On our fifth day on our VIVA Cruises on the Rhine, we headed for the port city of Dordrecht which is about 20 km southeast of Rotterdam. The city has about 120,000 inhabitants and is located in a very water-rich area on the rivers Merwede, Noord and Oude Maas. This “three-river corner” in the north of the city is one of the busiest waterways in the Netherlands.
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Things to know about Dordrecht
Dordrecht was first mentioned in 1120 and received town rights in 1220. This makes it one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. The very favorable location on the water and the stacking right made the city an important stacking place in 1299 and brought it lavish customs revenues in the 13th to 16th centuries. In the 18th century, Dordrecht was replaced by the nearby city of Rotterdam as a trading city and lost its importance. Nevertheless, Dordrecht is still an important seaport with a flourishing shipbuilding, wood, chemical and metal industries.
The landing stage of VIVA TIARA in Amsterdam
With our ship VIVA TIARA we docked at a pier on the Buiten Walevest, so that we reached the center of Dordrecht in a few minutes. For the exploration of the city we had about 10 hours after breakfast, because our layover time in Dordrecht was from 1 o’clock at night to 19 o’clock in the evening.
The most important sights in Dordrecht
Thanks to a perfect pier, we were able to reach the city center from the ship in just a few minutes. During our city tour we passed numerous architectural monuments, museums, inner city ports and historical sights.
The Stadhuis & the Grachtwacht
Built in 1383, Dordrecht Town Hall used to be a market hall built by Flemish merchants for the cloth trade. It was not until 1544, when the city administration moved into the building, that it became the town hall. The town hall lost its former medieval façade during an extensive renovation in the 19th century; at the same time, the access stairs with the two lion figures were created. In 1975, the city administration moved to another building, so the old Stadhuis is now only used for events, such as weddings.
Diagonally opposite the town hall is the Lombard Bridge from where we saw a very extraordinary but worth seeing street art painting: De Grachtwacht. The painting depicts five famous Dordrecht personalities from politics and art, who appeared in the 17th/18th of Dordrecht.
The Groothoofdspoort & the Boombrug
The Groothoofdspoort is an old, late Gothic city gate built between 1440 and 1450 and located at the confluence of the three rivers Merwede, Oude Maas and Noord. At the beginning of the 17th century, the gate was supplemented by a new Renaissance gate, which can still be seen today. On the inside of the gate is the coat of arms of Dordrecht, on the water side an image of the Dordrecht Virgin.
A few meters from the old city gate, we saw a very interesting bridge on the east side of the Wijnhaven. The Boombrug was originally built as a swing bridge, but was replaced in 1859 by the bascule bridge, which still allows ships to enter and exit the Wijnhaven today.
The former Augustinian monastery Het Hof
The former Augustinian monastery Het Hof in Dordrecht, founded in 1275, is best known for the fact that the first assembly of the Free States took place there in 1572. At this meeting, twelve cities broke away from the Spanish King Philip II and recognized only William van Oranje as their governor. An important event that helped to lay the foundation for the independent Republic of the Netherlands, the forerunner of today’s Netherlands.
At the end of the 17th century, the farm increasingly fell into disrepair, so the city bought and renovated the complex. Today, the building serves as a cultural center and since 2015 also houses a museum about the first assembly of the Free States and the history, culture and development of the Netherlands.
We really liked the historic harbour area around the Wolwevershaven. Here are old merchants’ houses with pretty shutters, old ships and an old ship lift from 1928, which was used for the repair and replacement of ship propellers and oars and has been a national industrial monument since 2002.
The canals in Dordrecht
In Dordrecht – as in many other Dutch cities – we particularly liked the pretty gabled and merchant houses at the ports and canals. These result in beautiful photo motifs every time!
Other sights in the Old Town
During our walk through Dordrecht we were able to see some other sights and monuments. Particularly noteworthy is the Grote Kerk, the largest church in Dordrecht and the landmark of the city. The oldest part of today’s brick church was built from 1285; By 1470 it had reached its present form. The 70 meter high church tower with the four baroque tower clocks remained unfinished.
With the Waterbus to the windmills of Kinderdijk
A very nice destination from Dordrecht, is a visit to the windmills of Kinderdijk. The 19 mills, built around 1740, are among the most famous sights in the Netherlands and were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997. The mills used to be used to pump out the water from the polder meadows in order to make the soil agriculturally usable. The area can be explored very well on foot or by bike. About our visit to Kinderdijk we wrote a separate one:
A map with all the sights in Dordrecht
On the following map at Google MyMaps we have marked all important sights & photo spot of Dordrecht.
All travel reports of our river cruise on the RhineFor one week we were on the Rhine with VIVA TIARA from Düsseldorf and got to know some of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands. From the pretty harbor towns of Deventer and Kampen, we continued to Enkhuizen and Hoorn, where we crossed the largest lake in the Netherlands - the Ijsselmeer. From here, our ship took us to the two metropolises of Amsterdam and Rotterdam, on to Dordrecht and the world-famous windmills of Kinderdijk, and finally to the city of Nijmegen.
VIVA Cruises - Our cruise ship VIVA TIARA
Deventer - Sights & Photo Spots of the Hanseatic City
Kampen - Things to do in the former Hanseatic City
Enkhuizen - Historic harbor town on the IJsselmeer
Hoorn - Things to do in the historic town
Amsterdam - The most beautiful photo spots & sights
Rotterdam - The most beautiful sights & photo spots
Dordrecht - Sights & our walking tour in the city
Kinderdijk - The 19 windmills of Kinderdijk in Holland (UNESCO)
Nijmegen - Sights of the oldest city in the Netherlands
Düsseldorf - Sights & the most beautiful photo spots