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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.
Internet cafés are not as widespread as you would expect, but you can easily find one in the popular cities. Most hostels, hotels and camp sites have several computers, so you can keep connected with folk at home. Here is a list of internet cafés that could come in handy for travellers. Otherwise, most libraries have lots of computers and prices are around the €2-3 per hour range, although sometimes it can be even more expensive.
Wireless internet access using wifi is becoming more popular and is usually available at most hotels and increasingly at train stations. Also in trains (at least in most first class wagons, but also more and more in second class) and some buses you can use wifi. Finally, places like McDonald's and Starbucks have free wifi, and smaller individual business like cafés and restaurants are on the rise too offering these services. More often than not, these service tend to be free of charge, though there might be a limited time you can use the internet.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The country code for the Netherlands is 31. The outbound international prefix is 00. The general emergency number is 112, like many other countries.
0800 numbers are toll-free and for 09xx numbers are charged at premium rates. Mobile phones have numbers in the 06 range, and calls to cell phones are also priced at higher rates.
From internet cafés, it is also usually possible to make long distance international calls. Like in other countries, telephone booths have almost disappeared, though some are still found around public transport stations, where you can use a few coins to make calls. It is only recommended for local calls.
The cellular phone network in the Netherlands is GSM 900/1800. The main providers of cell phone networks are KPN (Dutch only), T-mobile and Vodafone, who cover the whole country. Other operators, like Hollandsnieuwe, Simyo or Tele2, use one of these 3 networks basically.
It is best to buy a SIM card when in the Netherlands for use in your cellphone, as this usually works out cheaper than using the one from home. If you are planning to study or work in the country and stay for several months, buying a cellphone is the best option. A simple one, sometimes with €10 worth on it, can be bought from around €25. The simplest smartphones are around €75.
The rate for sending a postcard or letter up to 20 grams within the Netherlands is €0.64 (2014). Since 2010 there are stamps available for domestic post which no longer include the value in €. Instead, there are stamps available with either a '1' or a '2' as a substitute for value. The '1' can be used for letters and postcards up to 20 grams, while 20-50 grams require you to use the '2'-valued stamps (or two '1'-valued stamps of course).
Sending items to other EU countries and the rest of the world (there is one price since 2014) will cost €1.05. Stamps are sold at post offices, supermarkets and smaller shops/kiosks; often the place where you buy your postcards can also supply you with stamps.
Sending parcels abroad is more costly. A standard-sized parcel between up to 2 kilograms will cost you €9 for destinations within the EU and €18 (both without Track & Trace) to the rest of the world. Prices with Track & Trace start at €13 and €24.30 respectively. Parcel service is available from major post offices only; standard-size boxes are on sale there as well. For sending parcels, it might be just as competitive and fast to use a company like TNT, UPS or DHL.
If you need to receive mail while moving around, you can have it sent poste restante (to be called for) to a post office of your choice, where it will be kept for a month. If you come to claim it, bring a valid ID, and make sure to have told the sender that the name on the envelope must be an exact match with that in your passport. For addresses of post offices, as well as more information, consult the TNT website.
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