Engelse vlagSimilar to the Sassenpoort the ‘Peperbus’ (Pepperbox) forms an icon of the city of Zwolle. The 75 meter high Our Lady tower, as the tower is actually called, is the bell tower of the Our Lady Basilica.

This Roman Catholic church, belonging to the Thomas a Kempis parish, received its title 'basilica minor' (small basilica) in 1999 from Pope John Paul the Second on the occasion of the 600th anniversary of the church building. The tower is owned by the municipality of Zwolle and is therefore also the city tower.
The Peperbus offers a fantastic view of the city and surroundings. In clear weather you can see the silhouettes of Kampen and Hasselt. On information boards on the balustrade the important buildings in and outside Zwolle are indicated.
The tower can be climbed with a maximum of 20 people at a time.

Opening Hours

Winter opening (1 Nov. to 1 April) Mon-Fri: 13: 30-15: 30 Sat: 13.00-16.00 For updated exceptions Plessers visit the detailed Openinghours.

Church services in the basilica: Services
Since September 2018, the bells have rung manually. This is provided by the St Michael's Bell Guild of St. Michael. Ringing the bells


The Peperbus has a carillon with 51 bells. Four of them are used as a loud bell. The oldest clock is Made by the world famous bell founder Geert van Wou, who placed this 'Maria clock' in 1484 with 5 other loud bells. The other 5 Van Wou clocks have disappeared over the centuries. In 1714 a loud bell was added by Albert Grave and Claes van Noorden from Amsterdam. This clock is also present in the carillon and also functions as a bell.
In 1930 the tower was enriched with a Taylor carillon (Leighborough GB). The sound is automated, which plays a short melody every fifteen minutes. The city carillon player Martien van der Knijff, plays the carillon weekly on Thursday from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm and Friday from 11 am to 12 noon and on local and national memorial and public holidays.

Peperbus vanuit de lucht

During the reformation the church was withdrawn from worship. In 1591 the last service was held. In 1809 King Lodewijk Napoleon returned the church building, which in the meantime performed all sorts of non-ecclesiastical functions, to the Roman Catholics. Louis Napoleon also determined that the tower would remain the property of the Municipality of Zwolle.

In the years 2002 to 2005 the tower was thoroughly restored. All rusty anchors and irons have been replaced, as has the rotten wood and the cracked natural stone. The shape and appearance of the tower had to remain intact. The carillon has been expanded with 4 bells and a new keyboard has been installed.

For security purposes, an iron cage was constructed around the lantern in 2014. Look under the link ‘Photos and Videos’ for an impression of the view from the Peperbus: it’s an experience for young and old. Keep in mind that the 234 steps to Climber. there is no lift!