Meppel, Netherlands


Meppel (Drents: Möppelt) is a municipality and city in the extreme southwest of the Dutch province of Drenthe. On August 1, 2020, the municipality had 34,125 inhabitants (source: CBS), of which more than 28,000 live in the city of Meppel itself. The municipal area is 58 km². This makes Meppel the smallest municipality in Drenthe.


Getting here

By train
Meppel has a station where Intercity trains also stop regularly. The city is therefore easily accessible by rail.

By car
Meppel is located on the highway and is therefore easily accessible by car.

By boat
Meppel has been a junction of waterways for centuries. The city has a lot of canals. For example, there is the Keizergracht, the Prinsengracht and the Heerengracht, which have traditionally been used for a lot of trade.

Many of those canals have now been filled in and the main port facilities of the city are located along the Meppelerdiep. The city is directly connected to the IJsselmeer and has the most inland seaport in the Netherlands. The harbor continues right up to the historic city centre. In the center there is a small lock of approximately 6 meters wide. If your ship does not fit through, it is still an option to moor in front of the lock at Westeinde or at one of the moorings on the west side of the city.



Wilhelmina Park
This oldest park in Meppel is located near the station. It was designed in 1914 by the garden and landscape architect Leonard Springer. It was called the 'Walking Park' until it was renamed Wilhelmina Park on August 31, 1930, on the occasion of Queen Wilhelmina's fiftieth birthday.


Meppel is a small city, but it has relatively many attractions. This is partly due to the rich trading history of the city. Important monuments are:
Grote Kerk (also: Mariakerk) with tower from the 15th/16th century on Kerkplein.
Water tower

De Weert is a windmill in Meppel that has been on the Weerdstraat since 1807. The mill has a couple of 17er, 150 cm in diameter, artificial stones. A grinding chair, grain crusher and centrifugal bolt. It is an octagonal tower mill and was intended as a bark mill for the tanneries in Meppel. Nowadays, corn is also ground. The mill has a radius of 20.80 meters with jib blades and airbrakes. The welded rods were made in 1998 by the company Vaags. The inner rod has number 21 and the outer rod number 20. The cast iron upper shaft was cast in 1997 by the Hardinxveld company and has number 75.

The mill was completely restored in 1999, the substructure originally dates from 1807. The official reopening took place on May 13, 2000 during the National Mill Day. Owner is the foundation "Molen De Weert". The mill is managed and maintained by volunteer millers. The hood has a jointed wooden crosswork, which is operated by a wheel. The mill is caught, stopped, with a belt catch, which is operated with a seesaw. The catch bar is imposed on a thumb during rotation. The regrind can be agitated with the rotating mill and by hand with the help of a gaff wheel. There are two separate slots.

The windmill De Vlijt is located on the Sluisgracht in Meppel and has been rebuilt since 2002 on a substructure from 1859 and has a radius of 21.80 metres. It is an octagonal wooden tower mill on a stone substructure, with the function of a corn mill. The hood was covered with shale, which has been replaced with wood covered with EPDM. It has great scenic value. The mill is not in use, in contrast to the De Weert mill, also located in Meppel. However, the mill is capable of turning. There is also a grinding chair. The stone substructure of the mill has been privately owned since 1999 and is currently used as a residence and law firm. The escape is gated in the old Dutch way. The 21.80 m long steel rods were made in 2001 by the Derckx company. The inner rod has number 942 and the outer rod number 943. The mill has a cast iron upper shaft, which was cast in 2001 by the Hardinxveld company and an upper wheel, however, still without combs. The number of the upper shaft is 92. The reel is caught, braked, with a steel hoop catch. The mill has an English wheel for wheeling. One of the original functions of this mill was that of a mustard mill. The Stichting Stadskorenmolen De Vlijt has set itself the goal of restoring this mill and putting it back into use as a mustard mill.

Historic downtown, with many warehouses.
Oud-Zuid (Stationsweg/Zuideinde): an old neighborhood with many monumental houses. The district has the status of a protected cityscape. The monumental building of the former Rijks Hogere Burgerschool is also located here.
Station (listed building from 1867)



The Drukkerijmuseum is located in a monumental warehouse on the Kleine Oever, right in the center of Meppel. The fact that there is a printing museum in Meppel is partly due to the fact that Meppel has traditionally been a printing town, where many printing companies were and still are.

Initially, since the opening on May 22, 1986, the Graphic Museum Drenthe Foundation gave the museum the name Graphic Museum Drenthe. However, this was renamed Drukkerijmuseum Meppel in 1995. This is intended to better express the objective of the museum, namely to provide as complete an insight as possible into the history of the printing trade.

The museum is run by a large number of volunteers, including many former graphic artists. They regularly give demonstrations in paper crafting, lithography, manual and machine typesetting, letterpress printing and bookbinding.

The museum also has regularly changing exhibitions of the work of graphic artists, including etchings, photography, woodcuts, lithographs and special book editions. There have also been exhibitions of illustrators such as Dick Bruna, Cornelis Jetses, Jan Kruis and W.G. of Hulst.


