In the east of the Netherlands right in the Dutch/German border is the municipality of Enschede.
Although the history of Enschede is largely a mystery, there was some form of establishment in medieval times surrounding the old marketplace.
In 1325, Bishop Jan van Diest granted Enschede city rights, and after this the city established its defences in the form of ditches, hedges and palisades due to the expense of stone.
During the 19th century, the city saw an economical boom from the textile industry and the production of the material bombazijn.
After the collapse in the textile industry in the Netherlands due to competition from the far east, Enschede struggled to survive, however investments from the government brought this wonderful city back to fortune and it now stands as a pleasant, charming and beautiful place known for its sports and museums.
Lets explore the best things to do in Enschede:
1. Grolsch Bierbrouwerij Tour
One of the nations favourite beers, Grolsch has been predominant in the Netherlands and Europe, noted for its great flavour, iconic bottles and fun advertisements.
What better way to learn about this brand than by taking a tour of their brewery? A professional guide will take you through the factory to see how the beer is brewed, learn about the history of the company, and understand about the craftsmanship and care that is put into the process.
A truly fun, educational and memorable tour, plus you of course get to sample the amazing Grolsch beer and buy some souvenirs.
One of the oldest public parks in the Netherlands, the Volkspark was officially opened in 1872 and is one of the finest examples of an English landscape garden in the country.
Spanning over 500m, the park sits next to the Saxion education complex to the west of the old town centre.
Admire the beautiful ponds brimming with colourful water lilies, walk over the many small bridges that cross the water, take in the sights and smells of the plants and species of trees, or just sit and relax on one of the well manicured lawns.
Volkspark is a truly magical place to unwind and spend a lazy afternoon at.
3. Rutbeek Park
Located approximately 20 minutes to the south of Enschede, Rutbeek Park is a sublime place where you can relax and have some fun.
Who would have thought you could find several beaches in mainland Europe? Surrounding this man made lake are a series of small but beautiful beaches and parkland where you can relax, play some games, have a dip in the water, or enjoy a family picnic.
Aside from the family fun, you can also opt to participate in the many activities that are organized here including scuba diving, paintball, surfing and fly boarding.
With something for everyone, Rutbeek Park is a superb place for a family outing.
4. Rijksmuseum Twenthe
Founded by textile baron Bernard Van Heek in 1927, this fascinating building has a beautiful design and also a wonderful collection of art, mainly focusing on the 18th century.
Located just to the north of the Oude Markt and Grote Kerk, the museum is easily accessible on foot as parking is limited.
Although the building was greatly damaged during the firework disaster in 2000, the art collection remained unharmed and today you can see this brilliant collection including works from Kunhert, Rungius and Rusdael.
5. FC Twente stadium
Football is extremely popular in the industrial town of Enschede and its main football club, FC Twente has a long history of success and popularity in the Dutch Eredivisie.
With a capacity of just over 30,000, the De Grolsch Veste stadium is a magnificent structure and the atmosphere at the FC Twente home games is unbelievable.
Over the years the stadium has seen much expansion and is now one of the top venues in the country.
Although located out of the town centre, the stadium is surrounded by a whole array of other activities too so a day trip here would be the perfect opportunity to see some football and have some fun.
6. Go Planet Park
Dubbed as the largest entertainment park in the north of the Netherlands, Go Planet Park is sure to keep you entertained for hours on end.
Situated next to the FC Twente stadium and the ice-rink, this complex is part of a greater developed area that has come to be an area of fun and entertainment for Enschede.
Inside the park you will find a bowling alley, an indoor dive world, a cinema complex, a fitness centre and many themed restaurants (one of which contains a mini-golf course). With such an array of activities, a family could easily spend a day here and stay fully entertained.
Also known as James Church, this modern building was constructed in 1931 on the site where the original neoclassical church once stood until it was destroyed in the 1800s.
With a truly stunning design that is not what you would expect from a traditional European church, Jacobuskerk features a large central basilica and a striking brickwork exterior.
Three huge circular windows adorn the front facade together with a series of intricate small archways.
