Historic Vollenhove is perhaps one of the best kept secrets of the eastern Netherlands. For centuries, fishermen set sail from the little harbour, glancing back at the late Gothic church as they headed out for the rolling waves of the Zuiderzee. Today there are no more waves, because in the 20th century, Vollenhove was enveloped by reclaimed land, and today the sea is a lake, the IJsselmeer. In the 17th century, Vollenhove had no fewer than 17 stately manor houses, known regionally as haverzates, which earned it the name ‘City of Palaces’ – though ‘city’ is certainly not the word you’d think of to describe the place today.
Stadspaleis Hotel Seidel is one of the remaining palaces, surrounded by a 19th-century English landscape garden. The interior of the restaurant and guestrooms is appropriate, with chandeliers, marble fireplaces and wooden floors. The paintings and antiques are reminders of the manor’s rich history.
The nearby Restaurant Seidel used to double as an inn and town hall. The restaurant is named after the first innkeeper, Eberhardt Seidel, who started welcoming guests in 1621, from local fishermen to wealthy nobles. This area of lakes and waterways, including the famous village of Giethoorn, is ideal for exploring by boat.
From the hotel, it’s just a short walk to Restaurant Seidel. This historic building with its antique furnishings is one of the most famous in the old town centre. As you dine in the Zeekamer (‘sea room’) or the Raadzaal (‘council chamber’) you are reminded that until 1948 the building had a double role as inn and town hall. Chef Marlice van Meer serves a wide range of local produce. Vollenhove might have been surrounded by new land, but fish is still unmissable on the menu. Enjoy the local smoked eel, or a spectacular smoked fish platter. The menu also includes French classics such as escargots and chateaubriand steak. If Restaurant Seidel is closed, you can eat at the Palace hotel wine & dine.
Restaurant Seidel is open daily from 11.00pm.
If you’re ready for a pleasant walk, you won’t have far to go: the hotel is set in a restored 19th-century English landscape garden, ideal for a stroll. The park also contains the ruins of the medieval Toutenburg Castle. Of course, you can also enjoy the gardens as you relax on the hotel terrace. The terrace of Restaurant Seidel – at walking distance from the hotel – looks out over Vollenhove’s little marina.
On request, Stadspaleis Hotel Seidel will provide you with a well-filled picnic basket and a boat so you can explore the area at your leisure. From Vollenhove, the waterways lead in every direction. You can head for the open spaces of the lakes around the IJsselmeer, or make your way along little waterways lined with reeds to the Weerribben-Wieden National Park and the famously picturesque village of Giethoorn. The trip will take you past the Royal Huisman shipyard to catch a glimpse of the luxury yachts under construction.
In Vollenhove itself there are more than 40 nationally listed buildings, and a stroll through the town centre is a must for lovers of historic architecture. From Vollenhove there is a wide choice of cycling and walking routes. The historic Hanseatic cities of Kampen and Zwolle are with in easy reach by car.