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Overijssel is one of the twelve provinces in the Netherlands. It is located in the east of the country and forms the transition zone between the more densely populated central parts of the country and the thinly populated northern provinces like Drenthe and Friesland. There are some nice Hanseatic cities to visit in this province like the small but beautiful town of Kampen, but also cities a little bigger and with character like Zwolle and Deventer. Still, there is a lot of peaceful quietness as well with some fine national parks and great biking routes. A province for everyone who wants to go a little off the beaten track in the Netherlands.
It is divided into three parts: Twenthe in the east, the central Salland part and the Kop van Overijssel in the north. The IJssel forms the main waterway in the province flowing through cities like Deventer.
On the first sunday of August, there is a huge bookmarket in the center of Deventer, simply called the Deventer Boekenmarkt. There are hundreds of marketstalls covering a distance of 6 kilometres, making it the largest bookmarket in Europe. The market starts at 9.30 in the morning and lasts until 17.30.
In the weekend before Christmas, the world of Charles Dickens is brought to life in the center of Deventer. The area near to the Bergkerk is were the actual festival takes place, but there is much more to do than only the festival. The entrance is only possible at the Keizerstraat, and is for free. The Festival starts at 11.00 and lasts until 17.00. Due to the many visitors (around 150.000 in two days.) there is a waiting line, which is entertained with perfomances.
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity.
Weather in Overijssel is comparable to much of the country, so check the weather section of the Netherlands. Still, during summer it's probably a little cooler in the western parts of the provinces, while especially the east towards the border with Germany is actually a little warmer. In winter it's the other way around and during times when a snow carpet covers the country and province, temperatures can plummet in the eastern parts.
Schiphol international airport near Amsterdam is the main hub to and from the Netherlands with hundreds of flights throughout the world. It's about a 2 hour drive to places like Zwolle and the east, though a little less from Deventer.
Other options include the airport of Groningen in the north of the country or the Niederrhein Airport (Weeze) just across the border in Germany, which has a growing number of low cost flights, especially with Ryanair. Both are about 1 to 1.5 hours from Overijssel, depending on where you come from.
The main railroad runs from Amsterdam via Utrecht to Zwolle. Deventer and Enschede have train connections as well. Check the Dutch Railways website for more information about schedules and prices. More information and integrated door-to-door itinerary advice for all public transport can be obtained for free from 9292OV (Dutch only).
Overijssel is easily reached by car taking the A28 highway from Utrecht towards Zwolle or the A1 highway from Utrecht via Apeldoorn (Gelderland) to Hengelo and Enschede in the east of Overijssel.
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