Amersfoort is a municipality and the second largest city of the province of Utrecht
Utrecht (province)
Utrecht is the smallest province of the Netherlands in terms of area, and is located in the centre of the country. It is bordered by the Eemmeer in the north, Gelderland in the east, the river Rhine in the south, South Holland in the west, and North Holland in the northwest...

 in central Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. The city is growing quickly but has a well-preserved and protected medieval centre. Amersfoort is one of the largest railway junctions in the country, because of its location on two of the Netherlands' main east-west and north-south rail lines. The town celebrated its 750th birthday in 2009.

Population centres

The municipality of Amersfoort consists of the following cities, towns, villages and/or districts: Bergkwartier, Bosgebied, Binnenstad, Hoogland
Hoogland is a village and former free-standing municipality in the province of Utrecht in the Netherlands. The village population is 10,587 people ....

, Hoogland-West, Kattenbroek, Kruiskamp, de Koppel, Liendert, Rustenburg, Nieuwland, Randenbroek, Schuilenburg, Schothorst
Schothorst is the second largest district by population in the Dutch city of Amersfoort. It is located in central Amersfoort, between the districts of Liendert, Landgoed Schothorst and De Koppel. The neighbourhood was built in the 1970s and 1980s and today forms a quiet, leafy area of the city...

, Soesterkwartier, Vathorst, Hooglanderveen, Vermeerkwartier, Leusderkwartier, Zielhorst and Stoutenburg-Noord.


Hunter gatherers
A hunter-gatherer or forage society is one in which most or all food is obtained from wild plants and animals, in contrast to agricultural societies which rely mainly on domesticated species. Hunting and gathering was the ancestral subsistence mode of Homo, and all modern humans were...

 set up camps in the Amersfoort region in the Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 period. Archaeologists have found traces of these camps, such as the remains of hearths, and sometimes microlithic flint objects, to the north of the city.
Remains of settlements in the Amersfoort area from around 1000 BC have been found, but the name Amersfoort, after a ford in the Amer River, today called the Eem
The Eem is a river in the north of the Utrecht Province in the Netherlands with a length of approximately .The river is fed by the Vallei Canal and a number of Veluwe creeks, the most important of which are the Heiligenberger Beek, the Barneveldse Beek and the Lunterse Beek, all of which come...

, did not appear until the 11th century. The city grew around what is now known as the central square, the Hof, where the Bishops of Utrecht established a court in order to control the "Gelderse vallei" area. It was granted city rights in 1259 by the bishop of Utrecht, Henry I van Vianden
Henry I van Vianden
Henry van Vianden was a bishop of Utrecht from 1249 to 1267.He was the son of Henry I, Count of Vianden and Margaret, Marchioness of Namur. He was provost at Cologne before he was pushed forward as candidate for the bishopric of Utrecht by the Welfs in their struggle with the Hohenstaufen...

. A first defensive wall, made out of brick, was finished around 1300. Soon after, the need for enlargement of the city became apparent and around 1380 the construction of a new wall was begun and completed around 1450. The famous Koppelpoort
The Koppelpoort is a medieval gate in the Dutch town Amersfoort. Completed around 1425, the Koppelpoort is a sublime example of medieval defensive architecture. It is a combination of a land and water-gate and is part of the second city wall of Amersfoort, which was constructed between 1380 and...

, a combined land and water gate, is part of this second wall. The first wall was demolished and houses were built in its place. Today's Muurhuizen (wallhouses) Street is at the exact location of the first wall; the fronts of the houses are built on top of the first city wall's foundations.
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwentoren
Onze Lieve Vrouwetoren
The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren is a church tower in Amersfoort. The Late Gothic building is 98,33 meter tall and reaches high above the inner city. It's one of the most eye-catching monuments in town and the third highest church tower in the Netherlands. The nickname of the tower is Lange Jan...

tower (The Tower of Our Lady) is one of the tallest medieval church towers in the Netherlands at 98 metres (322 ft). The construction of the tower and the church was started in 1444. The church was destroyed by an explosion in 1787, but the tower survived, and the layout of the church still can be discerned today through the use of different types of stone in the pavement of the open space that was created. It is now the reference point of the RD coordinate system
Geography of the Netherlands
The geography of the European part of Netherlands is unusual in that much of its land has been reclaimed from the sea and is below sea level, protected by dikes. Another factor that has influenced its physical appearance is that the country is among the most densely populated on earth...

