For more than 10 years now we’ve been diving into the rich history of Utrecht, learning so much we want to share with our visitors! Our regular tours offer a bit of everything, but to focus on specific subjects or time periods, we’ve crafted several unique themed tours.
The Middle Ages were anything but dark in Utrecht: until 1550, Utrecht was the biggest city of the Northern Low Countries and still today, much in the city reminds us of that time. On this tour, we’ll cover the influence of the Vikings on our city, the Teutonic Knights and the guilds of Utrecht (both still active today), and you’ll hear the Dutch version of Romeo and Juliet. We’ll give you tips on how to survive the harsh living conditions of medieval Europe. Join us on a tour of the most beautiful, gruesome, interesting and undiscovered period in Utrecht history!
World War II Tour
In the Second World War, Utrecht was both the center of the Nazi occupation as well as a center of resistance. Join us on this tour to learn more about the history of the Dutch Nazi party NSB and its slightly ludicrous leader, the occupation of the Netherlands, and the street that housed more than 20 different Nazi institutions AND the Dutch resistance. On the tour we’ll cover the story of the liberation of Utrecht and the Netherlands, we show what happened to the Jewish citizens, and you’ll discover a Nazi bunker transformed into a nightclub…
Nearly 400 years ago, a University was founded in Utrecht, and the city has since been home to world-renowned scientists, philosophers and 12 (!) Nobel Prize winners. Already in the founding year 1636, the university caught international attention when the exceptionally gifted female student Anna Maria van Schurman was invited to join classes – a European novelty. Later, equally brilliant scientists discovered how plants grow, what the sun is made of, revealed the fundamental forces within atoms, and found out how atmospheric pressure determines our daily weather. Utrecht University today still boasts cutting edge research in a broad range of scientific fields. In our Science Tours we’ll connect the past with the present. That’s why we invited local researchers to deliver exclusive mini-lectures on topics most relevant to Utrecht.
Origin of the Netherlands Tour
In 1579, the Union of Utrecht was signed. This document lies at the foundation of a brand new republic, (much) later to become the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Origin of the Netherlands Tour focusses on the big events that shaped our modern nation and the role Utrecht played in this turbulent history. We’ll show hidden traces of the Eighty Year’s War, an extraordinary episode of rebellion and religious conflict. We’ll explain how our monarchy came to be, and how the world’s first democratic revolution happened in Utrecht!
If you’ve spent more than 10 minutes in Utrecht you know this city is absolutely crazy about bikes. Besides the world’s busiest cycle track and the world’s largest bicycle parking garage (come along and see why it astounds even Dutch people), Utrecht also boasts a wealth of great sights perfectly suitable to visit by bike. Venture outside the city center with us using this healthy, efficient, carbon-neutral and super-Dutch means of transportation. We’ll take a look at old industrial sites, hidden gardens, a World War II bunker and the Rietveld-Schröder House: a UNESCO heritage site and international icon of architecture.
Dark Side of Utrecht Tour
During the daylight hours of our regular tours we love to show you the most beautiful, idyllic places in the city of Utrecht. This time however, we’d like to show you something else. Did you know that our beautiful canals used to hide a horrendous monster? That we had ghosts haunting the streets? And how did our mayor once become the victim of a bloody murder? This tour takes place in the twilight hours…
Sex, Drugs & Squatting Tour
If anything is confusing, it’s Dutch law. To an outsider, the country might seem like Sodom and Gomorrah, with legal prostitution and coffee shops that don’t really sell coffee. On this tour we’ll take you to some ‘underground’ sights in Utrecht and tell you more about Dutch lawmaking. For instance: did you know that marijuana is formally still illegal in the Netherlands? That until recently you could semi-legally squat a house and live there, and that although prostitution has been legal for centuries, brothels weren’t? On this tour we’ll also discuss the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2001, a world novelty. And when will we finally manage to suppress the assasins on wheels (a.k.a. cyclists)?
Utrecht: birthplace of the Netherlands, birthplace of King’s Day, and birthplace of a democratic revolution that got rid of the Orange dynasty – for a short while… What are the origins of our royal family? Did you know our first king resided in Utrecht for a short time, and you can now freely enter his palace? Can you explain why the Dutch national anthem mentions Germany and Spain, but not the Netherlands? Why do Dutch people love/hate their royals?
Utrecht is unmistakably a University city, and has been since 1636. From Europe’s first female student back in the 17th century to today’s housing crisis, Utrecht’s many colleges and its large university continue to leave their mark on the city’s culture and economy. On this tour you’ll learn how to recognise a typical student house, and discover how students drinking beer once almost bankrupted the city. We’ll show you the former knights academy, a former royal palace turned into an academic library, and many other historic sights. This tour is interesting for (former) students, both Dutch and international, and everyone wanting to know more about the university legacy and student life throughout the centuries!
The multicultural neighborhood of Lombok (named after the Indonesian island) is one of the most popular with locals in the city. It features bustling shopping streets with products from all over the world, a beautiful windmill in working condition, canals with houseboats and a big modern mosque. On this tour you’ll discover Lombok’s industrial past and its transition into one of the most colorful and vibrant quarters in the Netherlands.
Have you noticed the weird fortresses on the east of Utrecht? Have you ever wondered how the neighbourhood of Lunetten got its name? We were probably the first to organize a public walking tour of the defensive line that surrounds our beautiful city! On this tour, we’ll zoom in on the most expensive infrastructure project of the Netherlands ever: the New Dutch Waterline. You’ll learn more about the Dutch Republic, the Dutch Kingdom, the neighborhood Lunetten and a lot more. And what’s the connection between this neigborhood and nuclear warfare?