Walk around Utrecht with an app that unveils fascinating backstories of historical landmarks

Walk around Utrecht with an app that unveils fascinating backstories of historical landmarks

Looking for something to do outdoors while keeping a safe distance from others? Taking a walk is usually a fairly failsafe way to pass some time, and that’s why the Dutch creative agency Everybody Likes Penguins have released an app that will guide you around some fascinating historical gems in Utrecht.

Go on a pandemic-proof guided tour of Utrecht

Founded by the Romans, Utrecht is a riveting place with a lot of surviving buildings dating from as far back as the Middle Ages. So many beautiful structures have stood the test of time, from grand palaces and majestic churches to one-room houses built for the poor.

If only the walls could talk! Well, this app is here to take you on a storytelling adventure in your own time, in a corona-proof way!

Photo: Everybody Love Penguins utrecht-walking-route.jpg

The walking tour starts at the Dom, the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, and brings you on a 1,5-hour exploration of the past and present of Utrecht and its monumental buildings. Ever wondered how that building called "Winkel van Sinkel" got its name? Curious to know why Utrecht's main canals look so unusual with their cellars at water level and the streets more than 12 feet above?

Get the lowdown on how streets and buildings got their names: architectural jokes, residences where famous figures lived or stayed or just plain old silly nicknames. Walk down alleys with names originating in old Dutch sayings, and marvel at a fancy house named after a pretzel that was built as a bet.

Utrecht was the centre of Christianity for a long stretch, a fact that is firmly etched in the city's heritage and is therefore hard to miss. The app guides you down streets where once upon a time ordinary citizens were forbidden. (Yes, as mad as it sounds, at one point, there were certain city streets designated for clergy only!)

Map of Utrecht walking route

Take the tour of Utrecht

Even if you are miles away from Utrecht (or you live in Utrecht but don't feel like going for a walk!), you can still browse the Dwaalspoor website and unlock surprising truths about buildings and bridges as you skim through the images, learning about monuments you may have passed by many times without giving them a second thought.

If this leaves you curious and you want to check out more of Utrecht's architectural gems, browse our article about interesting buildings in Utrecht and reasons why Utrecht is a great city.

Thumb photo: Everybodys Love Penguins

Rachel Deloughry


Rachel Deloughry

Rachel is a writer, editor and digital content creator, passionate about the arts, culture and lifestyle.

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