One of the places to visit in the Utrecht province is Abcoude. While it is one of the small towns and villages you can find in the Utrecht region, there are many things to do in Abcoude. There is enough to see in Abcoude and its surroundings to spend a weekend in this town. From exploring the sights and attractions in Abcoude to discovering why Abcoude is worth visiting: This article will show you a perfect Abcoude itinerary, so you can do some sightseeing in the centre of Abcoude and will find out why this Dutch town deserves more tourism.
Things to do in one day in Abcoude, Utrecht, The Netherlands
If you want to spend 24 hours in Abcoude and are looking for activities to do and landmarks to see, this article on what to do in Abcoude is perfect. Abcoude is filled with beautiful streets and buildings and unusual places to visit in the Utrecht province.
So, if you were still wondering where you should visit when you’re on vacation in The Netherlands after you’ve finished this Abcoude travel blog, I didn’t do my job correctly. But, I’m sure that you will find plenty of places to see in The Netherlands and enjoy all the things you can see and do in Abcoude. Oh, and remember: Abcoude is not found in the Holland region but the Utrecht province. I can guarantee that once you travel to this hidden gem near Utrecht, you will understand why I think it’s one of the best places to visit in The Netherlands.
History & Facts about Abcoude
Abcoude is a village and a former municipality and home to around 8100. While it is found in the province of Utrecht, it borders Amsterdam’s municipality and used to belong to two other provinces before they changed the provincial borders.
Abcoude was first named in the bishop’s report in Utrecht in 1085. At that time, they talked about ‘habitatores de Abecenwalde’, or the home of inhabitants of Abecenwalde. Abecenwalde meant ‘the woods of Abbeke’, of which Abbe is a Frisian name and Abbeke the diminutive. Until the 8th century, this area was part of the Frisian territory called Niftarlake. And around 719, this part of Western Frisia became part of the Frankish Kingdom. However, the Frisian nobility was still governing the area of Niftarlake until 953. The area was taken from the Frisian Count Hatto by Otto the Great, who then gifted the region to the Stift of Utrecht.
Later on, on the border of the Earldom of Holland and the Stift of Utrecht, castle Abcoude was found. The Abcoude castle was first mentioned during the destructions of Gijsbrecht van Amstel in 1274. The castle was rebuilt at the time, but nowadays, you can see some fundaments in the landscape and a restored moat.
The municipality of Abcoude was founded on the 1st of May 1941 and existed out of the combination of the municipalities of Abcoude- Baambrugge and Abcoude- Proostdij. On the 1st of January 2011, the municipalities of Abcoude and De Ronde Venen merged. The village of Abcoude is found around 1 kilometre south of the southeastern part of Amsterdam. And several rivers flow through Abcoude, such as the Angstel and Gein rivers. The population of Abcoude is around 8100 people. Enjoy this Abcoude travel guide.
Where to stay in Abcoude
If you’re looking for a hotel in Abcoude, these are the best hotels and B&B’s you can find in Abcoude. There is quite a bit of accommodation in Abcoude and its surroundings to choose from, which is especially great when you want to spend the high season in the Dutch countryside.
De Vink B&B: check prices & availability via Booking.com
Parkhotel Abcoude: check prices & availability via Booking.com
Abbey Abcoude: check prices & availability via Booking.com
Hotel De Witte Dame: check prices & availability via Booking.com
Hotel Restaurant Koekenbier Abcoude: check prices & availability via Booking.com
Best restaurants in Abcoude
Abcoude is filled with good places to eat. Hotel Cafe Restaurant Koekenbier Abcoude and Café Restaurant de Eendracht are great restaurants in Abcoude to go to for lunch. I recommend you head to Ollie’s coffee and more for breakfast. Restaurant Jasmijn and Acqua Farina are both fantastic dinner restaurants in Abcoude.
What to do in Abcoude
Free walking tour in Abcoude
This walking tour in Abcoude is around 10 kilometres long.