, the coordinate grid used by the Dutch topographical service: the RD coordinates are (155.000, 463.000).

The inner city of Amersfoort has been preserved well since the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

. Apart from the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwetoren, the Koppelpoort
The Koppelpoort is a medieval gate in the Dutch town Amersfoort. Completed around 1425, the Koppelpoort is a sublime example of medieval defensive architecture. It is a combination of a land and water-gate and is part of the second city wall of Amersfoort, which was constructed between 1380 and...

 , and the Muurhuizen (Wall-houses), there is also the Sint-Joris church, the canal-system with its bridges, as well as medieval and other old buildings; many are designated as national monuments. In the Middle Ages, Amersfoort was an important centre for the textile industry, and there were a large number of breweries.

In the 18th century the city flourished because of the cultivation of tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

, but from about 1800 onwards began to decline. The decline was halted by the establishment of the first railway connection in 1863, and, some years later, by the building of a substantial number of infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 and cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

Barracks are specialised buildings for permanent military accommodation; the word may apply to separate housing blocks or to complete complexes. Their main object is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training and esprit de corps. They were sometimes called...

, which were needed to defend the western cities of the Netherlands. After the 1920s growth stalled again, until in 1970 the national government designated Amersfoort, then numbering some 70,000 inhabitants, as a "growth city". In 2009 the population was 140,000 plus, with an expected 150,000 by 2012.

Second World War

Since Amersfoort was the largest garrison town in the Netherlands before the outbreak of the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, with eight barracks, and part of the main line of defence
Grebbe line
thumb|right|230px|GrebbelinieThe Grebbe Line was a forward defence line of the Dutch Water Line, based on inundation. The Grebbe Line ran from the Grebbeberg in Rhenen northwards until the IJsselmeer....

, the whole population of then 43,000 was evacuated ahead of the expected invasion by the Germans in May 1940. After four days of battle, the population was allowed to return.

There was a functioning Jewish community in the town, at the beginning of the war numbering about 700 people. Half of them were deported and killed, mainly in Auschwitz and Sobibor
Sobibór extermination camp
Sobibor was a Nazi German extermination camp located on the outskirts of the town of Sobibór, Lublin Voivodeship of occupied Poland as part of Operation Reinhard; the official German name was SS-Sonderkommando Sobibor...

. In 1943, the synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

, dating from 1727, was severely damaged on the orders of the then Nazi-controlled city government. It was restored and opened again after the war, and has been served since by a succession of rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...


There was a concentration camp near the city of Amersfoort during the war. The camp, officially called Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort (Police Transit Camp Amersfoort), better known as Kamp Amersfoort
Kamp Amersfoort
Amersfoort concentration camp was a Nazi concentration camp in Amersfoort in the Netherlands. The official name was "Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort", P.D.A. or Police Transitcamp Amersfoort. During the years of 1941 to 1945, over 35,000 prisoners were kept here...

, was actually located in the neighbouring municipality of Leusden
Leusden is a municipality and a town in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. It is located about 3 kilometres southeast of Amersfoort....

. After the war the leader of the camp, Joseph Kotälla, was sentenced to death.

Origin of Keistad (Boulder-city)

The nickname for Amersfoort, Keistad (boulder-city), originates in the Amersfoortse Kei, a 9 tonnes (19,842 lb) boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

 that was dragged from the Soest moors into the city in 1661 by 400 people because of a bet between two landowners. The people got their reward when the winner bought everyone beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and pretzels. Other nearby towns then nicknamed the people of Amersfoort Keientrekker (boulder-dragger/puller). This story embarrassed the inhabitants, and they buried the boulder in the city in 1672, but after it was found again in 1903 it was placed in a prominent spot as a monument. The fact is there are not many boulders in the Netherlands, so its a bit of an icon. It has been stolen regularly as a prank.


  • The Mondriaan House
    The Mondriaan House
    The Mondriaan House is a museum in Amersfoort, the Netherlands, in the house where Piet Mondriaan was born in 1872. The museum lies in the historical centre of Amersfoort. The building of the Christian primary school, where the father of Mondriaan was headmaster, has also been incorporated in the...

