Visit the monument

Zwolle's largest national monument

A late medieval town church with furnishings from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and late medieval wall and vault paintings. The church contains two exceptional interior pieces: the imposing pulpit and the grandiose Schnitger organ.

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Over the years

Romanesque church

In the year 1040 the Romanesque church, which is the foundation for the Great or St. Michael's Church, is mentioned for the first time. Writings show that the bishop of Utrecht gave this Romanesque church to the Lebuinus Chapter of Deventer on December 7, 1040. That is the first time the name Zwolle appears in the archives. So the original church was at least built before 1040.

St. Michael's church completed

In the year 1452, construction of the Great or St. Michael's Church, now the Academiehuis, was completed. This Gothic three-aisled stone hall church, is one of the few remaining hall churches in the Netherlands. A characteristic of a hall church is that the side aisles have the same height and dimensions as the nave. From the Middle Ages, the predecessor church on this site has been dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The Iconoclasm

A Beeldenstorm took place in Zwolle on June 15, 1580, St. Vitusdag. The attackers caused irreparable damage to the interior of the Grote of Sint Michaƫlskerk.

Completing Choir Gate

The choir screen was placed in the church as the first showpiece after the Reformation in 1597 by Swier Kistemaker. This makes it the very first post-Reformation interior piece. The choir screen has three panels; on the middle one is the "Our Father," and on either side of that panel are the Ten Commandments, to remind people that the Bible will henceforth take center stage.

Completion Chancel

The pulpit was made by German Adam Straes between 1617 and 1622; it is the second tallest pulpit in all of Holland. The pulpit really should have been finished much sooner, but Straes spent a lot of time on it, making it a masterpiece in the field of sculptural art.

Church tower collapse

The country's tallest tower collapses for a third time due to a lightning strike.

Completion of Schnitger organ

After the collapse of the immense church tower in 1682, the Grote Kerk had to look for a new eye-catcher. This became an imposing organ, designed by the famous German organ builder Arp Schnitger and built by his sons Franz Caspar and Johann Georg. The organ was completed in 1721 and is one of the largest original baroque organs in Europe.

Restoration Koch

In the period 1875-1898, the Grote Kerk underwent a major restoration under the supervision of national advisor P.J.H. Cuypers (1827-1921). The restoration work was led by Zwolle architect Frederik Christiaan Koch (1840-1917). The restoration of the consistory room took place in 1897-1898.

Remodeling Consistory

The Consistory was the place where church administrators met and was built in a Baroque style. The painting above the fireplace, by Zwolle painter Hendrik ten Oever, is a portrait of the church council at that time. In 1721, the consistory received its current ceiling. Over the centuries, however, the original color scheme disappeared. Panels and doors became mainly matte green. A blue sky was added to the ceiling. In 2017, the consistory was restored and returned to its original colors.

Church remodeling

During the redevelopment, the nave of the church was cleared of the wooden pews that were there. The building also received a new entrance on the north (Grote Markt) and south sides (Grote Kerkplein) to make accessibility more attractive.

Start of major restoration

The building is in need of major maintenance; the faƧade and the roof on the outside are undergoing major work. The buttresses have also been dismantled and reinstalled. On the inside of the church, the floor has been fitted with underfloor heating and leveled again. The vaults are also being restored; the stucco and paintings are being cleaned and the fragile murals are being preserved.


A place to learn and innovate. To listen and watch. To discover, wonder and enrich yourself. The Academiehuis provides a place for innovation and internalization. For young and old.

The Academiehuis connects, enriches and amazes...

Look and see. Hear and listen. Feel and experience. The Academiehuis connects, enriches and amazes. Brings together word, art, music and people. As it has done for more than six hundred years, here under the vaults and baroque organ of our monumental museum church.

ā€Placefor meeting and inspiration, dialogue and silence. Stage for storytellers and listeners, thinkers and doers. Plato's Akademeia in the Athens of the past is the Academiehuis in the Zwolle of today.


The Academiehuis has and gives space for history and present, initiative and innovation. For education and meaning, event and experiment. For a find in the book market, a cup of coffee and a moment to catch your breath. Everything in the heart of Zwolle.

Here, on the largest covered square in the city, culture is an adventure. Of and for everyone.

From Church to Academiehuis

A house where visitors exchange stories, listen to music and art has a place. In this house, opinions are shared and honed and debate and dialogue take place. Music sounds and exhibits inspire. Celebrations take place and a candle can be lit here every day.

The Grote of St. Michaƫlskerk has become Academiehuis and picks up the thread of a religious history; it constantly renews itself.

As Zwolle's largest covered square, the building is accessible to everyone; to residents of the city and visitors from the region and beyond. The house mirrors the Academia as founded by Plato, 380 years before Christ, in Athens as a meeting place for the free citizen, where dialogues took place around current themes and science was practiced. Plato based this on three pillars: the word, art and music. Exactly these three themes are the basis for the Academiehuis 's vision of identity and are reflected in its organizational structure.

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