The municipality of Enschede consisted of the city of Enschede until 1935, when the rural municipality of Lonneker, which surrounded the city, was annexed after the rapid industrial expansion of Enschede which began in the 1860s and involved the building of railways and the digging of the Twentekanaal.
Enschede lies in the eastern part of Overijssel and is the easternmost city of more than 100,000 inhabitants in the Netherlands. The city lies a few kilometres from Germany, which borders the municipality. In the west, Hengelo is the first important place and at the eastern side, Gronau plays that role. More than a few small rivers flow through or surround the city, such as the Roombeek and Glanerbeek.