For more than 7 years we’ve been diving into Utrecht history, resulting in the following themed tours. Some of them we like to schedule on special occasions once or twice a year, others are held weekly. At the moment (summer 2019) the Medieval Tour is on every Saturday morning at 10:00, and in July and August you can join a World War II Tour every Sunday at 14:00 (the regular tour will then start at 12:00). Check Facebook for all our scheduled tours!
The Middle Ages were anything but dark in Utrecht: until 1550, Utrecht was the biggest city of the Northern Netherlands and still today, much of the old 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
Utrecht isn’t just a beautiful medieval city with stunning churches and gorgeous canals. In the Second World War, Utrecht was both the center of the nazi occupation as well as the center of the Dutch resistance. Join us on our World War II Free Tour to learn more about the history of the Dutch Nazi Party and it’s 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 see a bunker transformed into a nightclub!
Origin of the Netherlands Tour
In 1579, the Union of Utrecht was signed. This document lies at the foundation of a brand new republic, 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 traces of the 80 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 spend more than 10 minutes in Utrecht you know this city is absolutely crazy about bikes. Beside the world’s busiest cycle track and the world’s largest bicycle parking garage (it even astounds 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 and carbon-neutral means of transportation. We’ll take a look at old industrial sites, and the Rietveld-Schröder House, a world 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 would 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 laws in the Netherlands. To an outsider, the country might seem like sodom and gomorra, with legal prostitution and coffee shops that don’t really sell coffee. On this short tour we’ll take you to some interesting sights in Utrecht and we’ll tell you more about Dutch law making. For instance: did you know that marihuana 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 manage to suppress the assasins on wheels (a.k.a. cyclists)?
Utrecht: birthplace of the Netherlands, birthplace of our king Willem-Alexander, and birthplace of a democratic revolution that got rid of the Oranje 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?
University & Student Tour
Utrecht is a University town, and has been since 1636. From Europe’s first female student back in the 17th century (big scandal!) to the housing crisis of today, Utrecht’s many colleges and 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 how students drinking beer once almost bankrupted the city. We’ll show you a former palace turned into an academic library, the former knights academy, and many other historic sights. This tour is interesting for students, both Dutch and international, graduates, and everyone wanting to know more about University legacy and student life throughout the centuries!
The multicultural neighborhood of Lombok (named after the Indonesian island) is one of the most popular in the city. It features bustling shopping streets with products from all over the world, a beautiful working windmill, 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 project of the Netherlands ever: the New Dutch Waterline. You’ll learn more about the Dutch Republic, the Dutch Kingdom, Lunetten and a lot more. We’ll even talk about nuclear warfare!