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.