The lowdown on City's Dutch opponents

Everything you need to know about Norwich City's Dutch opponents, AGOVV Apeldoorn and FC Zwolle.

Everything you need to know about Norwich City's Dutch opponents, AGOVV Apeldoorn and FC Zwolle.

t FC Zwolle:

FC Zwolle are based in the Eerste division, the Dutch equivalent of the Championship and enjoyed slightly more success than City during last season, finishing ninth, just outside the play-off positions.

They play at the Oosterenk Stadion which has a capacity of 6,865.

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Founded in 1910 as PEC, they renamed in 1990 as Zwolle following bankruptcy. New club colours of blue and white, a new crest, new sponsors and a completely different organisational structure were introduced to move the club away from the old image.

Last season saw their biggest ever win, thumping FC Omniworld 7-2 in a league game.

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Dutch midfielder Anton Jongsma is the main danger man as he finished last season with 14 league goals.

Zwolle recently completed the signing of their third Brazilian, Juscemar Borilli, a skilful midfielder who won the worldwide football reality show- “Joga Bonito”

Arguably the clubs most successful season came in 1992/1993 as they narrowly missed promotion to the top flight and also reached the quarter finals of the KNVB Cup. This was with a team containing talent such as Jaap Stam, later of Manchester Utd and A.C Milan and Bert Konterman of Rangers and Feyenoord.

Another famous ex-player is the Macedonian Georgi Hristov who was once signed by Barnsley for £1.5 million. Shortly after arriving he famously announced that all women from the town were “ugly”.

Goalkeeper Diederick Boer is reportedly the only goalkeeper with 9 fingers.

Recently, the club have been involved in fixtures with British sides Wigan Athletic and Falkirk, losing to the Premiership side 2-0 and drawing with the team from Scotland.

t City info:

The city of Zwolle is situated 75 miles north-east of Amsterdam in the province of Overijssel and has a population of around 115,000 people.

Considered an important city it is home to shipbuilding, iron and brewing industries amongst others.

Zwolle is the home of the “Grolsch” brewery and like other Dutch cities has a large selection of pubs. Grand Cru Café Public and Blues Rock Café Bourbon Street are recommended for both their welcoming interior and beer selection. Snacks in pubs are generally available for between 4 and 10 euros and meals between 12 and 16 euros.

There is a place of the same name in the United States, a small town in Louisiana.

Restaurant De Handschoen is located in a quaint cottage just outside the centre of Zwolle. A set menu of 25 euros offers reasonable value in an unusual location.

t Travel info:

By car:

From Amsterdam, Zwolle can be reached by taking the A1 and then the A28.

By train:

Direct trains connect Zwolle to both Amsterdam and Schipol Airport. The journey should take around 90 minutes.

t Things to see and do:

Well known for its lakes, Zwolle represents an ideal location for waterskiing and other activities.

Zwolle is home to a Roman Catholic Church which dates back to 1399 and is one of the tallest churches in the Netherlands. It is best known for the tale of the Blauwvingers (blue fingers), which recounts how the elders of Zwolle sold their church bells to the nearby town of Kampen, but insisted on having payment made in copper coins. On counting the coins to ensure they hadn't been duped, they all ended up with blue fingers.

The Stedelijk museum is situated in the centre of the old town of Zwolle. A building which mixes the old of the existing architecture with a unique glass staircase, houses a large selection of local history exhibits.

Built in 1409 and situated on the Ijssel river, a picturesque medieval town gate is now used as a visitor centre, highlighting the history of the city.

t Where to stay:

Arguably Zwolle's most luxury place to stay is Hotel Pillows, situated in the city centre it offers high-class accommodation at around 100 euros a night.

Ten minutes from the centre of Zwolle is Hotel Zalkerbroek, located on the N50 national trunk road, it offers attractive views over the surrounding landscape for around 60 euros a night.

t AGOVV Apeldoorn:

Finished bottom of the Eerste division last season and only managed 29 points from 38 games.

They play at the Sportpark Berg & Bos which has a capacity of 2,500.

The club was founded in 1913 and became a professional club in 1954. Between 1971 and 2003 they returned to the amateur ranks due to financial problems before being readmitted.

They were first called AGOSV which stood for: Apeldoorn alcohol abstinents' football club always forward. The name was then changed to AGOVV with a meaning of: only practising together brings us further.

Highly sought after Dutch international striker, Klaas Jan Huntelaar had a brief spell at the club.

A player to watch out for is Dutch striker Ruud ter Heide who scored an impressive 17 goals last season.

22 year-old Englishman Ben Collett, from Bury, played in central midfield, and was once Young Player of the Year at Manchester Utd, following a F.A Youth Cup win in a team containing Kieran Richardson amongst others.

Raimond van der Gouw is another ex-Manchester Utd star who enjoyed a spell at the club, the goalkeeper who once played in a Champions League semi-final signed in 2004.

t City info:

The city of Apeldoorn is situated 60 miles east of Amsterdam in the province of Gelderland and has a population of over 150,000 people.

Apeldoorn is home to large paper mills, Dutch Tax services and a newspaper editing company.

Burlington in Canada is a partner city of Apeldoorn.

Every year sees the Apeldoorn Conference, a meeting of politicians from the Netherlands and the U.K to discuss relevant topics.

The region's cuisine is varied with fish and other local ingredients available at Apeldoorn's many markets. Saturday is the main market day with over 100 vendors.

A popular restaurant close to Apeldoorn is Pannenkoeken Restaurant Berg en Dal. Both sweet and savoury options are reasonably priced at under 12 euros.

As with Zwolle, pubs are of a good standard, Irish pubs- Finnegan's and Ian's Irish Pub are popular with locals. Finnegan's has both a lunch and dinner menu, with a three-course option available for 21 euros.

Like in any city restaurant prices vary, however most stay at around the 15-20 euro mark. De Brugwachter is a stylish venue with an extensive selection of dishes.

t Travel info:

By car:

From Amsterdam, Apeldoorn can be reached via the A1 motorway.

By train:

Direct trains also connect Apeldoorn to both Amsterdam and Schipol Airport. The journey should take around 60 minutes.

t Things to see and do:

A zoo specialising in monkeys called the “Apenheul” is one of Apeldoorn's main attractions.

The nearby “Het Loo” palace was once home to Dutch royalty and is a must for those interested in architecture.

The city lies on the edge of the country's largest and most unspoilt area of natural beauty- the “Veluwe”. Also located here is the Kroller-Muller Museum with a large collection of Vincent Van Gogh paintings.

Pubs in this area of the Netherlands are considered of a good standard with many staying open until between 1am and 2am on weekdays and 3am and 4am at the weekend. The majority of the beer selection is priced at around the 3 to 5 euro mark.

t Where to stay: Hotel selection in Apeldoorn is wide-ranging in terms of quality and price.

Bilderberg Hotel De Keizerskroon is close to the “Het Loo” and offers four star accommodation from 99 euros .

A cheaper alternative is the Hampshire Hotel Apeldoorn which offers rooms from 50 euros. It is in a quiet part of town and has its own English pub.

Both games will be played at the Sportpark De Strokel, home to amateur side VVOG Harderwijk and with a capacity of 9,000.

Harderwijk is home to one of the Netherlands' biggest attractions. Dolfinarium is a marine park complete with dolphins, sea lions, walruses and many more sea animals. Costing 25 euros for adults and 20 for children it represents an exciting day-out.

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