Utrecht, the central heart of the Netherlands
Utrecht is the smallest province in the Netherlands and is also the historical and cultural heart of the Netherlands. Due to its central location, the province has always been an important province over the years. Utrecht is a very old province where people have settled for thousands of years. What is now called the Utrecht hillridge (Utrechtse heuvelrug) was one of the first areas where people settled. This was at a time when the Netherlands had no polders or water management. The Utrecht ridge was therefore the smartest choice because people kept their feet dry there.
The provincial capital that bears the same name as the province namely Utrecht is a city with a great historical and cultural heritage. However, the Dutch themselves do not seem to get really excited about the province. Most Dutch people see Utrecht more as a handy navigation point because of its location.
The most famous landmark in the province and the city of Utrecht is probably the Dom Tower. The DSom tower is the pride of Utrecht and not without reason. The construction of the Domtoren started in 1321, but due to lack of money, the construction of it stood still between 1328 and 1342. The domtoren was finished in 1382 and was then the center of the city of Utrecht with its height of 106.75 meters.
Everywhere in the city of Utrecht you will find memories of ancient times. Just like in Amsterdam you will find a large number of old canals in Utrecht. Many of the canals have terraces below street level but at the water level. The inner city of Utrecht is a hodgepodge of cosiness, old town clean and a vibrant nightlife.
But there is also natural beauty in the province. Utrecht has rural agricultural areas, but Utrecht, for example, has the Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park where you can walk and enjoy the wooded surroundings in the Cape Forests near Doorn.
You can also go for a wonderful walk in the Woudenberg area where you will find a 9-kilometer walk that will take you past the Pyramide of Austerlitz. The top of the Pyramide has a phenomenal view of the area. The Pyramid of Austerlitz is perhaps one of the best known sights in the region. The Pyramide is a special place and you can feel it when you walk around it. Don’t miss the opportunity to climb the pyramid and enjoy the breathtaking view, it is a climb but once you reach the top you will see that it was well worth the effort. There is a lot to do around the Pyramid that was built in memory of Napoleon Bonaparte.
Or if you prefer castles, go for a walk around Slot Zeist. The walk takes you through the castle parks, past agricultural areas, forest areas and a piece of heathland, in short quite a bit of variety in a walk.
- natuurgebied-kaapse-bossen-utrecht: Door Onderwijsgek - Eigen werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22418301
- pyramide-van-austerlitz: By Kattjosh - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5400024
- slot-zeist: Door Michielverbeek - Eigen werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8317688
- utrecht-binnenstad: Afbeelding van Niek Verlaan via Pixabay