A day out in Amersfoort

You’re there in just 15 minutes by train: Amersfoort, the Province of Utrecht’s second largest city. From the charming late-Mediaeval wall houses built on the original city walls and a former industrial estate now transformed into a creative, innovative hotspot, to beautiful squares and shops with sustainability at the forefront: Amersfoort has it all!

Roam around

Amersfoort is a great city just to roam around. Don’t follow the signs to the city centre when you leave the train station, but take a detour via Regentesselaan, De Bosch Kemperlaan, Utrechtseweg and the bike path along the railway line (running parallel with Kersenbaan). It will take you to a level crossing on Leusderweg, where you’ll see Nieuw Mos (Leusderweg 21-27) on the opposite side. This is the perfect place for doing your organic grocery shopping, having lunch in the café or shopping for sustainable clothing and other products in the department store. If you then follow Arnhemseweg towards the old city centre and cross the ring road, you can wander along the winding paths in the green park that encircles much of the city. Cross to the inside of the moat to Muurhuizen, a more or less circular street featuring houses with their foundations in the original city walls. Eventually, you’ll come to the Brood Atelier (Nieuweweg 5), where you can stop for coffee and cake. The coffee at Livingstone (Groenmarkt 11) is good too, or try a café on one of the city’s many pretty squares, such as Dikke Dirck (Groenmarkt 8) or Stadscafé Amersfoort (Lieve Vrouwekerkhof 3).

Pick your way through vintage items

It’s not the most obvious of places, but you’ll be amazed at all the activity on De Isselt industrial estate. There are numerous places to pick your way through endless vintage items. VINT (entrance via Nijverheidsweg-Noord 74) is an old factory hall full of vintage, retro and design items, including furniture, lamps, accessories and clothing. A bit further on there’s another shop-in-shop concept: Vintage Friends (Textielweg 10) offering furniture, home accessories, vinyl, curiosa, plants, preloved fashion and more. For tea and cake, lunch or dinner, try B.A.S (Textielweg 15B), a friendly restaurant in an old greenhouse in the former Norit building. And if you’re ready for a beer, the Rock City Brewing (Mijnbouwweg 15) craft pub is just around the corner.

Check out art

Art-lovers won’t get bored in Amersfoort either. The Mondriaanhuis (Kortegracht 11) is the birthplace of Piet Mondriaan, one of the leading members of an influential art movement known as De Stijl. These days it’s a museum, which features a life-size reconstruction of Mondriaan’s Parisian studio, furnished in true De Stijl style. Museum Fléhite (Westsingel 50) is housed in three so-called wall houses, built around 1540 on the spot where the original city walls once stood. The objects and paintings on display here will teach you about the history of the city. Also make sure to check the agenda of the FASadE, the Amersfoort forum for urban planning, architecture and landscape. They regularly organise debates, excursions, lectures, film screenings, exhibitions, guided tours and other events. If you’re into modern art, go under the railway to Kunsthal KAde (Eemplein 77). This autumn, they’re hosting the first retrospective exhibitions of work by the artists Natasja Kensmil and Sadik Kwaish Alfraji.

Visit a creative hotspot

If you exit the train station on the other side, it’s just a short walk to the vibrant Oliemolen district. Up until the turn of this century, this used to be an industrial estate, but these days, it’s a creative, innovative, sustainable hotspot where loads of entrepreneurs have their studios. The old Prodent toothpaste factory is now a pop podium called Fluor. If you fancy a drink and a bite to eat, go to Hoog Vuur (Oude Fabriekstraat 26), where they cook without gas, but on wood-burning stoves. Kroast (Kleine Koppel 36) is in the former Rohm & Haas soap factory looking out over the water of the Eemhaven, and last but not least, there’s Het Lokaal (Oliemolenhof 90), a grocery store selling fresh produce, with a tasting room for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost everything you buy, eat or drink here is made from locally-sourced produce.

Do some retail therapy

Blur your life (Mooierstraat 18) is the place for great gifts for yourself or someone else, such as jewellery, home accessories, notebooks, clothing, books and toys for the kids. Everything has a sustainable undertone. If it’s a new look you’re after, go to Roots (Krommestraat 24-26), where everything is just that little bit different. While you’re there, Hadaya (Achter Het Oude Stadhuis 4) is very close and sells the most fabulous Eastern lamps, hand-painted crockery, bright wicker baskets, Christmas accessories and other fun gift ideas. Next door, you’ll find Hop (Achter Het Oude Stadhuis 2), a haven for beer-lovers. Reuring (Langestraat 109), stocks a lot of Scandinavian clothing brands, Keizerin (Kamperbinnenpoort 5) is a boutique for indie-brand women’s clothing and Boetiek (Zuidsingel 70) focuses on socially responsible clothing lines. Anyone with a sweet tooth should try Anna’s Smaakatelier (Grote Sint Jansstraat 4), where you can eat cakes baked by the winner of the Great Dutch Bake-off.



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