We are starting our Abcoude tour in Brugstraat. One of the things you need to do in Abcoude is to explore the town on foot. You will walk to Kerkplein 45, where you can admire the Dorpskerk or village church of Abcoude. This is the oldest building in Abcoude and dates back to around 1470. It is said that the fundaments of the current church, parts of the pillars and the tower are from the earlier 13th-century Romanesque church.
The current church was built as a Catholic church between 1470 and 1491. It became a protestant church somewhere between 1578 and 1586. During the disaster year of 1672, French soldiers went in the direction of Abcoude. They were stationed between Baambrugge and the castle of Abcoude on the 7th of November in that same year. The inhabitants of Abcoude didn’t want to give the French what they asked for (money, possessions, jewellery, etc.), which the French soldiers and generals didn’t like. So, they set many houses and the church on fire.
A Catholic priest (being a Catholic wasn’t allowed at the time, but they still existed), with holy sacraments, went to the French soldiers to end the fires. He asked them to stop in the name of the Holy One. And that seemed to work, as an officer ordered them to stop the fires and return to their stationed place. That’s when the priest, and some other people, went to the church as quickly as possible to make sure they could put out the two fires in the church. The Catholic priest gained a lot of respect from the followers of the Protestant church as he saved the church and the town, which in return gave him a lot of privileges. Interesting to know is that even during the last restoration, traces of the fires were found.
When the French enemy eventually left, the church’s bell rang to tell the inhabitants that they could return to Abcoude. Only a third of all buildings in Abcoude remained due to the damage.
The church tower in Abcoude exists primarily out of the old Romanesque church tower. It was heightened to 56 metres in 1525. There are murals in the north part of the tower, and in the southern part, you can find two prisoner cells that were used until well after the Second World War.
The bells in this church date back to 1537. During the Second World War, they were seized by the German occupiers to be melted into munition. After the war, they found one of the two original bells in Groningen. Many monuments, centuries-old murals and even a tomb of one of the first Lords of Abcoude can be found inside this church in Abcoude.
People were buried inside the church until the 19th century. From 1829 on, this was forbidden. The influential people were buried in the front of the church, the middle class in the ship and peasants (regular workers) were buried outside the church. Interestingly, on the Northside of the church (which is the shadow side; thus, colder and less loved) were the places for people who committed suicide, drowned and weren’t Christened. This changed in the 18th century as well. The current Kerkplein, the square around the church, was where the graveyard was located.
After admiring this sight in Abcoude, you will walk further onto the Kerkplein (where you can see tons of 17th and 18th-century buildings) to Kerkstraat, Gein Noord and Gein Noord 33. Here you will see the Broekzijder Molen, a traditional Dutch windmill dating back to 1641. It is located next to the small river called ‘Gein’ and was used as a water pumping mill until 1980. Since its restoration in 2010, the windmill continues to help pump water out of the polder. You cannot visit this windmill.
Then cross the bridge and walk to Gein Zuid 22. Here you can see Huis Bijlmerlust, a manor house in Abcoude that dates back to around 1760. Interestingly enough, the house was built in the Westbijlmerpolder in the municipality of Amsterdam. But, as Amsterdam continued to expand and destroyed the farmland to create homes, the house couldn’t stay here. In 1967, the municipality of Amsterdam bought the house, and it was taken apart (stone by stone) and rebuilt in its current location around 1968.
Continue walking to Gein Zuid 14, where you find the Oostzijdse Molen (also named Molen Delphine). This mill dates back to 1874, but the first windmill that ever stood on this location was in 1468. This Dutch windmill in Abcoude was used to drain the Oostzijdse polder until 1950. The polder’s water level is shallow, and the windmill has been used to drain the polder since 2009 again.
This windmill is also famous as the Mondriaan mill. Piet Mondriaan painted this Dutch windmill on the Gein river more than twenty times. You can see one of these paintings in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.
