When you tell travelers you’re from the Netherlands they usually react enthusiastically and say “Oooh! Amsterdam! I love Amsterdam!”. To a Dutch person, that’s a bit hurtful. Sure, Amsterdam is quite beautiful, but there is so much more to see than just the capital! The picturesque Amersfoort for example, which is only a 20-minute train ride away from beautiful Utrecht, is a nice outing during your trip through the Netherlands. That’s why I went on a weekend trip to Amersfoort myself.
I can’t help but say, Amersfoort seemed so Dutch right off the bat. And I mean that in the most positive sense of the word. The city feels wonderful! It’s friendly, cozy, small and well….Dutch. A city that makes you feel at home straight away. Within a few hours, I knew my way around the city center and felt like I could live here. Amersfoort has a really beautiful historical center, which allows you to enjoy an authentic bit of the Netherlands. But what’s even better about this city are the bars, café’s, and restaurants. Besides climbing ‘Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren’ (recommended!), shopping, and sauntering past the picturesque ‘wall houses’ (in Dutch: Muurhuizen), I was mainly on a culinary journey through this warm city.
Taking time for coffee
If you visit Amersfoort, be sure to take time to have a great cup of coffee (and delicious cake!) at Livingstone Coffee. As soon as you enter this delightful café you feel the travel vibe. Every part of the interior radiates a relaxed backpacking atmosphere. Before you know it you’ll be spending all afternoon here, because it’s not only a really comfortable place to sit, the coffee is also truly delicious. Be sure to ask for the pour over filter coffee!
Another place where you can relax for hours is Blend & Blender. This lunchroom and concept store is located just outside the historic city center of Amersfoort. Besides enjoying a delicious, healthy lunch and fresh juices, you can get a massage at the beauty salon (only on weekdays). The inspiring interior also spurs creativity, making you want to get to work on your own home straight away. Conveniently, you can buy all kinds of cool gadgets from young Dutch designers in the concept store.
Amersfoort beer tasting
Yes, you read that right. Even Amersfoort has its own beer. At Stadsbrouwerij De Drie Ringen they still brew local beer every Tuesday. A visit to the brewery is not to be missed during your trip through Amersfoort. Young and old visit the cozy café (where the 83-year-old owner still mans the bar) for a so-called ‘Preuvenementje’: a tasting of three Amersfoort beers accompanied by a few pieces of cheese and sausage. The perfect end to a day of shopping!
Feel like having a drink with ‘locals’ in the evening? Be sure to stop by Van Zanten, every Amersfoorder’s local pub (or so I heard). Check out café Miles for some live music.
The best pancakes in the Netherlands
Amersfoort is full of nice restaurants. From haute cuisine to hip burger joint or cozy café, you can find it all here. But Amersfoort is also home to the best pancake house in the Netherlands. Of course we wanted to judge for ourselves. Whether de Potsenmaeker is truly the best is a matter of taste, but they sure do make delicious Dutch pancakes. What makes this pancake house special is that not only families with small children visit it. The cozy restaurant is full of both young and old. Young couples, friends, families or older couples, all of Amersfoort seems to love to eat pancakes here! And if you’re visiting the Netherlands, you can’t leave without having an authentic, old-fashioned Dutch pancake. You’re at the right place for this in Amersfoort! The price certainly won’t be a reason for skipping it.
Sunday high tea
If you find yourself in Amersfoort for a couple of days, make sure you have an authentic English high tea at tearoom Something Else. Okey, maybe not part of a true Dutch experience but that doesn’t make it less delicious. Owner Els knows how to serve a traditional high tea like no other. She makes everything herself, from the ginger biscuits with the tea to the lemon curd with the freshly baked scones. You can choose from a variety of high teas varying in length from 1,5 to 3 hours. This makes a great end to a weekend of city tripping. You can also visit the cute tearoom building for a regular lunch or a cup of tea with cake.
Spending the night on a houseboat
To truly complete your Dutch weekend in Amersfoort you should book a cabin on the grand scheepshotel / B&B de Vita Nova. Owners Joke en Ger will do everything to make your stay in Amersfoort as pleasant as possible. After a warm welcome they’ll flood you with the best tips for exploring the city. In the morning, let yourself be surprised by the elaborate breakfast in the cozy ‘living room’ where you can also relax with a glass of wine after a long day. The cozy cabins all have a private shower and toilet. And all of that on a ship! Which is exactly what makes this Bed & Breakfast so unique. The characteristic atmosphere gives you a sense of ‘coming home’. It’s exactly that feeling which makes Amersfoort so special.