The Stedelijk Museum Zwolle consists of old and new buildings together. In 1997 a new wing was built to connect two older buildings. In this new wing are the entrance, the famous glass staircase, rooms for temporary exhibitions and the museum's café.
In the older building, the Drostenhuis, at the entrance to the right, you will find the permanent exhibition of the museum's collection in historical rooms and around some specific subjects. Here the museum visualises the history of the province of Overijssel in general, and of its capital Zwolle in particular.
The Drostenhuis, built in the middle of the 16th century, was thoroughly renovated around 1750. Both the richly ornamented facade with the figures of Poseidon and Amphitrite and the interior of the reception room, right from the entrance, and the kitchen date from this period.
Here different aspect of the culture and the history of Zwolle and its region is shown.
On the ground floor you will find silverwork, a room with objects from the end of the 18th century, a.o. portraits of the so called ‘patriots' who agitated against the followers of Prince William V, the stadholder at that time, and the writing-table of Rhijnvis Feith, who spent most of his life in Zwolle.
Of the painters that worked in Zwolle in the 17th century like Gerard ter Borch, Hendrick ten Oever and Pieter van Noort, several works are exhibited.
The most spectacular room on the ground floor is the original kitchen of the house. It dates from the 16th century and was modernised in the 18th century with tiles covering the walls and the installation of a cooking-stove next to the open fire. In the cellar the exhibition 'Zwolle ondergronds' shows the results of archaeological excavations in Zwolle during the last 15 years.
By the 16th century winding staircase the first floor is reached.
Here the so called Blokzijl Room represents a typical example of a wealthy 17th-century family's living-room. Its floor and wainscot originate from a 17th-century house in the town of Blokzijl in northern Overijssel.
In the next room the exhibition 'Zwolle, bestuur en godsdienst' (Zwolle, administration and religion) shows the famous goblets made to remember deceased councillors of the city of Zwolle. From here you get to the exhibition that gives a survey of the economic history of Zwolle. The origin of the city, the guilds, the importance of a harbour and the industrialisation is illustrated with paintings, utensils and old drawings.
The museumcollection also houses textiles. In the last room a small exhibition of needlework can be seen.