Inside, you will find a beautiful spacious area full of light from the many circular windows at the base of the basilica.
A truly awe-inspiring building, even those who aren’t religious will appreciate the design and architecture of this church.
8. MBS Boekelo steam train
Some traditions that are kept alive provide great entertainment and nostalgia, and the Boekelo steam train is one such attraction.
The small town of Boekelo is around a 20 minute drive from Enschede and is actually a charming place to visit in its own right.
Spanning across the countryside of the Twente region is an 125 year old railway that is a far cry back to the thriving textile industry.
Take a ride on the MBS Boekelo and be transported (literally) back to a simpler time, special events are regularly held on the train like the winter stampot ride which includes a hearty Dutch stew.
Aside from the train, there is also a museum that has a fascinating collection of different train carriages and railway memorabilia.
9. Grote Kerk
Another fantastic church in the centre of Enschede, the Grote Kerk sits in the middle of the Oude Markt and takes price of place in the centre of the town.
Some parts of the church date back to the 13th century while much that stands today is a result of its conversion in the 1800’s.
A tall central bell tower with pointed roof stands at the north end, towering over the market square.
An organ that dates back to 1892 takes pride of place inside the church and dominates the far wall – Its many gilded pipes and ornate wooden frame are really impressive.
10. Oude Markt
The market place or Oude Markt is a central point in Enschede and one that provides a fine place to explore the city from.
Encircled by the Oude Markt street, this area contains many of Enschede’s wonderful pieces of architecture including Jacobuskerk and the Grote Kerk.
Furthermore there is a charming monument in the centre, and many restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating.
Enjoy a meal or a drink here, take in the sights, or walk into the many side streets to check out the shops.
11. Holland Casino
Fancy trying your luck on the tables or enjoying a fun filled night of entertainment and excitement? Holland Casino is a favourite casino brand in the Netherlands and the establishment in Enschede is awesome.
In prime position just on the southern outskirts of the old town centre and the Oude Markt, Holland Casino is within easy reach of the bars and restaurants.
Games available include American Roulette, Black Jack, Poker, Bingo, Texas Hold’em and of course slot machines.
Splash a little cash (responsibly!), enjoy a few drinks and entertainment, and enjoy a memorable time at this premier casino.
12. Rondje Enschede cycling route
As the urban areas of Enschede end, an area of beautiful countryside opens up and there are many cycling routes to be found in the countryside of eastern Netherlands.
Rondje Enschede translates literally as “around Enschede” and is a network of cycling paths that surround the city.
With over 52km of beautiful tracks for both cycling and hiking, this route offers the intrepid explorer the chance to see the Dutch countryside and engage in some exhilarating exercise.
Along the route you will see a myriad of different sites and complete information about Rondje Enschede is available in the cities tourist information centres.
13. Enschede Synagogue
One of the most beautiful remaining synagogues in Europe, this religious establishment is a true gem.
Commissioned in 1927 and constructed in 1928, the synagogue was designed by Karel de Bazel.
With an extraordinary exterior that features several domes and Hebrew scroll, you would not think the inside could be better, but it is! Inside you will find a dazzling display of coloured stained glass windows, intricate artwork, and a large iron chandelier hanging from the central dome.
A truly magnificent example of a traditional synagogue, it is easy to see why this building is held in such high regard.
14. IJsbaan Twente ice skating
For the adventurous, why not have a go at ice-skating? IJsbaan Twente ice skating is a world class skating rink that is known for its high skating speeds and many world records have been set here.
If you love skating, or simply want to have a go, the facilities here are world class and you can join in various different activities including curling.
There is also a reasonably priced restaurant where you can enjoy a fine meal after a fun session of skating.
One of the more understated churches in the city, the Lasonderkerk lies just a short walk from the Rijksmuseum and offers something different – A fantastic aerial view of Enschede.
Inside this church is a beautiful range of stained glass windows, and the whole interior is full of wooden beams, arches and pews.
A real treat however is to climb to the top of the bell tower and see the wonderful cityscape of Enschede spread out before you.