Ron Jans' side had conceded 10 goals in that sequence, but went some way to putting that right with a devastating attacking display in front of their own fans on Saturday.
Jesper Drost opened the scoring on the half hour and the lead was doubled five minutes later through Maikel van der Werff.
In the second half, Ryan Thomas added a third and Nijland struck his first as Zwolle pulled further clear.
The visitors pulled one back through Mikhail Rosheuvel, but Nijland completed his treble with two goals in the final 10 minutes to finish off the rout.
At the summit, PSV bounced back from losing their 17-match unbeaten league run by comfortably beating Go Ahead Eagles 3-0.
The leaders had gone down 3-1 at home to Ajax last weekend, but Memphis Depay, an own goal from Jop van der Linden and Andres Guardado ensured they moved 14 points clear.
Elsewhere, Luciano Slagveer's goal saw Heerenveen triumph 1-0 at ADO Den Haag and Denni Avdic's stoppage-time effort earned Heracles a 1-1 draw at home to Vitesse.
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.