Going out

Meppel has a theater (Ogterop). Meppel also has a large number of cafes and restaurants. The cinema, the Luxor Theater, closed in 2015 but reopened in December 2018.[8] There are also two coffee shops in Meppel.



"Thursday Meppel Days" in the summer months, celebrations that originate from the market days. During the DMD there are various live performances by local and regional music associations in the city.
Drentse Fiets 4daagse, Meppel is one of the starting places
Meppel Culinary
Live in Meppel
Meppel City Run
Mini Meppel
Meppeler Night of Pop Music
Picnic In The Park
Grachtenfestival, annually at the beginning of June. Historic ships in the canals, large fair/market, shopping Sunday, shipping and water related activities. Furthermore, a lot of music such as the Shantykorenfestival and the Balgenfestival (accordion festival).
Puppet International, until 2014 the "International Puppet Festival", is held every two years.
On November 14, 2015, the city was the first place in Drenthe to host the national entry of Sinterklaas.
On November 19, 2017, the annual traveling music festival Popronde will visit Meppel for the first time.


What to do

Canal Festival
Thursday Meppel Days



Meppel was already mentioned in a charter in 1141, but at that time it was no more than a group of farms. In 1422 Meppel was separated from Kolderveen as an independent cherry game and then they were allowed to build a church. This Grote or Mariakerk is still there, although much has changed over the centuries. At the time, the place was nothing more than a village. Meppel flourished in the 16th century because of the peat excavations in the Northern Netherlands; the city was an important transit port because of the connection with the Drentsche Hoofdvaart and the Hoogeveense Vaart on the one side and the Meppelerdiep on the other. The Zuiderzee could be reached at Zwartsluis via the Meppelerdiep. Peat was exported along this road from all over Drenthe to the west of the country.

In the 17th and 18th centuries many inland skippers settled in the town, which had been granted city rights by the Drenthe drost in 1644 and now has more than a thousand inhabitants. In 1809, Meppel received city rights again from Louis Napoleon. On November 5, 1815, Meppel received its own city regulations from King William I.

The waters that run through the center of Meppel are called canals. Partly because of the names Heerengracht, Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht, the city is also sometimes called the Mokum of the North. Meppel is also compared to Amsterdam for other reasons. For example, there have been links between the two cities for centuries and the Jewish community was richly represented in Meppel before World War II. Street names like Synagogue Street are a reminder of that time. The above canals are all along the old route of the Hoogeveense Vaart and the Beilerstroom through the center of Meppel. In the twentieth century, some canals that ran straight through the center of the city were filled in. Some drawbridges have also been replaced by fixed bridges. Since then it has become impossible to enter Drenthe through Meppel, partly due to the narrowing of the Hoogeveense Vaart in 2005 near the Oosterboer. In 2008, part of the Gasgracht, up to Prinsenplein in the center, was dug open again. A folding bridge over the Gasgracht has been built near the old "Tipbrug". This bridge is built after the example of the Tipbrug and is called "Prinsenbrug". There are plans to re-open more canals.

During the Second World War, almost all Jewish residents of Meppel were transported by the German occupier to the concentration camps and died there. Of the 250 Meppel Jews, 232 perished and only 18 returned.

In 2007 Meppel became a Millennium Municipality.

Meppel has an active historical association, the Oud Meppel Foundation.


Meppeler mosquito

The inhabitants of Meppel are also called "Meppeler mosquitoes" or mosquito sprayers, after a folk tale that is known about several places in the world. The story goes that one night some residents thought the church tower was on fire, because a cloud of smoke hung around the Meppeler tower, but it turned out to be a swarm of fireflies or mosquitoes. A statue of this folk tale, by Aart van den IJssel, was placed in Meppel in 1971.

The coat of arms of Meppel
The history of the city can be read in the coat of arms of Meppel: the three clover leaves symbolize the pasture land around Meppel; the three black rectangles represent peat and represent the peat quarries and the peat trade; the ten silver tokens in the red border represent the ten sacks of grain that the village of Meppel paid from 1422 to the church of Kolderveen (next to Nijeveen, a village that borders Meppel).



The compact city center with its characteristic streets, canals, squares and windmills has an enormous diversity of shops. Many well-known chain stores can also be found in Meppel, but there are also small boutiques. Although the city center looks small, the range of shops is large.



De Brasserie, Hoofdstraat 61-63. Tel: +31(0)522 252935, Email: Meeting place for young and old.
De drie Kalkovens, Steenwijkerstraatweg 98. Tel.: +31(0)522 240 200.



The village of Nijeveen also belongs to the municipality of Meppel, situated in a rustic environment, where people cycle and walk a lot. The area around Meppel is a great base for exploring the rest of Drenthe as well as the Kop van Overijssel. The town is surrounded by beautiful, green nature reserves, from where the river Reest runs right through the town. There are also several medieval churches and beautiful estates.


Administrative division

The municipality of Meppel officially has three districts, subdivided into different residential areas. The largest residential areas are the city of Meppel and the village of Nijeveen.

