Utrecht: City Centre

The medi­ev­al city centre of Utrecht has a very unusu­al lay­out, due to the fact that the city has been a centre of Dutch cath­oli­cism ever since the 7th cen­tury. Vari­ous mod­ern build­ings have been implanted into the old town over the dec­ades, mak­ing it a dynam­ic mix of old and new.


In the middle ages, Utrecht was dom­in­ated by four churches, divid­ing the city into four neigh­bour­hoods. Ori­gin­ally, the city was access­ible by boat on the river Rhine, which flowed through it. Later, the river changed its course, and its old bed was trans­formed into a canal. Mer­chant houses with base­ments, grant­ing dir­ect access to the water, were con­struc­ted along Oude­gracht. At the heart of the old town stands the cathed­ral with its curi­ous free-stand­ing bell tower. With­in the ancient city struc­ture, there are a lot of mod­ern devel­op­ments – some are small-scale inter­ven­tions, oth­ers are archi­tec­tur­al icons.

On this tour, we vis­it the old town of Utrecht, includ­ing some new devel­op­ments. Find out about the archi­tec­tur­al lay­out of canal houses, hid­den alley­ways and court­yards, and archi­tec­ture through the ages in this young and vibrant city.

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Pro­gramme: Utrecht City Centre

  • Start of tour, e.g. at Dom­plein, meet & greet with the guide
  • Explan­a­tions about the his­tory and urb­an lay­out of Utrecht
  • Pieterskerkhof with town­house (Mart van Schijndel, 1995)
  • Canal house Kromme Nieuwegracht (Slu­ijmer en van Leeuwen, 2002)
  • Con­cert hall TivoliVre­den­burg (Her­man Hertzber­ger, 1979 / Jo Coen­en, Thijs Assel­bergs, NL Archi­tects, 2014)
  • Oude­gracht, main canal with mer­chant houses and “wer­fkeld­er” base­ments
  • Zocher­park on the old city for­ti­fic­a­tion (J.R. Zocher, 1830)
  • Stadsschouw­burg theat­er, W.M. Dudok (1941) Interi­or vis­it of the pub­lic­ally access­ible areas
  • Half-day tour
  • Private groups only!
  • Trans­port: bike
  • Please con­tact us for a quote