I know; in my first post about Zwolle I spoke of a mini-series of five posts and this was not one of them. Let’s call it progressive insight that made me decide to dedicate a whole post to Waanders in de Broeren, which will bring the mini-series to a total of six articles about Zwolle.
City trip Zwolle. Waanders in de Broeren.
If ever you find yourself in Zwolle, be sure to pay a visit to bookstore Waanders in de Broeren. Originally, that’s what Waanders was and still is: a bookstore, started and owned by the family Waanders since 1836.
But nowadays, Waanders is so much more.
A sensation for the eye, the ear and the tastebuds
That’s how Waanders describes itself and what it aspires to be. And I think it succeeds in that.
What Waanders offers
Waanders has 1500 m2 to it’s disposal. Let’s see what they offer in their store:
- books. Duh! Lots and lots of beautiful books on a wide range of topics.
- besides books they sell: gifts, stationery, music (CD’s), movies (DVD’s) and accessories for cooking, children, travel and gardening.
But that’s not all.
In the building is a cafe, Brasserie Waanders, where you can have a coffee, cake or lunch.
The bookstore also has an in-house Tourist Information point and organizes guided tours.
In particular tours in the building; the former Broerenkerk or Brother Church. (More about the building further on.)
And guided walks through the neighborhood around Waanders, the so called Broerenkwartier.
Former church converted into bookstore
Waanders is housed in the former Broerenkerk. And I have to say that the architects who did the renovation did an excellent job.
They managed to preserve a lot of the church and it’s history and heritage. AND they integrated a beautiful bookstore and cafe in the church.
The way it is designed still gives you the experience of strolling through narrow isles filled with books, despite being in such an enormous open church.
And you can go up to almost the top of the church. Which gives you a good and closer look at the richly decorated ceiling and at the beautiful big windows.
From the higher floors you can admire the fantastic church organ from up close .
A few of the original tombstones -that were embedded in the church floor- were preserved and placed vertical in one of the walls of the church.
Hermen, an archeological find and mystery
In 2010, during archeological excavations, a skeleton was discovered. This was not inside the church/bookstore, but very nearby.
After a whole lot of research, it was decided that the skeleton, a plastic replica of the skeleton, and a complete reconstruction of Hermen, as the unfortunate man was named, would be on permanent display in Waanders.
Research showed that Hermen was a man of around 23 years old, who lived in the 14th century.
He was murdered and died from blunt force injury to the head.
Was he punished? Excecuted? Tortured first? Why?
The researchers and archeologists don’t have all the answers.
On the ground floor of Waanders -actually: under the ground floor- you can see Hermen’s skeleton by pushing a light button, on one of the higher floors -inside a box- is the reconstructed Hermen.
Interesting stuff, don’t you think?!
But hey, if you find this gruesome, just skip ‘old’ Hermen. He’s not in plain sight. And Waanders has a lot of other stuff to enjoy!
Have you been to Waanders? What do you like most about this bookstore?