    : birthplace of the painter Piet Mondriaan. Exhibits a lifesize reconstruction of his workshop in Paris. Some temporary shows and work by artists inspired by the painter.
  • Flehite
    Museum Flehite is the historical museum of Amersfoort and Eemland in the Netherlands. The museum was founded in 1880 by the "Oudheidkundige Vereniging Flehite" . In 1890, the museum moved to the first of the current three-part building on the Breestraat...

    : historic, educational and temporary exhibitions behind a splendid facade. The museum closed in 2007 due to asbestos contamination. It was refurbished and reopened in May 2009.
  • Zonnehof: small elegant modernist building designed by Gerrit Rietveld on an eponymous square just south of the centre with temporary exhibitions of mostly contemporary art.
  • Armando
    Armando (artist)
    Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd , known as Armando, is a Dutch painter and writer.-Biography:Armando was born in Amsterdam, and as child moved to Amersfoort. There he saw, during the German occupation of the Netherlands, how the Nazis set up a "transition camp" for prisoners who were to be sent to...

     Museum: Work by the painter Armando (who lived in Amersfoort as a child) in a renovated church building. Mostly temporary exhibitions. (Most of the church and the art on exhibition was destroyed in a fire on 22 October 2007).
  • Dutch Cavalry Museum
    Dutch Cavalry Museum
    The Dutch Cavalry Museum is located in the centre of The Netherlands in the city of Amersfoort. The museum is hosted in two large buildings at the Bernhardkazerne army barracks....

  • Culinary Museum
  • Kunsthal KADE


Amersfoort had its own professional football (soccer)
Football (soccer)
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball...

 club named HVC. It was founded on 30 July 1973, but disbanded on 30 June 1982 because of financial problems. It also hosted the riding part of the modern pentathlon
Modern pentathlon at the 1928 Summer Olympics
At the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, a single modern pentathlon event was contested.-Medalists:...

 event for the 1928 Summer Olympics
1928 Summer Olympics
The 1928 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the IX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1928 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Amsterdam had bid for the 1920 and 1924 Olympic Games, but had to give way to war-victim Antwerp, Belgium, and Pierre de...



Bus services are provided by 2 firms: Connexxion and Veolia. Connexxion provides services in town and to some destinations in the province of Utrecht, while Veolia offers connections to the province of Gelderland.


Amersfoort has three railway stations:
  • Amersfoort
    Amersfoort railway station
    Amersfoort railway station is the main railway station in Amersfoort, Utrecht, the Netherlands. The station is an important link between the central part of the Netherlands and the north and east of the country.-History:...

    , the main station, which has trains to Enschede
    Enschede , also known as Eanske in the local dialect of Twents, is a municipality and a city in the eastern Netherlands in the province of Overijssel and in the Twente region...

    , Rotterdam
    Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands and one of the largest ports in the world. Starting as a dam on the Rotte river, Rotterdam has grown into a major international commercial centre...

    , Den Haag, Amsterdam
    Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

     and Leeuwarden/Groningen
  • Amersfoort Schothorst
    Amersfoort Schothorst railway station
    Amersfoort Schothorst is a railway station on the Utrecht–Kampen railway between Amersfoort and Zwolle. It is located in north Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The station is operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen .-History:...

    , to the north of Amersfoort station.
  • Amersfoort Vathorst
    Amersfoort Vathorst railway station
    Amersfoort Vathorst is a railway station on the Utrecht–Kampen railway between Amersfoort and Zwolle. It is located in north Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The station is operated by the Nederlandse Spoorwegen . The station opened 28 May 2006. The station has 3 tracks, 1 of which is for terminating...

    , to the north of Amersfoort Schothorst.


Two major motorways pass Amersfoort:
  • along the north, the A1 motorway
    A1 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A1 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. The road connects the city of Amsterdam, near the interchange Watergraafsmeer, with the German border, near Oldenzaal and Bad Bentheim , and the German Autobahn BAB 30...

  • along the east, the A28 motorway
    A28 motorway (Netherlands)
    The A28 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It is approximately 188 kilometers in length.The A28 traverses the Dutch provinces of Utrecht, Gelderland, Overijssel, Drenthe and Groningen...



The river Eem
The Eem is a river in the north of the Utrecht Province in the Netherlands with a length of approximately .The river is fed by the Vallei Canal and a number of Veluwe creeks, the most important of which are the Heiligenberger Beek, the Barneveldse Beek and the Lunterse Beek, all of which come...

 begins in Amersfoort, and the town has a port for inland water transport. The Eem connects to the nearby Eemmeer
The Eemmeer is a lake situated in the middle of the Netherlands between the provinces of Flevoland and Utrecht, Noord-Holland. It measures and contains one small island, the Dode Hond . The Eemmeer is one in a series of peripheral lakes used to geohydrologically detach the low-lying polders of...

