Dordrecht

Dordrecht is an historic city in South Holland, Netherlands that was, at the end of the Middle Ages, one of the six important trade cities of the County of Holland. Its centre still shows off the rich history of the city.

Understand

Dordrecht is a really old city that grew wealthy on its position at a river confluence with important commercial, military and private boat building. It held significant regional and international importance, hosting the 'Synod of Dordrecht' and other important religious meetings.

Thankfully, it escaped much of the widespread destruction of the second world war. Consequently, it is brimming with interesting old architecture and displays an old-time sense of wealth that belies the peaceful and laid back character of its modern-day economic relaxation. The locals are educated and generally proud of their city, which is the sort of place to wander around and explore leisurely, rather than rushing in and out.

Get in

By rail

Direct rail service from Rotterdam Centraal and Rotterdam Blaak takes about 15 minutes. There is a direct service from Amsterdam Centraal via Den Haag and Rotterdam Centraal with the terminus in Dordrecht.

By boat

There is a fast ferry (waterbus) from Rotterdam, which is part of the public transport system and costs the same as the train.

By car

There are two important highways that goes to and trough Dordrecht. A15 from Rotterdam to Belgium border and N3 from Papendrecht to the A15 in Dordrecht self.

Get around

While the city is small enough to walk around, if you are in a hurry or have a lot of bags, consider the frequent buses which serve the city and nearby areas. Also, bicycles can be rented from a bike shop next to the train station. (€50 deposit)

See

Park Merwestein in 1901, with the original villa still standing.

A new Museum is currently under construction to showcase a timeline of the city's vivid history (but apparently stopping short of WWII). Completion is scheduled for 2014.

There are a few other museums about town, plus some interesting shops, parks, an old windmill, and a few boat harbours (havens in Dutch). There's a huge supply of ancient architecture which you will see everywhere with years and Dutch language explanations. (If interested in specifics, get a local to translate for you.)

Do

You can walk trough the city centre and you can cycle in the nature park called Hollandse Biesbos. There are also many sportclubs and soccer fields you can visit. Dordrecht is a green city that has many parks and recreation areas in the suburbs.

Buy

Shopping in the centre of Dordrecht is centred around the Voorstraat, the Sarisgang and the Statenplein (Staten square). The Voorstraat is 1200 m long, making it the longest shopping street in the Netherlands. Markets are held every Friday and Saturday on the Statenplein and in the Sarisgang and on Tuesday in Dubbeldam.

Eat

You can find a lot of foreign food, albeit with varying levels of authenticity, spread about the town: Chinese, Greek, Italian, Macedonian, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese, at least.

Drink

Other than a range of restaurants serving alcohol, and a few other bars apparently chiefly peopled by older local alcoholics, nightlife seems to be mainly centered around the Scheffersplein bridge/square. The most interesting watering hole I ran in to was The Hide Away, a charismatic bar run by a Dutch/Scottish traveller couple with a dedicated band of regular customers. Stylistically informed by the British Isles, the proprietors wish the location to remain unpublished.

Sleep

In town

There is a relative shortage of hotels in the city. Judging from old maps of the town, there used to be more, but they have faded with the regional economy.

There are no real budget options in Dordrecht proper. There are two bed and breakfasts near the central bridge over the harbour behind the big church that are potentially cheaper than the hotels. One reported budget option, unconfirmed, is a Luthier's shop around the corner to the south-east of the Bellevue Hotel.

Outside town

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, September 26, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.