Harderwijk, like many of the Dutch cities, was founded during medieval times. The city is known to have been fortified with a wall by the end of the 13th century. The century after, the city started expanding southward. During this time the Grote Kerk (Great Church) was constructed as well. A second medieval expansion took place around 1425, this time expanding to the north.
The city had its own university since 1648. The most important person to attend this university has been Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus. The university, along with the universities of Zutphen and Franeker were abolished by Napoleon in 1811.
Harderwijk, like nearby Elburg, was a member of the Hanseatic League. The Southern Sea, not yet disconnected from the sea by the Afsluitdijk and not yet reclaimed by man to create Flevoland and the Noordoostpolder, meant that Harderwijk was a coastal town with easy connections to the outside. The once flourishing fishers harbour is no longer home to tens of fishing boats, but instead offers docking space for yachts.
Nowadays, Harderwijk is most known for the Dolfinarium, the largest marine mammal park of the Netherlands. The park has, as the name implies, dolphin shows and many other fishes and marine mammals.
Harderwijk has a single train station, which is serviced by the Nederlanse Spoorwegen. The station, 1 Harderwijk Station, is located at a 15 minute walk from the medieval city. Follow the Stationslaan to get to the city directly.
Harderwijk is located along the A28 (E232). To get to the city, get to either Utrecht or Zwolle and head for the one of the two that you're not in. Confusingly, the two exits that serve Harderwijk aren't named after the city. Instead they are named after nearby Ermelo and Lelystad (exits 12 and 13 respectively). As soon as you leave the highway, you will see Harderwijk. To get to the city centre, follow the Oranjelaan followed by Westeinde when coming from exit 12, and follow the Hoofdweg and Selhorstweg when coming from exit 13.
- 1 Dolfinarium, Strandboulevard Oost 1, NL-3841 AB Harderwijk (Use the N302's exit closest to the aquaduct under the Veluwemeer and turn onto the Burgemeester de Meesterstraat. Take the second right onto the Havendam and follow this road.), ☏ . The Dolfinarium is the largest marine mammal park of Europe and is a must-see when visiting Harderwijk. €15.
- 2 Stadsmuseum Harderwijk (City Museum Harderwijk), Donkerstraat 4, NL-3841 CC Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 3 Grote Kerk (Great Church), Kerkplein 1, NL-3841 EC Harderwijk.
- 4 Vischpoort, Vischmarkt 2, NL-3841 BE Harderwijk. The only remaining medieval gate of Harderwijk
- 1 Boat rental, Strandboulevard Oost 3, NL-3841 AB Harderwijk, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. The best way to explore the randmeren, the lakes in the former Zuiderzee between the Dutch mainland and Flevoland, is by boat. This company offers luxurious boats which can be driven without having the proper paperwork. Routes to follow are given. Three sorts of boats are available: Motorboats, console boats and aluminium dinghies. 7 days a week upon reservation..
About every restaurant in Harderwijk can be found in the city centre.
- 1 De Admiraal, Strandboulevard West 16, NL-3841 CS Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 2 Brasserie de Bank, Smeepoortstraat 1, NL-3841 EG Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 3 Basiliek, Vischmarkt 57, NL-3841 BE Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 4 De Dolle Griet, Bruggestraat 22, NL-3841 CP Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 5 The Lotus Lounge, Hondegatstraat 6, NL-3841 CG Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 6 Bistro Mama's Vollen Pot, Vijhestraat 1, NL-3841 CW Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 7 Bistro Vischmarkt 49, Vischmarkt 49, 3841 BE Harderwijk, ☏ .
- 1 Allure Lounge and Dinner, Strandboulevard West 2, NL-3841 CS Harderwijk, ☏ . €73.
- 2 Best Western Hotel Baars, Smeepoortstraat 52, NL-3841 EJ Harderwijk, ☏ . Four-star hotel in-between the Muntplein and Grote Kerk/Kerkplein. €69.
- 3 Marktzicht, Markt 6, NL-3841 CE Harderwijk, ☏ . Three-star hotel in the middle of Harderwijk's historic city centre. €62.
- 4 Monopole, Buiten de Bruggepoort 3, NL-3841 CT Harderwijk, ☏ . Three-star hotel right by the boulevard along the Veluwemeer. €72.
- 5 Van Der Valk Harderwijk, Leuvenumseweg 7, NL-3847 LA Harderwijk (Use the A28 to get to exit 13 (Lelystad). Use the N302, driving away from the city, and you will see the hotel on your left.), ☏ . Four-star hotel right by the A28. €97.
Just a hop over the Veluwemeer brings you to Flevoland, the biggest polder ever created. Alternatively, you could move up a bit along the Veluwemeer, which would get you to Elburg, the only Dutch city that was fully rebuilt in medieval times to fit a grid pattern. Go to the south-east and you'll find yourself in the middle of the heavily forested Veluwe, one of the first nature reserves of the Netherlands. Other nearby cities include Hanzestad Zwolle, Apeldoorn, the city that isn't a city since it never got city rights, and Amersfoort, which like Harderwijk, is a medieval city with a historical city centre that has stood the test of time fairly well, surrounded by urbanised regions.
|Routes through Harderwijk|
|Utrecht ← Amersfoort ←||S N||→ Elburg → Groningen|
|Lelystad ←||N S||→ A1/E30|
|Amersfoort ← Nijkerk ←||W E||→ 't Harde (Elburg) → Zwolle|