(Lake Eem). The Valleikanaal drains the eastern Gelderse Vallei and joins with other sources to form the Eem in Amersfoort.

Local government

The municipal council of Amersfoort consists of 39 seats, which are divided as follows:
  • VVD
    People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
    The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy is a conservative-liberal political party located in the Netherlands. The VVD supports private enterprise in the Netherlands and is often perceived as an economic liberal party in contrast to the social-liberal Democrats 66 alongside which it sits in...

     – 6 seats (6 seats in 2006)
  • PvdA
    Labour Party (Netherlands)
    The Labour Party , is a social-democratic political party in the Netherlands. Since the 2003 Dutch General Election, the PvdA has been the second largest political party in the Netherlands. The PvdA was a coalition member in the fourth Balkenende cabinet following 22 February 2007...

     – 6 seats (10 seats in 2006)
  • CDA
    Christian Democratic Appeal
    The Christian Democratic Appeal is a centre-right Dutch Christian democratic political party. It suffered severe losses in the 2010 elections and fell from the first to the fourth place...

     – 4 seats (5 seats in 2006)
  • GroenLinks – 5 seats (4 seats in 2006)
  • ChristenUnie – 3 seats (3 seats in 2006)
  • SP
    Socialist Party (Netherlands)
    The Socialist Party is a democratic socialist political party in the Netherlands. After the 2006 general election, the Socialist Party became one of the major parties of the Netherlands with 25 seats of 150, an increase of 16 seats. The party was in opposition against the fourth Balkenende cabinet...

     – 2 seats (3 seats in 2006)
  • D'66 – 5 seats (not represented in 2006)
  • Burger Partij Amersfoort – 7 seats (5 seats in 2006)
  • TON – 1 seat (not represented in 2006)
  • Jouw Amersfoort – not represented (3 seats in 2006)
  • NCPN (Nieuwe Communistische Partij Nederland – not represented (not represented in 2006)
  • Lijst 10 (Lashkari)- not represented (not existing in 2006)

The city has a court of first instance
Trial court
A trial court or court of first instance is a court in which trials take place. Such courts are said to have original jurisdiction.- In the United States :...

 (kantongerecht) and a regional chamber of commerce.


The city is a main location for several international companies:
  • Yokogawa, an electrical engineering and software company, the European headquarters for which are located in Amersfoort
  • Nutreco
    Nutreco N.V. is a Dutch producer of animal nutrition, fish feed and processed meat products. It has about 100 production facilities in more than 30 countries, and eight research centers. The company was founded in 1994 after a Cinven-backed management buyout of the feed and nutrition division of BP...

    , animal feed and human foodstuffs
  • Arcadis, international consultants and engineers in infrastructure and environment, 14,000 employees
  • DHV, consultants and engineers.
  • Golden Tulip Hospitality Group
    Golden Tulip Hospitality Group
    Golden Tulip Hospitality Group is a hotel company with its head office in Amersfoort, Netherlands.At one time the company considered merging with Apollo Hotels & Resorts. In 2009 Golden Tulip went into voluntary receivership...

    , international hotel chain Golden Tulip Hotels, Inns and Resorts.

It also has a number of non-profit associations and foundations:
  • VEH, the largest home-owners association in the Netherlands; with 700,000 members, it is also the largest in the world
  • NVA
    NVA is a three-letter acronym for:*National People's Army, or Nationale Volksarmee, the army of former German Democratic Republic*Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie, a Flemish political party also known as New-Flemish Alliance...

    , the national association of insurance agents
  • the KNLTB, the Dutch national lawn-tennis
    Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...


Notable residents

  • Paulus Buys
    Paulus Buys
    Paulus Buys, heer van Zevenhoven and Capelle ter Vliet was Grand Pensionary of Holland between 1572 to 1584.-Life:...

     (1531–1594) – Grand Pensionary
    Grand Pensionary
    The Grand Pensionary was the most important Dutch official during the time of the United Provinces. In theory he was only a civil servant of the Estates of the dominant province among the Seven United Provinces: the county of Holland...

