Nestled in the heart of the Netherlands, the charming city of Amersfoort is a hidden gem waiting to be explored! Recently, a colleague of Rafael who had just moved to the city invited us to visit, which seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally see what Amersfoort had to offer! We had heard whispers of its medieval charm and quaint architecture, and so we eagerly accepted the invitation. In this blog post, we invite you to join us on our journey through Amersfoort as we discover what makes this city a must-see destination in the Netherlands.
We've selected 8 of the best things to do when visiting this Dutch medieval town, whether you're looking for a day trip or a weekend getaway. From iconic landmarks like the Koppelpoort and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren to hidden gems like Huis Tinnenburg and Langegracht, this city has something for everyone! So join us on this journey as we discover some of the best things to do in Amersfoort and why it's a must-visit destination in the Netherlands!
Amersfoort is a delightful little city that has captured our hearts! Located in the picturesque province of Utrecht in the Netherlands, it is a city that is both charming and full of character. What we love most about Amersfoort is its cozy and intimate feel. Despite having a population of over 150,000 people, it feels like a small town where everyone knows each other. As we wandered through its streets, we were captivated by its stunning medieval architecture and felt like we had been transported back in time.
Amersfoort is a city with a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the medieval period. Founded in the 13th century, the city quickly became an important center of trade and commerce in the Netherlands. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Amersfoort experienced a period of significant growth and prosperity, which is reflected in its stunning architecture, such as the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren (Our Lady Tower), which was completed in 1470. The tower served as a watchtower and was also used to sound alarms during times of war. Another iconic landmark, the Koppelpoort (Coupling Gate), was completed in 1425 and was used to control access to the city.
Amersfoort's strategic location also made it an important military stronghold. The city played a significant role in many of the wars that took place in the Netherlands over the centuries, including the Eighty Years' War, which lasted from 1568 to 1648. During the 16th century, Amersfoort was a hub for the Reformation movement, and the city was home to many important religious figures and institutions.
Despite its prosperous past, Amersfoort was not immune to the challenges of war and conflict. The city was heavily damaged during the Second World War, but it has managed to preserve much of its historic charm. Today, visitors can explore the city's winding streets and admire its beautiful architecture, which stands as a testament to Amersfoort's resilience and determination to move forward. Whether you're a history buff or simply appreciate the beauty of a well-preserved medieval city, Amersfoort is definitely worth adding to your bucket list!
HOW TO GET THERE?
Getting to Amersfoort is easy and convenient thanks to its central location and to the Netherlands' excellent public transportation system. If you're traveling from Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, or The Hague, you can take a direct train to Amersfoort. The journey from Amsterdam to Amersfoort takes just 35 minutes and costs around €9-€12 for a one-way ticket, while the trip from Rotterdam takes around an hour and costs around €17-€23. From Utrecht, the journey takes just 15-20 minutes and costs around €5-€7, while from The Hague, it takes around 1.5 hours and costs around €15-€20. Trains run frequently throughout the day, so you can easily plan your trip around your schedule. Once you arrive in Amersfoort, you'll find that the city is easy to explore on foot or by bike, with many of the main attractions located within walking distance of the train station. If you're feeling adventurous, you can also rent a bike and explore the city's beautiful countryside and nearby nature reserves.
8 BEST THINGS TO DO
Get ready to step back in time and discover the first of the 8 best things to do in Amersfoort we've selected for you! The iconic Koppelpoort is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting the city. This medieval gate, whose name means "coupling gate", was built in the 14th century as a defensive structure to protect the city and collect tolls from passing traders. Its Gothic architecture is jaw-dropping, with towering turrets, intricate details, and imposing archways. But what sets Koppelpoort apart from other gates is that it's both a land and water gate, with a drawbridge spanning a moat and a canal. When the sun sets, Koppelpoort comes to life with stunning illumination, making for a romantic and picture-perfect scene. Besides admiring the architecture and learning about the city's history, a visit to Koppelpoort is a chance to discover the incredible ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people who built it. Don't miss the opportunity to marvel at one of the most impressive examples of medieval architecture in the Netherlands!