You can even stay in this Dutch windmill near Amsterdam:
Mondriaanmolen, an authentic Windmill close to Amsterdam; check prices & availability via Booking.com
Now, walk to Hoogstraat 24, where you can spot manor house Binnenrust. It has been named ‘Binnenrust’ since at least 1706, and the whole estate is around 1,7 ha big. It dated back to 1680 and functioned as housing for mayors of Abcoude from 1893 until 1980. The river Angstel flows at the back of this manor house, and Binnenrust is the closest still existing vacation and weekend house to Amsterdam that is found along the Angstel river.
Then, head over to Hoogstraat 18-20 to see a small park named: Hugo de Vriespark. It’s named after Dutch biologist, botanist and one of the first geneticists of The Netherlands: Hugo de Vries. This little park is home to a pond, centuries-old trees and more.
Walk to Het Markvelt, Jacob van Gaesbeeklaan to Fort Bij Abcoude. The Stelling van Amsterdam is a defence line of 135 kilometres that surrounds Amsterdam. It exists out of dozens of fortresses and some batteries mainly located between 10 and 20 kilometres from the centre and lowlands that you can quickly inundate during the war. The fortress of Abcoude was the first fort built on Amsterdam’s defence line. This fortress is part of one of The Netherlands Unesco World Heritage sites: Amsterdam’s defence line.
The fort of Abcoude was built between 1884 and 1887 and is the only fort of this defence line made from brick (its walls are around 1,8 metres thick!). Two floors offered a place to 360 people. Shortly after the First World War, the government took the fortress out of use due to the invention of the grenade.
You can generally visit this Dutch fortress near Amsterdam from February until November. The grounds of the Fortress of Abcoude are open every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00- 17:00; during these opening times, you cannot visit much of the inside of the fortress (the toilet is open to use). There are monthly tours through the fort itself, which must be reserved via Natuurmonumenten (the non-profit organisation that cares for the defence and its nature).
Now, walk to Molenweg and Raadhuisplein 3. This is the former city hall of Abcoude. It was built in 1882 and 1883 for the former municipality of Abcoude- Proostdij. Before this town hall in Abcoude was built, the meetings were held at a restaurant in Abcoude. However, a new law forbidding meetings in a room that served strong alcohol went into effect in 1881. So, they needed a new place. This building was also home to the police station of the municipality of Abcoude. It is currently privately owned due to the municipality of Abcoude merging with others.
Then head via Koppeldijk and Winkeldijk to the Abcouder Slot. This is the place where the castle of Abcoude was located. You can also skip this part of the tour if you prefer to walk less, especially since you can’t see much remains. You can see the canal that surrounded the castle and the piece of land home to the castle (where animals now graze on). There are no actual castle ruins in Abcoude, but the history is fascinating.
The big castle of Abcoude was built around 750 years ago and was first mentioned when it was destroyed by angry farmers led by Gijsbrecht van Amstel in 1274. The castle was renovated and modernised countless times as the centuries went on. In 1672, the Dutch people defended the castle against the French troops that set fire to the village of Abcoude on the 6th of November. They returned on the 30th of November to finish what they started, but the resistance from the castle was too much to handle for the French troops.
After that, the castle started to decay slowly as no one lived there anymore. Then, cannon Theodorus de Leeuw bought the castle from the States of Utrecht, renovated it, and lived there until he died in 1744. Then, the castle started to decay again around the 1820s. Then, it was demolished in 1860.
Walk back to the village of Abcoude via Winkeldijk, Koppeldijk, Doude van Troostwijkstraat, Burgemeester des Tombeweg, Blomswaard and Heinkuitenstraat. Then you will walk to Voordijk, Meerweg, Amsterdamsestraatweg to the Abcoudermeer or the lake of Abcoude. This is the end of your Abcoude tour.
Explore the fortresses of the defence line of Amsterdam
Fort Abcoude is a must-visit in The Netherlands. It’s located between the Angstel river and the railway between Amsterdam and Utrecht. This was the first fortress completed in the Stelling van Amsterdam but was never used. You can visit this Dutch fort in the Utrecht region during the summer months.
