A colleague of mine recommended me to visit Amersfoort, a Dutch city located in the centre of the country in Utrech province right in-between Amsterdam, Utrecht and Arnhem. The city is great for a day trip from Amsterdam, being only a 30 minutes train ride from Amsterdam central station. My decision of going there was spontaneous, I didn’t have anything prepared except the name of the city and two attractions written on a post-it note.
Once arrived in Amersfoort, I pulled out the post-it note from my pocket and looked for directions towards Koppelpoort, one of the two attractions written down on the post-it note. Even if my list with things to visit in Amersfoort was way too short, the city turned out to have plenty of things to offer for a day trip.
After a short 15 minutes walk from the train station I arrived at Koppelpoort, the medieval merchant gate which dates back to 1400 and is part of Amersfoort’s second set of surrounding walls. The beautiful structure is composed of both water and land gates and it was first restored by the Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers back in 1885-1886. Today, the Koppelpoort gate with its stunning brick design has become the iconic place and the perfect postcard image of Amersfoort city.
From the gate I could see the gothic tower of Onze-Lieve Vrouwetoren rising up above the rooftops so that was my next destination. This church tower (Our Lady’s Tower) has a height of 98 meters and is one of the highest medieval towers in the Netherlands. The tower offers perfect views over the city and is open for visitors daily at 14:00 and Saturdays there is an extra slot at 12:30. Unfortunately I found out about the time slot half an hour later but now this is added on my things to do in Amersfoort for the next visit.
The city has a few charming squares but Hof is the main and the largest one and is located right in the centre of Amersfoort’s old town. The Hof square is surrounded by shops, cafes and restaurants with plenty of outdoor seating areas where you can enjoy a proper drink and some traditional Dutch food. Although it was Monday, the square was full of people soaking up the sun, enjoying the good weather that October had to offer.
One of the impressive buildings located in Hof square is St. Joriskerk church which was built in the Middle Ages. Over the years the church has been redesigned and renovated several times and now is used mainly for wedding ceremonies, cultural initiatives, concerts and small scale meetings.
I found this amazing gateway by mistake after stopping on a bench somewhere in a park to charge my phone and take some pictures of the golden leaves laying on the ground. A few meters away were these two round wall towers connected by a gate arch over the water but what brought my attention at first were the three lonely chairs sitting under the trees. There is a footpath that passes over the arch but the best place to take pictures of the towers is from the park and across the road. There is also a restaurant within the Monnikendam’s walls that is added on my list for the next visit to Amersfoort.
Stroll around the Muurhuizen and Zuidsingel
Leaving behind the Monnikendam gate, I started following the circular line of the outer canal without knowing where it goes but soon I found myself soaking up the rich history of the city, passing through quaint houses, unique shops and charming and narrow streets. Now looking at the map, it seems like I followed the Zuidsingel street until the Kamperbinnenpoort gate and then moved on to Muurhuizen street towards the Hof square.
The inner city has been well preserved since the Middle Ages and the canals that are surrounding the old town are worth to walk along or to stop and gaze at the historical buildings. Both the inner and the outer canal offer some great picture opportunities, especially now during autumn season where the leaves are having various shades of yellow, orange and magenta. I took my time taking pictures of almost every canal on my way that day.
I am glad of my last minute decision to go to Amersfoort without plans or expectations. This way I enjoyed my visit for what it was and not for what I should have expected it to be. Amersfoort was a fantastic place to visit, a city to remember and to which I wish to return one day.
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