f you are looking to venture a city this summer, consider the old township of Dordrecht! Pronounced as [ˈdɔrdrɛxt] or informally called Dordt by its inhabitants, it is a small city with 800 years of Dutch history. Perfect for a day trip!
Dordrecht was granted city rights by William I, Count of Holland, in 1220, making it the second oldest city in the Netherlands after Geertruidenberg. Many important Dutch history took place right here in Dordrecht; Union of Dordrecht (First Assembly of the Free States), Synod of Dordrecht (Dutch Reformed Church assembly), Patriots Movements (radical political faction), the establishment of ‘Mint of Holland’, Saint Elizabeth Flood and printing of the first Dutch language Protestant Bible.
Presently, Dordrecht is the fifth largest city in South Holland province with 118,782 residents (2017) and the sixth largest sea port in the Netherlands. It was once a thriving trading port for wine, sugar, timber and wood due to its unique location and accessibility. The prime position extends to the entire municipal as an island bordered by rivers Oude Maas, Beneden Merwede, Nieuwe Merwede, Hollands Diep, and Dordtsche Kil. Its rich history is still reflected in its medieval houses, merchant mansions, harbor quarters with warehouses, museums and churches. Dordrecht has almost 1,000 monuments to justify this.
I had a wonderful family day trip last month visiting Dordt. The city center is about 10-min walking distance from Dordrecht Central Station and the inner city can be explored easily on foot. My first stop was the Tourist Information Centre otherwise known as VVV in the Netherlands. I was given a Free City Map which turned out to be one of the best ones that I have seen. It was available in English, colorful with clear layout of the city center, include 31 Sight of Interest, city bus route, parking facilities, location of ATM machines, police station and more. It also contained information on ’15 things to do & see in Dordrecht’. It was all I need for my day trip!
The Tourist Information Center / Intree Dordrecht has more to offer than just free maps, brochures, bicycles rental, souvenirs and expertise on where and what to do around Dordrecht. It offers audio-visual presentations, interactive scale model of the city, resting and reading area, kids play corner and free WIFI. Since the building used to be a bank, do venture to the basement to check out a small exhibition about ‘Treasures of Dordrecht’ in the former bank vault. Lookout for English language folder for explanation.
Here is a list of things to do and see in Dordrecht:
>> Boat ride
>> Grote Kerk of Dordrecht (closed on the day of my visit)
>> Het Hof van Nederland
>> Market on Saturdays
>> Walk along the harbor
>> Van Gijn House
>> National Museum of Education (did not visit)
>> Dordrecht Patrician Residence
>> Museum 1940-1945 (did not visit)
>> National Medical Museum (did not visit)
>> Dordrecht Museum (did not visit)
>> Villa Agustus (did not visit)
>> and many listed buildings, municipal monuments, churches and bridges.
Like any city trips, the best day to visit a Dutch city is on Saturday. That is when the city is functioning at its peak the whole day. Everything is open and more!
VVV / Tourist Information Center
Address: Spuiboulevard 99. 3311GN Dordrecht.
Monday – 1000hrs – 1800hrs (15 Oct – 15 Apr 1200hrs – 1800hrs)
Tuesday to Friday – 0900hrs – 1800hrs
Saturday – 1000hrs – 1700hrs
Every first and last Sunday of the month 1200hrs – 1800hrs