Overijssel is one of the twelve provinces of the Netherlands. The river IJssel, from which the province takes its name, actually flows through both Overijssel and Gelderland, forming a boundary between them in its northern part. Much of the eastern part of the province consists of the region of Twente, which is actually quite far removed from the river.
- Zwolle — the capital of the province, a prosperous town with a long history
- Deventer — a very important and wealthy city in medieval times
- Dinkelland — these towns are very small and provide a truly scenic view of the region of Twente
- Enschede — largest city of Overijssel and the Twente region and large student population
- Giethoorn — known as "Venice of the North" for its rural waterways
- Kampen — Hanzestad town with many historic sights
- Kuinre — a historic village formerly along the Zuiderzee
- Steenwijk — base for surrounding natural areas
- De Weerribben-Wieden National Park — one of Europe's important swamps home to herons and otters
Overijssel can be split into a couple of distinctive regions. Twente in the south-east is the largest region with Enschede as its largest city. Salland is in the west, over the actual river IJssel, and has Zwolle and Deventer as largest cities. There's the Vechtdal in the north. The municipality of Steenwijkerland forms the northwestern extremity of the province, and is sometimes referred to as a separate region, the Kop van Overijssel.
The A1 highway runs directly from Amsterdam to Deventer, Almelo and Hengelo. Zwolle can be reached by taking the A1 and then the A28. Enschede can be reached by taking the A1 and then the A 35. Most destinations are within a 2 hour drive from Amsterdam.
From Schiphol Airport as well as from Amsterdam's Central Station, there are direct intercity services to Deventer, Almelo, Hengelo, Enschede and Zwolle. The farthest of these destinations take about two hours to reach. From the German cities of Münster and Dortmund there are also direct train connections to Enschede with regional trains.
Most cities in Twente can be reached by bus or a local train service. Or, do as the Dutch do and plan a cycling tour. Bicycles can be rented at most large train stations and are a great way to get around both on the countryside and in the city.
- The town of Giethoorn, sometimes called the "Venice of the North"
- National Park "De Weerribben" in the extreme northwest of the province
- The unspoilt mediaeval village of Ootmarsum
- The picturesque mediaeval centre of the city of Deventer
- The hills of Salland, northeast of Deventer
- The forests of Twente
- The unique landscape of the Lutterzand
- Architecture and art in Enschede
Overijssel is a great place for the following activities:
- Visit a cheese farm
- Go horseriding
- Taking a guided tour in nature, there are rare species of plants and animals to be found in nature parks
- Visit Enschede, the largest city in the east. It's a student town and a great place to shop, dine and do cultural activities. Enjoy art, architecture and music here.
- Outdoor activities like canooing, cycling and walking
- Visit museums and historical sites. Overijssel was one of the last parts of the Netherlands to convert to Christianity, this created a unique culture with a lot of room for tradition.
Traditional Dutch cuisine is hearty, rich and simple. Enjoy traditional dishes like stamppots (mashups from potatoes and different varieties of vegetables, served with sausage or meatballs) and pannekoeken (a large and thinner version of pancake, great with its own special syrup). There are restaurants that specialise in pannenkoeken exclusively, they're called pannenkoekenhuizen. A great place to visit with children or to visit as a halfway point on walking or cycling trips.
Overijssel has local breweries and wine is also produced in small quantities. Try local beers and wines, you can find them at many cafés.
The Dutch legal age for drinking is 16 for light alcoholic beverages (beer/wine) and 18 for stronger beverages (spirits).
Overijssel is one of the safest areas of the Netherlands. However, it's important to pay attention to basic safety. Pickpockets may be active in cities, especially on market days.
Pay special attention to traffic safety. Don't ignore red lights, be careful when riding a bicycle. For car drivers: pay special attention to the red zones on the road, these are bicycle lanes. There are a lot of bicycles on the roads in the Netherlands. Cyclists are also well-protected by law, and they may sometimes take risks.
The eastern border of Overijssel is also the border with Germany. The following Dutch provinces border Overijssel: Flevoland on the west, Gelderland towards the southwest, and Drenthe and Friesland on the north.