The former municipality of Nijeveen (consisting of the villages Nijeveen, Kolderveen and the hamlets of Nijeveense Bovenboer and Kolderveense Bovenboer) was merged into the municipality of Meppel with the municipal reorganization of 1998. Nijentap, part of Havelterberg (formerly the municipality of Havelte), Broekhuizen (formerly the municipality of Ruinerwold), Rogat and De Schiphorst (both previously the municipality of de Wijk) were also added to the municipality of Meppel in 1998.

The city of Meppel itself consists of:
Center (partly old, partly urban decontamination in the 1950s)
Watertorenbuurt (1930s)
Ezinge (1940s)
Haveltermade (1950s; part of Meppel since 1942, including the former Ruinerwold hamlet of Tweeloo)
Koedijkslanden (1970s; part of Meppel since 1961, including former Staphorster hamlets of Hesselingen and Werkhorst)
Oosterboer (1980s; former hamlet, now incorporated into the development)
Mountain millet lands (early 21st century)
Nieuwveense Countries (from 2013)



In the past, agriculture and shipbuilding were an important source of income for Meppel. The market also had an important regional function. Many products came in via the barges and were traded or transited. The current feed mills and silo warehouse are a remnant of this pivotal function for the distribution of agricultural products. Meppel has six business parks: Ezinge, Oude Vaart, Oevers, Noord, Zomerdijk West and Blankenstein. Large companies include Scania and FrieslandCampina. It has traditionally been a printing town with companies in the graphic industry and publishing houses. A local newspaper is also published.

As a regional trading city, Meppel is well served by SMEs. The market is held on the Kerkplein every Thursday morning and Saturday. The city owes its regional tourist function to the accessibility via the canals for pleasure craft and the old characteristic densely built-up city center with squares.



Meppel can be reached by water for ships up to approximately 3000 tons and is located on the main waterway network. Meppel is connected via the Meppelerdiep to Zwartsluis and then to the IJsselmeer. Meppel also provides access to the Drentsche Hoofdvaart. It has a relatively large and easily accessible inland port that serves a large region. The port of Meppel works together with those of Kampen and Zwolle.

Vessels with a maximum size of 110 x 11.50 x 3.25 meters (at NAP) can enter the Meppelerdiep. Beyond the Cape Bridges, the maximum permitted size decreases to 90 x 9.50 x 2.50 m at NAP. There are several shipyards in Meppel, both for commercial and pleasure craft. There are also various storage and transhipment companies with their own unloading quays, including a container terminal that ships approximately 27,500 containers per year.



In Meppel, a large number of sports clubs are active at various locations. In football and basketball, Meppel associations play at a high level in national competitions.

Basketball club Red Giants plays in Sporthal Ezinge. The athletics track of Athletics Association de Sprinter and the soccer fields of FC Meppel and top division teams MVV Alcides and MSC are located at Sportpark Ezinge. FC Meppel also has a gymnastics department.

The Meppeler Hockey Association and the baseball and softball club Blue Devils play at Sportpark Koedijkslanden. The swimming and water polo club plays in the Bad Hesselingen swimming pool, which also has a subtropical section. Bras de Fer, a regional fencing club, plays in the sports hall of Stenden University.

There are also associations for badminton, (beach) volleyball, handball, judo, korfball, skating, tennis and gymnastics.

Nijeveen also has a number of sports clubs, including korfball club DOS'46, which plays in the Korfball League.


Sporting events

Meppel is one of the starting places of the Drentse Fietsvierdaagse. Running events include a half marathon through the Reestdal, the Meppel Cityrun in the center of Meppel, and the annual Trimloop Vierdaagse, which is organized on four consecutive Tuesday evenings in the spring. Since 2014, the "Urban Challenge" obstacle course has also been held there. In addition, the annual CitySwim takes place in the city center in the canals as part of the Grachtenfestival.


Traffic and transport

(Water) roads

Meppel is located on the A32 motorway. Just south of Meppel, at the Lankhorst junction and east at Meppel Oost, you can take the A28 to Zwolle and Groningen.

The Meppelerdiep, the Drentsche Hoofdvaart and the Hoogeveense Vaart connect Meppel by ship with Zwartsluis, Assen and Hoogeveen. On the southern border of Meppel, the Omlegde Hoogeveense Vaart has been added to guide commercial shipping past Meppel. The Meppelerdiep is accessible for ships up to 2000 tons.

Natural waters that flow through Meppel are the Reest and the Wold Aa. The Reest flows into the Meppeler Diep.


Public transport

Meppel is located on the Zwolle - Leeuwarden railway line and is the starting point of the Meppel - Groningen railway line.

Meppel station is a stop for intercity trains between Leeuwarden on the one hand and The Hague (via the Hanzelijn) and Rotterdam (via the Veluwelijn) on the other hand. In addition, sprinters drive to Zwolle, Groningen and Leeuwarden twice an hour. Meppel station is an important hub for travelers from the North, because the station is easily accessible via the highway, has good parking facilities and is served by trains at high frequency, including the intercity to The Hague and Rotterdam.

The station is the fourth largest train station (after Groningen, Leeuwarden and Assen) in the North, with almost 6,500 train passengers boarding and disembarking on average per day (source: NS, 2018).

Qbuzz, EBS and OV Regio IJsselmond provide the bus connections in and around Meppel.