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Cool canals and tallest Dutch church tower - Utrecht

Utrecht was the largest city in the Netherlands from 1100 to 1550, and still has the country's largest surviving medieval old town

Utrecht was the largest city in the Netherlands from 1100 to 1550, and still has the country's largest surviving medieval old town

Utrecht's canals are unique in their design with pedestrians and cyclists on an upper walkway; ships could offload goods directly to the lower wharves where goods could be placed directly into cellars

Utrecht's canals are unique in their design with pedestrians and cyclists on an upper walkway; ships could offload goods directly to the lower wharves where goods could be placed directly into cellars

The Utrecht Dom Tower is the tallest in the Netherlands; climbing the narrow stairs to the top can only be done with a guided tour best booked in advance online

The Utrecht Dom Tower is the tallest in the Netherlands; climbing the narrow stairs to the top can only be done with a guided tour best booked in advance online

A modern skyline is developing around the train station; the white building is locally famous since it's in the shape of a U for Utrecht

A modern skyline is developing around the train station; the white building is locally famous since it's in the shape of a U for Utrecht

St. Martin's Cathedral is the country's only pre-Reformation cathedral, but has been a Protestant church since 1580; Utrecht has always been considered the religious center of the Netherlands

St. Martin's Cathedral is the country's only pre-Reformation cathedral, but has been a Protestant church since 1580; Utrecht has always been considered the religious center of the Netherlands

This hare has been dubbed The Thinker; situated in the middle of the country, Utrecht is the nation's transportation hub having the biggest and busiest train station as well as the headquarters of Dutch Railway

This hare has been dubbed The Thinker; situated in the middle of the country, Utrecht is the nation's transportation hub having the biggest and busiest train station as well as the headquarters of Dutch Railway

The first bicycle path in Utrecht was built in 1885; today there are more than 245 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes (most cyclists do not wear helmets)

The first bicycle path in Utrecht was built in 1885; today there are more than 245 kilometers of dedicated bike lanes (most cyclists do not wear helmets)

Dutch real estate is very expensive, especially in city centers, but maybe I could squeeze into this narrow townhouse; despite lots of new construction, home prices here have climbed quickly since the bottom of the financial crisis

Dutch real estate is very expensive, especially in city centers, but maybe I could squeeze into this narrow townhouse; despite lots of new construction, home prices here have climbed quickly since the bottom of the financial crisis

When the cathedral was completed in the early 1600s it was the largest church in the Netherlands; you can also go underneath the church to see remains of prior structures

When the cathedral was completed in the early 1600s it was the largest church in the Netherlands; you can also go underneath the church to see remains of prior structures

In 2004, 750 years after construction of St. Martin's Cathedral began, the collapsed parts were temporarily rebuilt in scaffolding material; the scaffolding was also blown down in a storm, like the original nave

In 2004, 750 years after construction of St. Martin's Cathedral began, the collapsed parts were temporarily rebuilt in scaffolding material; the scaffolding was also blown down in a storm, like the original nave

The cathedral used to extend all the way to the tower but in 1674 a tornado came through and destroyed part of the cathedral which was never rebuilt

The cathedral used to extend all the way to the tower but in 1674 a tornado came through and destroyed part of the cathedral which was never rebuilt

With 330,000 residents, Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands; it is also home to the largest university in the country

With 330,000 residents, Utrecht is the 4th largest city in the Netherlands; it is also home to the largest university in the country

The only Dutch pope had this house built in 1517; Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the house when he came to Utrecht in 1985

The only Dutch pope had this house built in 1517; Pope John Paul II paid a visit to the house when he came to Utrecht in 1985

Originally the cathedral's chapterhouse, after the Reformation this gorgeous building became the main building for Utrecht University

Originally the cathedral's chapterhouse, after the Reformation this gorgeous building became the main building for Utrecht University

From the top of the cathedral tower we could barely see Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Netherlands is supposed to be densely populated but the vast majority of buildings don't exceed 4 stories

From the top of the cathedral tower we could barely see Amsterdam and Rotterdam; the Netherlands is supposed to be densely populated but the vast majority of buildings don't exceed 4 stories

The average Dutch person has 2 bikes, one clunker for around town and then a racing bike for the countryside; I wondered how many of the bikes I saw had just been abandoned

The average Dutch person has 2 bikes, one clunker for around town and then a racing bike for the countryside; I wondered how many of the bikes I saw had just been abandoned

You see more innovative new buildings in the Netherlands than you do in the US; architecture seems less daring in the US and more practical, whereas the Dutch are creating landmark buildings

You see more innovative new buildings in the Netherlands than you do in the US; architecture seems less daring in the US and more practical, whereas the Dutch are creating landmark buildings

This huge bell dates from 1505 and is used every Friday by a carrillion player who has an afternoon performance; the rest of the time, the bells are automatically rung on the quarter hour

This huge bell dates from 1505 and is used every Friday by a carrillion player who has an afternoon performance; the rest of the time, the bells are automatically rung on the quarter hour

This is a typical, ritzy canal house from 1300 when Utrecht was practically minting money; these city castles were designed to show off the owners wealth

This is a typical, ritzy canal house from 1300 when Utrecht was practically minting money; these city castles were designed to show off the owners wealth

Equestrian statue of Saint Willibrord who was one of the first missionaries to live in the Low Countries and the first bishop of the diocese of Utrecht .

Equestrian statue of Saint Willibrord who was one of the first missionaries to live in the Low Countries and the first bishop of the diocese of Utrecht .

Posted by VagabondCowboy 15:03

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