The fortress of Abcoude was built as the road to Amsterdam from the south was clear for enemy troops, which was not what anyone wanted. The defence line was supposed to be made closer to Amsterdam, but that wasn’t needed due to changes in the artillery force.
The creation of the fort of Abcoude started in 1884. The defence exists out of several buildings covered by soil and is home to seven bomb free spaces surrounded by a moat. The bomb free areas included the main building with two floors and could house 360 people, a kitchen and a hospital. This fort was an example for the rest of the fortresses of the defence line of Amsterdam that were still in construction.
The buildings were all created on soil that existed out of peat. As peat isn’t the most robust place to build heavy forts, most of the peat was dug off, and workers placed sand there instead. All buildings were supposed to be made from brick; however, that plan didn’t last long. After a year, this fort’s creation was halted, as the brisant grenade was created, which would destroy a brick fort. They changed the design, eventually making most of the defence from concrete. Most of the inside walls and the facades were still made from brick, but the roofs were all made from concrete and brick parts. The rest of the forts of the defence line got cement too. The Abcouder fort was completed in 1887.
There were plans to modernise or even demolish the fort for a new design, but these ideas were never carried out (luckily for us). During the Cold War, the fortress was used as a storage facility for medical supplies.
The grounds of the Fortress of Abcoude are open from February until November every Thursday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00- 17:00; during these opening times, you cannot visit much of the inside of the fortress (the toilet is available for use). There are monthly tours through the fort itself, which must be reserved via Natuurmonumenten (the non-profit organisation that cares for the fortress and its nature).
Rent a boat in Abcoude
One of the best things you can do in the Utrecht region is rent a boat to explore the beautiful Dutch rivers and lakes. In Abcoude, you can rent a boat and a captain for four or eight hours at Hotel Cafe Restaurant Koekenbier. It’s best if you contact them in advance to reserve the boat for the specific date you’d like to enjoy Abcoude and its surroundings from the water.
Go shopping for regional products in Abcoude
If there’s one thing you shouldn’t miss out on when you visit Abcoude, it is its local shops.
Go to Jamie & Joëlle for some nice clothing. And, buy a traditional ‘Amsterdams krentenbrood’ at bakery Remko’s or enjoy some tasty cakes, treats and delicious bread (you can even go here for a small bite and coffee) at Luxe Brood- en Banketbakkerij Both. At Vendetta, you can find good lingerie. Don’t forget to get a piece of delicious, fresh fish at Vishandel Cas Buys & Zn.
Noort Groente Enzo is home to every fruit and vegetable you might have been craving and some other delicious things. Kwaliteitsslager Jan Konijn is the best place for a good piece of meat, some local sausage, etc. And last but not least: Go to La Dolce Vita for the best ice cream in Abcoude.
Visit events & markets in Abcoude
Historical ‘Paardenmarkt’ Abcoude
In 1309, a mention of this market in Abcoude was written down as ‘Apicwoudermarct’. It was held at the end of August, and it still is today. In 1471, Abcoude gained the privilege to have a ‘Vrije Paardenmarkt’, or free horse market. It was then also made clear that this event would occur every year on the last Thursday of August. In 1541, this right and privilege were confirmed by emperor Charles V. In the whole Stift of Utrecht, you could only sell horses in Utrecht or the village of Abcoude.
While it was a simple horse market initially, not soon after that, hawkers, other traders and street artists came to Abcoude. That’s when the horse market in Abcoude slowly grew out into a big yearly market, which people from all distances came to visit. It became an important village fair and grew out into an event of five days: with the famous horse market on the last Thursday of August. Since the beginning of the 20th century, a funfair is also found there during the five days. This historical event in The Netherlands has been a tradition for more than 500 years.
Weekly market Abcoude
The weekly market in Abcoude takes place on Thursday from 12:30 until 17:00 at ‘t Marktveld. Here you can buy local products and tasty foods.
