Discovering Enschede is a true delight. Nowadays Enschede is known as the urban heart of the eastern part of the Netherlands, with no less than 160,000 residents. The history of Enschede is well preserved. On this page, you will find the most important events during the city's long history.
Today, Enschede has 160,000 permanent residents and it is still growing. It is now quite hard to imagine that the city only had 4,000 inhabitants in 1860. Enschede then even featured a canal and two city gates. In the Marktstraat you can still see the contours of the Veldpoort on the sidewalk.
After 1860 the textile industry bloomed. The number of factories as well as the number of inhabitants climbed excessively. When you walk or drive through the city, you can spot some of the old factories. Other than that, Enschede does not feature a lot of old buildings. That is because disaster struck multiple times.
Three huge fires set Enschede aflame and destroyed a large part of the old city centre. In 1862 the whole town burned down, there was nothing left. It was a miracle that only two people died in the inferno. The bombings during the Second World War also had a devastating effect on the architecture. The allied fighters thought by mistake that Enschede was a German city and dropped their bombs. On top of that, the municipality chose to demolish a lot of historic buildings because of neglect.
Despite these events you can still discover historic architecture in the city centre. A good example is Villa van Heek. This manor house was built in 1870 at the edge of the Oude Markt.
When the sixties came round, Enschede saw the demand for textile drop enormously. It was another disaster. Around 85% of the local labor force worked in the textile industry and saw their jobs disappear before their very eyes. Again, the city showed resilience and flexibility in surviving this change.
It was the same resilience that helped Enschede survive the fireworks disaster in Roombeek on 13 May 2000. A whole living quarter was completely wiped out. Nevertheless, the city grabbed its chance and built a modern district full of greenery. Here, the Enschedeër lives next to art and culture.
Today, Enschede has an international feel about it. It bustles with life and has a laid back atmosphere. Newcomers will feel right at home.