Amersfoort Tourist Attractions
The lively and attractive town of Amersfoort lies amid expanses of forest and heathland at the confluence of several small streams which here join to form the river Eem.
The well preserved old part of the town with its historic buildings is surrounded by a double ring of canals.Amersfoort is the economic and cultural center of the Eem valley and the region known as the Gelderse Vallei (Gelderland plain), with a number of higher educational establishments, large markets and important industrial plants (electrical engineering, car assembly, engineering, chemicals). There are also food-processing factories which handle most of the agricultural produce of the surrounding area. Many of the town's inhabitants commute to work in the nearby provincial capital, Utrecht, or in Amsterdam, 50km/30mi away.Amersfoort first appears in the documents in 1028, and received its municipal charter in 1259. Thanks to its textile factories it developed into a flourishing and prosperous trading town and became a member of the Hanseatic League.By the first half of the 15th century the town had already expanded beyond its circuit of walls, and a new and larger ring of walls was built between 1450 and 1561. Within the circuit of canals of the original moat lies the well preserved medieval town, with only a few later gabled houses dating from the Renaissance.
St George's Church
In the Hof, the main square of the old town of Amersfoort, stands the Gothic Grote Kerk or St Joriskerk (St George's Church), a hall-church begun in 1243 and completed in 1534. Notable features of the interior are the beautiful Gothic rood screen (15th C.), an organ by Naber with 39 stops and the tomb of the famous Dutch architect Jacob van Campen.
St Mary's Tower
Southwest of St George's Church in Amersfoort rises St Mary's Tower (Onze Lieve Vrouwentoren), almost 100m/330ft high. This imposing Late Gothic tower, with a carillon of 47 bells by the famous Francois Hemony, is one of the finest of its kind in the Netherlands. It originally belonged to St Mary's Church, which was destroyed by a gunpowder explosion in 1787.
In the Westsingel, a street along the far side of the outer canal of Amersfoort, is the Flehite Museum (No. 50), which contains a historical collection, including mementos of the Amersfoort-born statesman Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547-1619), and a collection of applied and decorative art.
The Westsingel runs round the outer canal of Amersfoort and after crossing Utrechtsestraat joins the Zuidsingel. In this street, on the right, is the Mariënhof (1480), a former monastery which is now occupied by the National Archaeological Service.
To the east of Muurhuizen is the Kamperbinnenpoort, the oldest of Amersfoort's town gates (13th C.).
A notable modern building in Amersfoort is the Exhibition Hall in the Zonnehof (by G. Rietveld, 1959).
The Amersfoort Zoo (Dierenpark Amsersfoort) features thousands of animals, reptiles, and a nocturnal animals house. There are also many special attractions and play areas for children.
Stichting Mondriaanhuis in Amersfoort houses the birthplace of Piet Mondrian and is adjacent the school where his father was the head-teacher.
Havik Flower Market
Southwest of Amersfoort, on the Amerfoortse Berg (49m/160ft: fine panoramic views), stands the Belgian Monument, commemorating the Belgian refugees who came to Amersfoort during the First World War.
Concentration Camp Monument
South of Laan 1914 is the site of a Nazi concentration camp established in 1941 in which some 35,000 Dutch people were imprisoned. A monument commemorates the many inmates of the camp who died here.
Kasteel de Hooge Vuursche
The road from Amersfoort to Hilversum runs northwest by way of Soest to Soestdijk. 4km/2.5mi beyond Soestdijk, in the southern outskirts of Baarn, the road forks. The road to the left passes through a wooded area and comes in 1.5km/1mi to the Kasteel deHooge Vuursche, which is now a hotel. 6km/4mi beyond this is Hilversum.
Between Amersfoort and Apeldoorn lies the little town of Barneveld, with an important college of agriculture. The town's fame as a center of poultry farming and egg production rests on the brown Barneveld hen, one of the best-known Dutch breeds.
An unusual tourist attraction in Barneveld is the Poultry Museum, which is unique of its kind in Europe. Here visitors can see "historic" incubators, incubator lamps and egg-sorting machines and get a general impression of Dutch poultry farming from the cocks and hens of many breeds which range freely around.
Jan van Schaffelaer Monument
In front of Barneveld's Gothic hall-church (15th C.; Reformed) is a monument to Jan van Schaffelaer, who about the year 1482 threw himself down from the church tower in order to save the village from hardship.
Kasteel Jan van Schaffelaer
The Kasteel Jan van Schaffelaer (1854) stands in a park (open to the public) east of the village of Barneveld. In July and August this is the scene of the Oud Veluwe Markten (Old Veluwe Market Days), when old handicraft firms display their products.
The Nairac Museum in Barneveld has a collection of local archaeological material, traditional costumes and other items characteristic of the region.
More Amersfoort Pictures
Map of Amersfoort Attractions