History comes to life in the city of a thousand monuments!
In the old inner city of Dordrecht, you stroll past the silent witnesses of an illustrious past. These monumental facades breathe the atmosphere of a thriving trade city. The Grote Kerk church and the old docks tell the tale of Holland’s first city, its merchants, and the rivers that carried its fortune.
Dordrecht is closely connected with Kinderdijk in a literal as well as a historical sense. If you happen to be in Kinderdijk, you really can’t afford to miss this ‘gem of the Drechtsteden cities’. Starting from our windmills, even untrained cyclists can rent a bike and arrive in the city in less than forty-five minutes. This proximity makes for a golden combination and a great day out! Another fun and fast means of transport is the Waterbus, which is even more fun and more profitable if you use our combination tickets. Of course, the Arriva bus company’s Line 93 will get you right to the heart of Dordrecht city in no-time too!
For centuries, Dordrecht served as the beating heart of Holland. By as early as 1220, Count Willem I granted a charter of city byelaws to the residents of what was a fast-growing riverside town at the time. The river carried ships to the docks of this first city of the Holland countryside, and as the citizens had obtained staple rights, all merchant ships passing Dordrecht had to pay staple duties before being allowed to carry on. With rapidly filling coffers, the fledgling city grew into a true centre of commerce, where monumental churches, stately warehouses, and grand merchant’s mansions just seemed to burst from the pavements.
Safe behind Dordrecht’s high city walls, political power started to build up, and in 1572, the lords of twelve Dutch cities met in the city, where they secretly agreed to take up arms against their Spanish oppressors. From the Hof van Holland in Dordrecht, William of Orange, founder of the Dutch state, received enough funding to raise an army with which to liberate the Netherlands from the Spanish yoke.
Religious history was made here, too. In 1618, the Dordrecht Synod convened here, in an attempt to put an end to the bickering between different branches of the protestant church, a mighty pillar supporting Dutch society. Dordrecht is also the birthplace of Johan and Cornelis De Witt, key figures in the history of the Dutch state. Today, you can still feel the historical charge of this city buzzing through the streets and along the old harbour quays of Dordrecht.
Take a leisurely stroll through downtown Dordrecht, and discover surprising shops hidden behind age-old Dutch facades. Take in the view of the rivers at Groothoofd vantage point, visit fascinating museums, or treat yourself to one of the many cafés and restaurants the city has to offer. Try not to lose count as you discover the more than one thousand monument dotting the cityscape. Or search for wild beavers and other natural treasures in Dordrecht’s unique back yard formed by the Biesbosch marshlands on the city’s outskirts. In a single day, you can experience the whole of what is known as the Water Trinagle: Kinderdijk, Dordrecht, and the Biesbosch – three unique sites rolled into a single day out! You’ll be there in no time from Kinderdijk, and from Dordrecht, you can hop right aboard the Waterbus that will take you on a wonderful river trip carrying you right to the heart of Rotterdam!
Today, our Kinderdijk-cafe and the Giftshop in the Visitor Center are open. All other visitor locations will be open again tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.