk van der Capellen tot den Poll have also linked their name to the Hanseatic city for ever.
The commercial activities have more than left their tracks in the Zwolle community and also parts of the past of the fortress are still intact in many places. We only mention the bastion “De Suikerberg” (sugar mountain), the star shaped city moat and parts of the late-mediaeval city wall. This enumeration should not be without the impressive Sassenpoort dating from the year 1409.
We ask the Hanseatic merchant to take us further along through Zwolle’s Golden Age, a request he gladly complies with. We encounter special but also peculiar places, such as the “Korte Ademhalingssteeg” (short breath alley). The name refers to the execution of criminals in the early days. Here they drew their last breaths, on their way to the scaffold. “These executions took place preferably on market days, when many people were about. On the place before the main weigh-house where this “entertainment” took place, you can now visit the large markets on Friday and Saturday in the shadow of the St. Michaels church or enjoy the entertainment in one of many outdoor cafes.
Talking about outdoor cafes. In the Middle Ages also people didn’t say no to a drink. In those days there was a brewery on practically every corner. There was no fresh drinking water, milk was only suitable for children and old people, so you drank beer. For large parties Hanseatic Beer was imported by cask, among other places from Hamburg and Bremen.
Past and present have gone hand in hand brilliantly for ages now in dazzling Zwolle, with its diverse cultural activities, its numerous monuments, the transit marina in the town centre, its many events, its many shops and restaurants. An encounter with Zwolle is highly recommended and remember:
“Strangers and foreigners are always welcome”, according to the Hanseatic merchant.
The Hanze Trade empire stretched from Novgorod in Russia to Lisbon in Portugal.