Enschede

The largest city in the Twente region and the Overjissel province in Holland, Enschede (also known as “Eanske”) is a bustling and modern place with a laid-back and serene atmosphere. It has been named the greenest city in the Netherlands in 2003 and has a rich history of being the former center of textile industry. It was declared a city in the 12th century by Bishop Jan III van Diest and has grown into a major manufacturing site for textiles in the 19th century. However, the city met with fierce competition from the South East Asian countries in the 1970s and textile production in the city dwindled to almost nothing. A major fireworks disaster in 2000 brought the city to near ruins.  It was rebuilt and renovated with the support of the national government and today, Enschede is a cultural and commercial hub with a vibrant artistic scene. Enschede is home to the world famous Grolsch beer, the largest university in the Netherlands, the Universiteit Twente, and for hosting the oldest marathon in Holland, the Enschede Marathon.

A visit to Enschede will make you appreciate why it has been named the greenest town in the Netherlands – parks, woods, brooks, meadows, natural recreational areas and wooded banks literally dot the city’s landscape and are enjoyed by its residents. Some of the most popular natural spots are the Het Aamsveen  with high peat moors and a collection of unique flora and fauna; the Wooldrikspark and Wesselerbrinkpark both of which have children’s farms. Enschede also boasts of a lively shopping mecca with its shopping centers, department stores and local markets, the most popular of which is the Van Heeksplein. In the Oude Markt (“Old Market”) are a variety of bars, restaurants and cafes. Other places of interest include the Rjiksmuseum Twenthe which houses a collection of 18th century art, the Museum Twentse Welle with its historical display of the city’s textile production and the Dragonheart Medieval Lifestyle where visitors can marvel at unique medieval artifacts and costumes.