Zwolle is first mentioned in a letter in 1040, and it received City Rights in 1230. In the 15th century, Zwolle grew strong. Because of it's location near the river IJssel, the city had an economically strong position untill the 19th century, when steam power was invented. A few important buildings from that era remained, like the Sassenpoort, Stadhuis, and the Peperbus.
Nowadays the city's importance has diminished and it is has to compete with Deventer and Enschede. Still, it is the governmental seat of the province of Overijssel and it has a central position between the north and the rest of the Netherlands. Therefore Zwolle is an attractive location for companies to establish. A good example is the construction of IJsseltoren. Further more, there are many smaller projects.