City trip: Amersfoort

For my second city trip I choose Amersfoort, a city which is roughly 80 kilometers away from Eindhoven. Which is in all honesty really close if you think about it, but then again compared to some places literally everything in the Netherlands is nearby. However those 80 km away translate to about 100 km by car or train. I used one of my train tickets to get there which gave me some time to get some reading done.

It was a beautiful day – not as good as they said it would be, since it started to rain in the afternoon – and I was up really early which meant that I arrived in Amersfoort around half past ten in the morning. By train it takes about two hours to get there which tells you enough about the time that I woke up in the morning.

I choose Saturday for my trip and at Friday night I still wasn’t sure where I was going. I was thinking of a couple of different options, one being Vlissingen. Which is right next to the sea and I love going to the sea. But the trains weren’t going there that weekend due to some railroad work and that meant that I would have to take the bus instead and if there is one thing you don’t want to do is take the bus instead of the train. Because it takes at least double the time and that is quite generous.

So when that idea was off the table I started looking for other options and eventually decided on Amersfoort, in all honesty I didn’t know anything about Amersfoort so most of the information in the post I had to look up. Amersfoort is a city in the province or county of Utrecht. And it is the second biggest city of the county – after the city of Utrecht. It is the fourteenth biggest city in the Netherlands, but compared to Eindhoven  (the fifth biggest city) it feels rather small it really has more of a town feel to it. Perhaps that is because Eindhoven is industrial and ‘newer’ and Amersfoort (the city center at least) is old and still a lot of parts of the old city wall are visible. Like I said Eindhoven feels newer and more open but looking back in history both cities got their city rights in the 13th century so they have been basically around for the same amount of time. However that is pretty much where the comparison stops. It’s fun to learn these things about the Netherlands, I would have guessed that Eindhoven was much younger. We don’t have a whole lot of old buildings and that is exactly what makes a city like Amersfoort so charming. Don’t get me wrong, Eindhoven has other things I love – as I am writing this I’m sitting in one of the old industrial buildings that the city has given a new purpose. And I love this place you can often find me writing here. But I also love walking through old cities, venturing through small cobbled streets which get really slick when it rains. Those street where you if you look past the street signs, bikes and occasional cars can almost imagine what life must have been like in the old days. You can’t do that when you’re walking though Eindhoven, at least it’s hard to imagine anything beyond the beginning of the 20th century.

When I arrived at the railway station I started to make my way down the city center, I of course looked at some of the shops the city has to offer and at all the beautiful store fronts and restaurants. Amersfoort has the same feel as Maastricht and Utrecht for instance although both of those cities are a lot busier. I kind of missed a big square where you can sit and have a meal but that probably had to do with the fact that there was a market that filled the two squares that I came across. One of the squares was so filled with different market stalls that you could hardly see the surrounding buildings nor did it really invite you to go into the stores or sit down because your view would be blocked by the backside of the market stalls – which is usually not the most attractive sight. Which in my opinion was a shame, the other square was a lot emptier but at the same time it didn’t have the diners or the potential to take a seat on a terrace and enjoy the view like you have for instance in Maastricht. That took away a lot of potential customers for the diners especially on a Saturday afternoon, it’s a bit of strange choice in my opinion.

In the middle ages the city had a wall surrounding it to keep the citizens safe from outside dangers, part of that wall is still visible and surrounding the city center, I took a walk around the wall. It really made me wonder about all the historical significant details those walls must have seen since the day they where raised. Man! Just imagine if those walls could talk!

Anyway I’ll insert some pictures give you an idea of what Amersfoort looks like. In my opinion it’s definitely worth visiting if you have a chance. There is a lot to see and I bet that in the summer there is even a lot more to do as well. I know that there are some boats which can take you on a trip underneath the city. I didn’t have a chance to check that out but I’ve done something similar in Den Bosch a few years back and it was really interesting. There is also the Mondriaan Museum – one of the Netherlands well-known artpainters, even if you don’t know who he is you are bound to known his work which consist of red, yellow, blue and black squares. Piet Mondriaan was born in Amersfoort in 1872. The museum unfortunately wasn’t open yet because they were renewing some things inside. So that was kind of a shame, I might have gone there if it had been open.

My next city trip will be to Den Bosch or as it is also known s’Hertogenbosch, I need to look up why it’s known under two different names.

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