This post is also available in: Nederlands (Dutch)
I’d been planning to visit Amersfoort for a while now. With its historic city centre, great restaurants and shops, and plenty of things to see, Amersfoort is the perfect destination for a day trip when you’re visiting the Netherlands. This beautiful city is super close to Utrecht, but also from Amsterdam it’s only around 30 minutes by train.
Best Things to Do & See in Amersfoort
The Amersfoort Boulder
This is a bit of a must. The giant rock that weighs over 7000 kilo is the reason that Amersfoort is known as the ‘Boulder City’ (Keistad), which is why it’s a great place to start your city tour.
By the way, this boulder didn’t just show up here. During the ice age a glacier brought it from Scandinavia to a location near Amersfoort. Then in 1661 two landowners came up with a bet that resulted in 400 people dragging it to the city, not far from where it is today. A few years later they buried the boulder, for it to then show up again two centuries later. In 1954 it was placed at its current spot.
Muurhuizen (Wall houses)
You really get a good feel of the city’s historic character in the Muurhuizen, the street where was once the city wall. Around 1500 Amersfoort was expanding which led them to remove the wall and use its bricks to build new houses in the same street. This is why the Muurhuizen street follows sort of a circle around the old inner-city.
If you’re looking for a place to take photos of beautiful, old houses, then this is where you need to be.
Court of Almshouses
Another interesting place to visit in Amersfoort is the Hofje Armen de Poth (Court of Almshouses). The story goes that starting in the 14th century, this location was used by a brotherhood to take care of people who were suffering from the plague.
The 49 almshouses were built in the 19th century for the poor and elderly and are still being used today. The Saint Rochus (patron saint against the plague) Chapel is a lot older.
Did you know that the famous artist Piet Mondriaan (1872-1944) was born in Amersfoort? The house where he was born and lived until he was eight is now a museum about his life and work, including a replica of his studio in Paris.
You don’t need a lot of time to see the museum, so it’s perfect for when you’re only spending one day in Amersfoort. I especially loved the interactive light installation ‘New York’.
Want to know more about the history of Amersfoort? Then you should definitely visit Museum Flehite. In addition to showcasing historic objects and paintings, the building itself (three houses built around 1540) is just as interesting.
Medieval land & water gate Koppelpoort
When you’re leaving Museum Flehite, walk straight ahead and you’ll find the best known sight of Amersfoort: the Koppelpoort.
You can visit this medieval gate with a guide as part of a tour, but even from the outside it’s super impressive.
The Koppelpoort was built in 1427 and is both a land (part of the city wall) and water gate (the water from the city flows into the river Eem), a combination you’ll find nowhere else in the Netherlands.
Art underneath a bridge: the Chandelier
You can find lots of art in Amersfoort. Sometimes in places you don’t expect. Such as… underneath a bridge.
Walk from the Koppelpoort in the direction of the Eemplein. Under the railway bridge (Smallebrug) you’ll see a large Venetian chandelier hanging above the water. This artwork was made by Kathrin Schlegel in 2010. Even though the chandelier has no lights, the reflexion of the water creates some sort of sparkle.
The Eemhuis: library & museum KAdE
As soon as you’re leaving the old city through the Koppelpoort you get to see a different side of Amersfoort. With modern architecture such as the Eemhuis and a bit further, The New City (De Nieuwe Stad), a creative hub at the site of a former factory.
The Eemhuis is the cultural hub of the city. Visit museum Kunsthal KAdE if you’re interested in modern art. And even if you don’t intend to borrow a book, you should still have a look inside the library Eemland for its impressive architecture.
Food & Shopping hotspots in Amersfoort
Delicious home made pie at Buuf in de Serre
The best way to start your day in Amersfoort is with some freshly baked pie at Buuf in the Serre. Fortunately they’re located right in between the Amersfoort Boulder and the Muurhuizen which makes it the perfect first coffee stop.
You’ll find Buuf in de Serre in the conservatory (serre) of an old convent, the Mariënhof. Friends and neighbors (buuf is short for a female neighbor, hence the name) Carmen and Cesare won the award for best hospitality concept in 2015 which they then got to realize.
In addition to their beautiful interior, there’s also a nice spacious outdoor terrace.
Blur Your Life
On the other side of the Muurhuizen street, and around the corner from the Mondriaan House is concept store Blur.
It’s impossible to leave this beautiful store empty-handed. And what’s even better: everything they do and sell contributes to a better world.
Cheese shop Liefde & Ambacht
One of the most beautiful shops in Amersfoort is cheese shop Liefde & Ambacht. This is where you’ll find artisanal Dutch cheeses of great quality, including those from regional cheese makers. The staff knows everything about cheese and loves to tell you the story of how and where the cheese was made.
Best Coffee in Amersfoort at Livingstone Coffee
Is it time for another coffee break? According to the experts, the best coffee in the region can be found at Livingstone Coffee. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I did love the coffee.
The vintage interior is great with three old airplane chairs being the first thing you’ll see when you walk in.
Restaurant & Café Alberts
For lunch or that well earned drink at the end of the day, go to Alberts on the Hof, the largest square in Amersfoort.
For fifty years, the Alberts family lived in this beautiful old building. In 2014 it became café and restaurant Alberts which is open all day and has a great interior.
I already briefly mentioned The New City (De Nieuwe Stad), the site of the old toothpaste factory, where you’ll find creative studios, shops and restaurants in the former industrial buildings.
I decided to have a late lunch at Hoog Vuur. A beautiful, industrial looking restaurant where you’ll immediately notice the three metal ovens. All main courses (their menu changes daily) are being prepared in wood stoked ovens.
If I had known that I would probably have opted for something else than the ‘caesar salad the luxe’, which to be honest was very disappointing (for one, it didn’t even have a caesar dressing).
However, all reviews online are super positive and pictures look a lot better than what I was served. So my guess is that if you go here for dinner you’ll probably have a great time.
Supermarket with local produce Het Lokaal
Are you looking for an edible souvenir? Then you definitely need to visit Het Lokaal, located at The New City.
Almost everything this supermarket for regional products is selling was produced within a 50 km range.
Can’t wait to try it? Then have a seat at the restaurant.