Bike ride to Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen
The Koningsweg is just a fifteen-minute bike ride from the centre of Utrecht, and is definitely one to recommend on a nice day. A trip to the Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen estates is worth it in several ways. Dainahara already let you know here: the area is ideal for a varied and relaxing afternoon full of nature, culture, and culinary pleasure. Every year, about 1.5 million people visit these estates, yet you can still relax there.
First, a quick tip if you’re using the Koningsweg to reach the estates. Koningshof recently opened on Koningsweg at number 135a. Here, the focus is on slow food with a critical view of the current food chain and its effects on the world. Among others, the food garden is there for Utrechters and people who live nearby, so some of you guys might like to get involved.
But anyway, we’re on our way to Amelisweerd estate, of course, which is a bit further down along the Kromme Rijn. It borders Rhjinauwen, so you can automatically see that too. But for now we’ll take the exit at Oud Amelisweerd, the first exit where the Koningsweg turns into the Koningslaan. You’ll recognize the crossing from the bus stop on the left and the house on the right with the cool wall paintings by Verfdokter. Keep biking past the parking lot, and on the other side of the Kromme Rijn you’ll immediately see:
De Veldkeuken has its own bakery, so everything you can buy there is organic and fresh. It’s the perfect place to stop for a delicious lunch during a long wander, so that you can keep going on your walk or bike ride with a full stomach. The menu includes sandwiches, soups, pastries, coffee, tea, and cold drinks. De Veldkeuken is heaven for both kids and their parents. On a sunny afternoon, it’s bursting with families.
Museum Oud Amelisweerd (MOA)
Beautifully located on the Amelisweerd estate, along the Kromme Rijn, the MOA is an art house in nature that explores the relationship between people and nature. The museum shows different collections in cohesion: the top-100 national monument Oud Amelisweerd, unique Chinese and other historical wallpapers, and a new exhibit every year. This summer, flowers are in the spotlight at MOA during the exhibit Flower Power, with top pieces from the Utrecht collection. You can catch it until mid-September 2018. In my opinion it’s definitely one to recommend, but that’s also true of the museum in general.
If you walk past De Veldkeuken and the MOA and turn right onto the estate, you’ll hit Rhijnauwen, about 500 meters further along the Kromme Rijn as the crow flies. The estate probably dates back to the 13th century, and the house that was built there, Ridderhofstad Rhijnauwen, was long the property of the Van Lichtenbergs, one of the most powerful families in Utrecht at the time. The municipality of Utrecht became the owner in 1919, and in 1933 it was rented out as a youth hostel. Around the Rhijnauwen estate, you’ll find other surprises, like:
This fine hostel is the ideal basis for a multi-faceted stay. It’s in the middle of nature and a bike ride away from the centre of Utrecht. The hostel comprises three buildings in total. The biggest one is Ridderhofstad manor, with three different restaurant rooms and bedrooms with space for almost 80 guests. In the adjacent and sturdy gate house – the former carriage building – there’s a cosy café with a terrace. The building De Bongerd is separate and has its own recreational area and terrace. The location is also perfect for weddings, parties, and business events.
Since the 1920s, this has been a popular place in the woods with a big terrace on the Kromme Rijn. Theehuis Rhijnauwen is made fully out of wood and built in the style of the Amsterdam School. It’s a great place for coffee, pastries, lunch, tea, or dinner – and don’t forget the most delicious pancakes. As much as possible, everything is organic, fair-trade, and sustainable. The tea house is open every day, all year, from 10 am. It’s got a fantastic playground outside and a modest petting zoo, so it’s ideal for kids.
Fort bij Rhijnauwen
Fort Rjihnauwen is located further along; it’s an imposing and unique fortification in unusually good condition. It’s also the only fort of its kind in terms of size: it comprises over 31 hectares and is therefore the biggest fort in the Nieuw Hollandse Waterlinie, of which it is part. This defense line was built at the end of the 19th century to defend Utrecht and North and South Holland against attacks from the East. Besides the fortification, the fort is also a worthy nature area: thanks to its years of isolation and peace, it’s a refuge for lots of (endangered) plants and animals. To give nature as much peace as possible, from mid-April to October Fort Rhijnauwen is only accessible with a tour guide from Staatsbosbeheer.
Achterdijk, you’ll find restaurant Vroeg, an institution in the region and its surroundings. Vroeg is a restaurant, bakery, training company, shop, and meeting location all in one. It’s situated in a national monument farm. You can see the love for the craft everywhere, like in the many local products and ingredients. You can head there early in the morning until late in the evening, or if you want to try a delicious beer from brouwerij Hommeles from Houten after your trip to the estates. A place to remember!
Header and images exhibition: MOA Visitor Info