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Utrecht

Utrecht

The city of Utrecht lies in the Dutch province of Utrecht and is positioned in the centre of the Netherlands. Utrecht like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague is a part of the Randstad. Here all Dutch roads and railroads come together and it takes about half an hour to get from Amsterdam to Utrecht by train. When you leave the train station you automatically walk into Utrechts most famous shopping centre Hoog Catharijne. Also the so called jaarbeurs lies next to the train station where a lot of big events are held.

Short History of Utrecht

The city of Utrecht is about 1200 years old and was founded by the Romans in 47 AD when they built a castle here to serve as part of reinforcement along the river Rhine. When the English missionary Willibrord settled in Utrecht at the end of the 7th century the city of Utrecht soon gained power and slowly developed into an important trade centre. This is also the time the canals and wharves were made.  These wharves were made to provide an access to the buildings cellars along the canals. Nowadays a lot of these cellars serve as restaurants or bars.  Utrecht gained city rights in 1122 from the bishop. Now citizens were allowed to build a wall around the city. In the Middle Ages Utrecht was actually the biggest city of the northern part of the Netherlands because the bishop seat was seated here.

Dom tower

Utrecht, one of the Netherlands´ oldest cities has a beautiful historic centre and is most famous because of the Dom tower which is over 600 years old. The Dom tower was a part of the Dom church from which the construction started in 1254. Unfortunately a tornado hit in 1674 destroying parts of the church and the tower is separated from the church ever since. The Dom tower is the highest tower in the Netherlands and when you climb the 465 steps you will be rewarded with a fantastic view over the city of Utrecht. The tower can be climbed between 10.00 and 17.00 daily.

Utrecht Cultural Centre
Utrecht pays a lot of attention to culture. For example in the Museum Quarter you will find 7 large museums which each bear collections which are closely linked to the city's past and present. Utrecht is host to a large number of cultural events every year, some examples are the internationally known Holland Festival of Old Music, the Wharf Area Theatre Festival, the Festival of Modern Dance, the Springdance movement and Dutch Film Days.

Shopping in Utrecht

Utrecht has an enormous diversity of shops. Besides the big shopping centres like the La Vie and Hoog Catharijne, the city also has a rich shopping centre. Here you can stroll through the little narrow streets and enjoy the cities history which is all around you.

Utrecht's many waterways

With so much water running through the city it is also very nice to see Utrecht from a completely different perspective. For example you can take a short round trip in an excursion barge or canoe. Or even try a water bicycle! Sailing over the canals provides a unique view of the city, its wharves, cellars and beautiful the canal side buildings.
Guided city excursions last approximately one hour and they take place every day, all year long between 11.00 and 18.00.

Guided tours

For those who prefer listening to reading there are guided walking tours. There are many different tours, some which focus on, for example, cultural history and architecture, as well as tours which focus on the city centre only. There is one tour which you do not have to book in advance. This tour takes place every Sunday afternoon at 14.15 and is organised by the City Walking Tours Organisation ('t Gilde Stadswandelingen). Tours depart from RonDom visitors' centre and last about ninety minutes.

Unexpected peace

For those who want a short break from walking through the buzzing city centre, they will find perfect peace in hidden courtyards, pretty parks and cloisters. The visitor comes upon them suddenly in unexpected corners in the middle of the city.

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