Explore the Abcoudermeer
The Abcoudermeer, or Abcoude lake, is found in this small Dutch town. The lake was first mentioned in writing by the Bishop of Utrecht in 1300. At that time, the Stift of Utrecht border was found here, and nowadays, it’s still a border region: between the Utrecht region (South of the lake) and the Noord- Holland province (North of the lake). It is said that the lake was created by a flood of the former Zuiderzee around 1400 B.C. Others believe that the Dutch lake near Amsterdam was created after peat extraction in the 11th century.
This lake in the Utrecht region is a maximum of four metres deep and is one of the places where many people go swimming during summer in The Netherlands. But, when the lake freezes, the Abcoudermeer is also a perfect location for ice skating on natural ice in The Netherlands. There are cycling and pedestrian paths along the lake, so if you want to explore the area (which I recommend you to do), these are the perfect ways to do so.
We’re lucky that this beautiful lake in Abcoude can still be explored and visited today: the municipality of Amsterdam bought the lake at an auction and wanted to turn it into a landfill, which was met with huge criticisms from public bodies and inhabitants, so that didn’t end up happening. There were also plans to turn the lake into reclaimed land to give more people jobs. However, this was also met with significant protests in the 1940s: add to that that the soil wasn’t excellent quality, and you will have a remaining lake in a region that mainly was reclaimed.
More things to do in Abcoude & its surroundings
One of the great things about Abcoude is where it is located. This is one of the Netherlands’ regions where you can find many things to do in spring, summer, autumn and winter.
Walk or cycle in the surroundings of Abcoude
Walking near Abcoude is one of my favourite things to do. Walk along the ‘Gein’ river and admire the best of what the low laying parts of The Netherlands have to offer: from meandering rivers to forts and idyllic Dutch villages around the corner. I can also highly recommend walking along the ‘Angstel’ river. I love travelling to this hidden gem in The Netherlands because you are in the middle of Dutch nature.
There are many more cycling routes in the countryside that you can follow. If you want to rent bikes in Abcoude, you can do so at Ollie’s coffee. They recommend you reserve a bike in advance, which is possible via the telephone number on their website between 08:00- and 17:00. Cycle to the Vinkeveense Plassen (lakes) or follow this route: Abcoude – Baambrugge – Loenersloot – Vinkeveense Plassen – Abcoude.
Explore nature reserves near Abcoude
There are natural areas all over The Netherlands, and one of the things you need to do in Abcoude is explore these places. You will be mesmerised by the beauty of The Netherlands.
I recommend you head to De Hoge Dijk, which is also home to a beach (strand De Hoge Dijk). I can also highly recommend you head to Natuurgebied Botshol (the walking path is closed here due to the breeding season from the 15th of March until the 15th of June). Stay on the trails in nature reserves: they are here for a reason.
Visit the city of Amsterdam
Abcoude is found near Amsterdam, making this town a perfect day trip from Amsterdam and the other way around. If you want to visit the Netherlands’ capital and the biggest city in the country while exploring the Dutch countryside, then this is perfect.
Many people tend to head to Amsterdam’s most popular attractions, sights, and highlights when they travel to this city in the Holland region. However, I find that exploring the authentic parts of Amsterdam is much better. So, I highly recommend you visit the offbeat places and secrets (such as villages) in Amsterdam instead. Or, if you want to stay more inside the city of Amsterdam, then this two-day itinerary for Amsterdam is fantastic for you.
Admire the village of Nigtevecht
‘Klein, maar fijn’ is what we would call Nigtevecht in The Netherlands. It translates to ‘small, but nice’, precisely what this village in the Vecht region is. It has a protected cityscape and is home to tons of beautiful buildings. One of the things you need to do in Nigtevecht is to walk. Let your eyes wander as you walk through the streets, and I can guarantee you that this is an experience on its own already.
Bring a visit to the city of Weesp
Weesp is one of the best day trips from Abcoude, Amsterdam and even Utrecht. There are many things to do in Weesp, but one of my favourites is the Gemeentemuseum or Museum Weesp. Don’t forget to enjoy a walking tour through Weesp, as the city is filled with monumental buildings.
