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De Bilt is a town and municipality in Utrecht, consisting of the towns of De Bilt and Bilthoven.

Understand[edit]

De Bilt is a town on the edge of the Utrecht Hill Ridge. Its name, as well as that of Bilthoven, is derived from "de bult", meaning "the hill". De Bilt is most likely settled in the twelfth century, after the Kromme Rijn river was dammed off, making the swampy land that was often prone to flooding a lot more workable. The town was destroyed during an invasion by the Duchy of Guelders in 1372. The town, however, was rebuilt.

The Biltsche Grift, a canal from Utrecht to Zeist via de Bilt was constructed around 1640, improving the reachability of the area. In the seventeenth and eighteenth century, many plots of land were sold to rich citizens, who built their estates and summer residences on the land. Since De Bilt was also on the main road from the east to Utrecht, many craftsmen started doing their business in the town and many inns and taverns were opened along the Dorpsstraat. Since 1897, De Bilt has been the home of the KNMI, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, which has been responsible of broadcasting weather forecasts since 1924.

Bilthoven is a lot younger than De Bilt. It was built after the railway from Utrecht to Amersfoort was taken in use on August twentieth of 1863. The station for De Bilt was constructed roughly at half an hour's walk from the town itself. Around 1900 the first villa's started appearing around the station. The town that grew a lot after 1900 due to the low prices of land and the ease of access was initially named De Bilt-Station, but it was renamed in 1917 to Biltsche Duinen, but the Dutch Railways protested, and the name was eventually decided to be Bilthoven.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Bilthoven is located in between the A27 and A28 highways. The A27 runs from Breda to Zwolle and the A28 from Utrecht to Groningen. Exit 32 (Bilthoven) on the A27 and exit 2 (De Bilt) service the municipality.

From Amsterdam, follow the A1 heading for Amersfoort. After exit 9, use the Eemnes Interchange to turn onto the A27 heading for Utrecht. On this highway, use exit 32, followed by a left turn. Then, turn right onto either the Gezichtslaan or Soestdijkseweg Noord, which are the two main roads for the two towns. The Soestdijkseweg Noord will become the Soestdijkseweg Zuid after it passes under the railway. Following these roads, you'll first find yourself in Bilthoven, and in De Bilt afterwards.

From Arnhem, use the A12 heading west towards Utrecht. After passing exit 19 and the half-exit 18a, turn north onto the A27 heading for Amersfoort at Knooppunt Lunetten. Once here, use exit 30 and follow the directions below.

From Gouda, Rotterdam and The Hague, follow the A2 heading towards Germany and turn onto the A27 at Knooppunt Lunetten, which follows exit 18, heading for Hilversum. Here, use exit 30 (De Bilt) followed by a right turn will get you on the road to De Bilt. A turn right once you can't continue on straight and a left turn at the next roundabout gets you on the Soestdijkseweg heading for Bilthoven.

From Zwolle and the Northern Netherlands, follow the A28 heading for Amersfoort and Utrecht, using exit 2 followed by a right turn to get onto the road leading to De Bilt and Bilthoven.

By public transit[edit]

1 Bilthoven  SPR  is the main train station of the municipality and is tucked in between De Bilt and Bilthoven. 2 Hollandsche Rading  SPR , is a station on the provincial border with North Holland. Track one is in Utrecht, track two in North Holland. The station may be less close to the two bigger towns in the municipality, but is nonetheless well-connected to Bilthoven via bus  58  (direction: Zeist), which runs between Zeist and Hilversum. The two stations aren't on the same line, so a switch at 3 Utrecht Overvecht  SPR  or Utrecht Centraal is required. Sprinters to Amersfoort connect to Bilthoven, while sprinters to Hilversum connect to Hollandsche Rading. Utrecht Centraal in turn, is the major railway hub of the Netherlands, with trains from Groningen, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Den Helder, Enschede, Den Haag, Enkhuizen, Frankfurt am Main and Basel calling here, as well as many other trains.

Get around[edit]

Bus  58  from Hilversum to Zeist via Bilthoven station covers most of the municipality. The towns of Maartensdijk and Groenekan are connected via bus  55  to Utrecht, which terminates in Maartensdijk, where you can switch between both bus services. Westbroek in the far west of the municipality is serviced with bus  122  between Utrecht Overvecht and Nieuw-Loosdrecht.

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