  • Johan van Oldenbarnevelt (1547–1619) – statesman
  • Piet Mondriaan (1872–1944) – painter
  • Willem Sandberg
    Willem Sandberg
    Jonkheer Willem Jacob Henri Berend Sandberg known as Willem Sandberg was a Dutch typographer and museum curator.He was born in Amersfoort, Holland in 1897 and studied art in Amsterdam. He became a follower of the Mazdaznan movement. As a young man he travelled, serving as an apprentice to a...

     (1897–1984) – graphic designer, Stedelijk Museum
    Stedelijk Museum
    Founded in 1874, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for classic modern and contemporary art in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It has been housed on the Paulus Potterstraat, next to Museum Square Museumplein and to the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum and the Concertgebouw, in Amsterdam Zuid...

  • Ben Pon
    Ben Pon
    Ben Pon is a vintner and former Olympian and motor racing driver from the Netherlands. He competed in one Formula One race, the 1962 Dutch Grand Prix, but had a far longer career in sports car racing, before turning his back on the track to concentrate on the wine trade...

     (1936) – sports car racing driver
  • Ben Pon (senior)
    Ben Pon (senior)
    Ben Pon was a Dutch businessman. In 1947, Pon's Automobielhandel , became the first dealer outside of Germany to sell vehicles manufactured by Volkswagen....

     – car importer and developer of the Volkswagen Type 2
    Volkswagen Type 2
    The Volkswagen Type 2, officially known as the Transporter or Kombi informally as Bus or Camper , was a panel van introduced in 1950 by German automaker Volkswagen as its second car model – following and initially deriving from Volkswagen's first model, the Type 1 , it was given the factory...

  • Loet Geutjes
    Loet Geutjes
    Louis Geutjes is a former water polo player from The Netherlands, who finished in seventh position with the Dutch Men's Team at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. After an active career as water polo player, Geutjes became a successful swimming coach, first with AZ&PC Amersfoort, and...

     (1943) – water polo player
  • Feike de Vries
    Feike de Vries
    Feike de Vries is a former water polo player from The Netherlands, who finished in seventh position with the Dutch Men's Team at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico.-References:*...

     (1943) – water polo player
  • Anke Rijnders
    Anke Rijnders
    Anthonia Marie Rijnders is a former butterfly and freestyle swimmer from the Netherlands, who competed for her native country at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany. As a member of the Dutch relay teams she finished in fifth place, both in the 4×100m medley and the 4×100m freestyle...

     (1956) – swimmer
  • Frank Drost
    Frank Drost
    Frank Willem Drost is a former freestyle and butterfly swimmer from The Netherlands, who competed for his native country at two consecutive Summer Olympics, starting in 1984....

     (1963) – swimmer
  • Jan Wagenaar
    Jan Wagenaar
    Jan Theodorus Wagenaar is a retired water polo player from The Netherlands. He finished in ninth position with the Dutch team at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.-References:*...

     (1965) – water polo player
  • Arie van de Bunt
    Arie van de Bunt
    Arend Jantinus "Arie" van de Bunt is a former water polo goalkeeper from the Netherlands, who participated in three Summer Olympics for Holland. From 1992 on he finished in ninth , tenth and eleventh position with the National Men's Team. He retired from the sport in the spring of...

     (1969) – water polo goalkeeper
  • Ton van Heugten
    Ton van Heugten
    Antonius Maria van Heugten was a Dutch sidecarcross rider and the 1981 World Champion in the sport, together with his passenger Frits Kiggen....

    , (1945–2008) – former sidecarcross world champion
  • Victor Kaisiepo, (1948–2010) – advocate for West Papuan self-determination.
  • Jeff de Neeling, Football player
  • Joop Kasteel
    Joop Kasteel
    Joop Kasteel is a former Dutch mixed martial artist. Kasteel made his mixed martial arts debut on 15 June 1996. He is a veteran of the RINGS promotion and as he has fought the majority of his fights for them....

    , Professional Fighter and Bodybuilder
  • Father Roderick Vonhögen
    Roderick Vonhögen
    Father Roderick Vonhögen , a Roman Catholic priest from Amersfoort in the Netherlands, hosts the Catholic Insider podcast. Vonhögen has started other podcasts including Secrets of Harry Potter, Secrets of the Pirates of the Caribbean, Catholic Minute, the Daily Breakfast, and more recently the...

    , – television host, podcaster, founder of the Star Quest Production Network

External links

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