Enschede: The City that Rose Back from the Ashes

Laying just a few kilometres away from the border with Germany, Enschede is a lovely small city in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. Far from being your typical touristy destination, Enschede charms with its authentic atmosphere and rich history.  City Centre of Enschede. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.

Gloomy weather and tons of bicycles parked by the station will welcome you once you get off the train at Enschede. When planning your journey, you should keep in mind that the city is situated in the province of Overijssel and does not have a commercial airport, so you have to find alternative transport like taking the train or bus. 

Bicycles parked by the train station in Enschede. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily. 

Once you have arrived and settled, the fun part begins. Walking around the city centre is the best way to discover the hidden gems of Enschede. From historic monuments like the Grote Kerk Cathedral, which was built in the 1200s, to contemporary landmarks like the statue of a peculiar creature that “landed” on the roof of the ArtEZ Conservatory in 2018. 

 'In God We Trust' statue on top of the ArtEZ Conservatory. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.

What makes Enschede even more vibrant and lively are the thousands of international students that reside there. The city is home to the University of Twente, the best-ranked technical university in the Netherlands, with more than 10,000 students enjoying the modern campus and spacious green fields surrounding it. 

 Entrance of University of Twente. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.

You might notice that a certain architectural style dominates in almost all parts of Enschede. Even though the city was established almost a century ago, most buildings are rather new and modern. The reason for this phenomenon is an event that forever changed the history of Enschede. 

In May of 1862, a devastating fire broke and burned down the whole city. Hundreds of families were left homeless as houses, factories, hospitals and churches were destroyed to the foundations. The city had to be completely rebuilt from the ground up.

 Oude Markt square. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.

Unfortunately, this was not the only time Enschede was engulfed in flames. On May 13, 2000 there was a serious explosion in a firework depot in the city. The catastrophic event killed 23 and injured almost 1000 people.  

The Roombeek neighbourhood, where the disaster happened, was completely wiped out with hundreds of demolished homes and a thousand damaged buildings. However, the city managed to recover from the devastating accident and even rebuilt an entirely new residential area to accommodate those who lost their homes. 

 Oldenzaalsestraat in Enschede. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.

Today, Enschede charms with its contemporary architecture and youthful atmosphere. Cultural events and weekly open markets with local produce and traditional food like fried Kibbeling fish or patat with mayonnaise, join people together and keep the spirits of the city high. 

Fried Kibbeling fish from the weekly market at H.J. van Heekplein. Stanislava Pashkulova for AUBG Daily.  

Despite some of the challenges that it has faced throughout the years, Enschede remains a vibrant and dynamic place that is worth visiting. If you are ever planning a journey to the Netherlands, definitely consider taking a picturesque train trip and exploring this charming city for a few days.

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