Enjoy a visit to the village of Vreeland
Beautiful Dutch villages in the Utrecht region are everywhere. Another one you should visit is Vreeland. One of the things you need to do in Vreeland is walk through its little picturesque streets. Another thing you can do in Vreeland is visit the Wijde Blik lake that is found nearby. And, you can visit a Dutch windmill in Vreeland: Molen De Ruiter is open every Saturday.
Head over to the Dutch village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is a village near Abcoude older than the capital city of The Netherlands, Amsterdam. The town is home to a protected cityscape, which means that one of the things you need to do in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel is simply wandering around. Have a look at the beautiful streets, the small rivers and the incredible buildings. And, when you’re done with that, you can also head to the Ouderkerkerplas. This big lake nearby Amsterdam is a perfect place to go swimming in The Netherlands during summer (only if you can swim, of course) and ice skating during the Dutch winters.
Discover a part of The Netherlands lake district
The Vinkeveense Plassen, or lakes of Vinkeveen, can be found near Abcoude. These Dutch lakes are part of an area that stretches out over three provinces: The Netherlands lake district. You can rent boats and canoes and go swimming in these lakes, but you can also find one of the best diving locations in The Netherlands at the Vinkeveense Plassen. So, if you’re looking to explore a beautiful part of The Netherlands, you must explore the things to do in Vinkeveen and its incredible lakes.
Get to know the village of Loenersloot
This village in the Utrecht region is small (obviously) but is home to a beautiful castle: Castle Loenersloot (or Kasteel Loenersloot in Dutch), which makes visiting this castle one of the things you need to do in Loenersloot. This castle is one of the best destinations to see in the Utrecht region. You could not visit this castle for around 750 years, but nowadays, it is open from around April until November. You can go on a castle tour in this town in The Netherlands, but you’d reserve in advance for that. You can visit the castle gardens of this Dutch castle year-round without any reservations or something like that, so that is also good fun. So, if you want to explore an old castle in The Netherlands, this is the perfect place.
Explore the village of Loenen aan de Vecht
One of the things you need to do in Loenen aan de Vecht is to walk through its protected cityscape. This Dutch village is filled with monuments and cute alleys. And, when you’re nearby them anyway, head to the Loosdrechtse Plassen (or lakes of Loosdrecht) to enjoy a beautiful natural area in The Netherlands.
How to get to Abcoude, Utrecht, The Netherlands
I would always recommend using 9292.nl/en to plan your current trips by public transportation in The Netherlands. This is only used to give you a quick idea of the arrival time and how you roughly can travel to Abcoude.
From Utrecht: To get from Utrecht on a day trip to Abcoude, you need to take a sprinter train from Utrecht Centraal in the direction of Breukelen. Get out at Breukelen and transfer to the train in the direction of Uitgeest. Get out at Abcoude train station. It will take you around 30 minutes to arrive in Abcoude from Utrecht.
From Amsterdam: If you want to travel to the town of Abcoude from Amsterdam, I can recommend you take a sprinter train from Amsterdam Centraal in the direction of Rotterdam Centraal. Get out at Abcoude station. It will take you approximately 20 minutes to get from Amsterdam to Abcoude.
From Rotterdam: When you’re thinking of visiting Abcoude from Rotterdam, you must take the sprinter train from Rotterdam Centraal in the direction of Uitgeest. It will take you around 55 minutes to get from Rotterdam to Abcoude. Get out at Abcoude.
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I hope you enjoyed this city blog on things to do in Abcoude. Whether you’ve been looking for must do’s or sees in Abcoude, or simply wanted the answer to ‘Where is Abcoude, The Netherlands?’, I think that you’ve got your answers. There are many amazing things to do in The Netherlands, and travelling to one of the country’s unusual places is one of the best things you can do on your The Netherlands trip. This Abcoude city guide was also filled with free and cheap things to do in both the Utrecht region and The Netherlands. Share this post!