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