5 things you have to do when in Woerden
You may not have heard of this Dutch historic city with Roman roots, but it is well worth a visit! Situated in the centre of the Netherlands, conveniently located between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht, the city has a lot to offer. From a traditional cheese market to a historic castle, this picturesque city with its star-shaped centre is perfect for a day out!
Here are some things you simply must do when visiting Woerden:
1. Discover the city’s rich history
Woerden dates back to the Roman era; around 41 A.D., the Romans built a castellum on the spot of the present site of the medieval Petrus church. It was part of the limes of the Roman Empire. If you are a history buff, the following spots in Woerden are a must-see:
City Museum Woerden
A good place to start learning more about Woerden is at the city museum: Stadsmuseum Woerden. Located in a former 16th-century “Stedehuys”, the museum exhibits, collects and preserves art related to local history. The building itself is a sight to behold, with its charming red shutters and sandstone pillory, dating back to 1567.
Next up: Woerden Castle (Kasteel Woerden)! Built in the beginning of the 15th century, the castle is one of Woerden’s most impressive monuments. It was the official residence of the Bailiff of Woerden from the end of the 15th century until the end of the 18th century. Over the years, it has also been a prison and a warehouse for military goods. Nowadays, it’s an event venue and a café at the weekend.
Windmill “De Windhond”
Don’t forget to visit this traditional round stone windmill, dating back to 1755. It is situated on a windmill hill, which used to be part of a stronghold. The mill is around 25,2 metres high and still in use! You can actually buy flour from the mill at the local market! It’s also possible to buy products from the mill when visiting. You can join a guided tour on Wednesday’s between 2pm and 4pm, and on Saturdays, the miller is present from 1.30pm till 4pm.
2. Explore Woerden’s culinary scene
After your exploration of the city’s past, you might be a little peckish. It’s a good thing then that Woerden has plenty of cosy cafés and trendy eateries to enjoy. Some of my personal favourites:
Van Rossum Bar Restaurant & Stadshotel
This hotel / restaurant features a stunning open kitchen and a menu that offers seasonal and local produce. In fact, a lot of the restaurant’s products come from its own nearby eco-farm! You can drop by Van Rossum’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even a borrel.
OOK is a cute gift shop and coffee place in one! Browse their quirky gadgets and gifts and relax afterwards with a nice cuppa and a slice of homemade pie in the trendy coffee corner.
A little fancy and a lotta lekker. Bistronoom makes (almost) everything from scratch, offering a tasty menu made with products from the restaurant’s own kitchen garden. If you want to be extra fancy, try the High Wine package; sample three different wines accompanied by delicious, matching bites.
Tip: Summertime? Soak up the sun (if it’s out) at one of Woerden’s many terraces! Gezellig!
3. A little cheesy, but still grate
Woerden likes cheese. A lot. Learn all about traditional Dutch cheese at the following locations:
Situated in a 1930s building, this is the place to learn all about cheese. Watch how the stuff is made in the Cheese Factory and see how professional traders store their cheese. Of course, you will also have the chance to taste the cheese. What about making your own cheese during the workshop “Brew your own cheese”? Sounds Gouda, don't you think?
Just like neighbouring Gouda, Woerden also has a cheese market. In 1885, the first cheeses were transported from the country to the centre of Woerden to be sold. Now, you can visit this cheese feast every Saturday in the summer months (from May until August). Antique tractors transport the cheese and then the “handjeklap” negotiations begin. And of course, there are plenty of chances to taste some cheese, over 100 different kinds of cheese, in fact! So, better brie there come summer!
4. Admire the view
Woerden is the capital of the green heart of the Netherlands, so while there you don’t want to miss out on some amazing views! Every second and fourth Saturday of the month, you can climb the 142 steps of the Petrus Tower, or the mini Domtoren of Woerden, and admire the stunning views of the city and the surrounding regions. Climbs start at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm.
5. Enjoy the countryside
Woerden is a farmers’ city, so there are plenty of picturesque farms and farmlands to see. Do it like a Dutchie and hop on a bike to discover “Het Groene Hart”; cycle through the polders to Oudewater, Schoonhoven or Utrecht. Or rent a canoe or boat and explore the canals, rivers, and the surrounding old villages and towns.
Take a look at Woerden
Not convinced yet? Take a look at this video of Woerden:
What do you think of Woerden? Will you be planning a visit soon? Let us know in the comments!
Photos: Beleef Woerden