2. ONZE LIEVE VROUWETOREN
As we continue our journey through the best things to do in Amersfoort, the Onze Lieve Vrouwentoren, also known as the "Our Lady Tower," comes in at number two on our list. This imposing landmark is hard to miss, towering over the city at 98 meters tall and offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. The tower was built in the 15th century and served as a watchtower for the city, providing an early warning system against potential attacks. Today, visitors can climb the tower's 346 steps to take in the stunning views of the city and surrounding countryside. At the top, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views that are well worth the climb. The tower is also home to a carillon, which rings out every quarter hour and is one of the largest and most impressive in the Netherlands. If you're lucky, you may even catch a live performance by a carillonneur, who plays the bells using a keyboard and pedals.
| Opening hours - daily from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. |
| Admission - 8.5 EUR |
Get ready for a charming and delightful experience with the third best thing to do in Amersfoort – a visit to the picturesque neighborhood of Muurhuizen! This neighborhood is located along the former city wall and is known for its unique and stunning architecture. The houses, many of which date back to the 16th and 17th centuries, boast of stepped gables, bay windows, and ornate details that are unique to Amersfoort. A leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets will transport you back in time and offer you a glimpse into the city's rich history. Don't miss the opportunity to visit the Museum Flehite, where you can learn about the city's cultural heritage, and the Mondriaanhuis, which celebrates the life and work of the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. Whether you're an art enthusiast or simply love to wander around charming neighborhoods, a visit to Muurhuizen is a must-do in Amersfoort!
4. HUIS TINNENBURG
Huis Tinnenburg is a hidden gem in Amersfoort that's definitely worth a visit. Built in the 17th century as a residence for wealthy merchants and nobles, this beautifully preserved historical building is now a hub for cultural events, art exhibitions, and concerts. Its stunning facade is a true masterpiece, with intricate carvings and ornate decorations that will leave you in awe. As you step inside, you'll feel transported to another era, with its elegant interiors and charming courtyard. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, or pack a picnic and enjoy the tranquility of this hidden oasis in the heart of the city.
5. OLD TOWN HALL
The Old Town Hall of Amersfoort is undoubtedly one of the best things to see in the city, and a stunning example of Gothic architecture. Serving as the center of government for the city, this magnificent building was constructed in the late 17th century and features a striking façade with intricate carvings and ornate decorations. Its beautiful courtyard is perfect for a leisurely stroll, while the interior boasts a grand staircase, beautiful murals, and stunning stained-glass windows. Today, the Old Town Hall hosts a variety of cultural events, including weddings, concerts, and art exhibitions, making it a must-visit attraction for anyone interested in history, architecture, or the beauty and charm of Amersfoort.
The Kamperbinnenpoort is a fascinating piece of history and an iconic landmark in Amersfoort. This beautiful gate was constructed in the 14th century and served as a defense mechanism for the city. It is one of the few remaining gates that were part of the original city walls, and it is located at the end of the historic shopping street called Kamp. The Kamperbinnenpoort features a stunning archway with intricate carvings and decorations, and it is flanked by two imposing towers that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Today, the Kamperbinnenpoort is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can climb the stairs to the top of the towers for a spectacular view of the city.
7. SAINT GEORGE'S CHURCH
Next up is Saint George's Church, or Sint Joriskerk, a beautiful Gothic church located in the heart of Amersfoort. It was built in the 13th century and is named after Saint George, the patron saint of soldiers. The church is known for its stunning stained-glass windows, elaborate choir screen, and a magnificent pipe organ that dates back to the 17th century. It also houses an impressive collection of religious art and artifacts. Saint George's Church played an important role in the history of Amersfoort, as it was used for military purposes during times of war. Today, it serves as a place of worship and a popular venue for cultural events and concerts.
| Opening hours - 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. from Tuesday to Saturday |
| Admission - 5 EUR |
Our final stop in Amersfoort is Langegracht, a picturesque canal lined with charming cafes, shops, and historic buildings. This lively street is a favorite among locals and visitors alike, offering the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll or a relaxing drink by the water. During our visit, we were struck by the beautiful architecture of the surrounding buildings, which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. We also enjoyed exploring the various shops and boutiques that line the canal, offering everything from handmade crafts to delicious local treats. Langegracht is a perfect spot to soak up the laid-back atmosphere of Amersfoort and the ideal way to end our visit to this beautiful city.
OUR FINAL THOUGHTS
As we say goodbye to Amersfoort, we can't help but reflect on what an incredible experience it has been. From its charming medieval architecture to its rich history and culture, Amersfoort has truly exceeded our expectations. We were struck by the friendly locals, the welcoming atmosphere, and the wide range of activities on offer. We felt that Amersfoort was the perfect destination for anyone seeking to explore the Netherlands beyond the tourist hotspots of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The city is easily accessible by train, and its compact size makes it ideal for a day trip or a weekend getaway. We were left with a strong desire to return and explore more of what this beautiful city has to offer. If you're looking for an authentic Dutch experience, we highly recommend adding Amersfoort to your travel bucket list!
We would love to hear about your own experiences and thoughts on the charming city of Amersfoort. If you have had the chance to visit this wonderful destination, feel free to share your insights, tips, and recommendations in the comment section below.