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Not to be confused with Rheden, a town in Gelders Arcadië, east of Arnhem.
View of the Nederrijn, with Rhenen's city centre and the Cunera Church on the right.
Row of graves on the Military Cemetery on the Grebbeberg.

Rhenen is a municipality of 20,000 people (2019) in Utrecht. The city is best known for Ouwehands Dierenpark, which is one of the most popular zoos of the Netherlands, and for the Grebbeberg national memorial.


Rhenen is a city along the Nederrijn with the Betuwe found on the south side of the river. Rhenen was first mentioned around 855 as Villa Hreni, and the town got its city rights in 1258. Rhenen, located in the Bishopric of Sticht (modern day Utrecht, Drenthe and Overijssel), of which Rhenen was one of the five influential cities. After centralisation by Charles V, the city turned into an easygoing garrisoned city. Rhenen once housed many royal summer residences of the rich, as well as Frederick V of the Palatinate, a grandson of William of Orange.

During the Second World War, Rhenen saw a lot of damage dealt to it. The city was evacuated during the battle for the Grebbeberg in May 1940, and upon return, the citizens found that some 160 houses were fully destroyed and some thousand houses heavily damaged. Just about the only thing that didn't need major work done to it was the Cunera Church and its tower. The town was rebuilt by architect and engineer Cees Pouderoyen, who followed the Delftse School, one of the Dutch architectural styles, with as its most notable goal being preserving the traditional aspects of Dutch buildings. The majority of the city's reconstruction was done by 1942, two years after which, the city was again severely effected by the fall of Nazi Germany during 1944 and 1945.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Rhenen is located in between the A12 and A15 highways, which connect to The Hague and Oberhausen in the A12's case, and Rotterdam and Nijmegen in the A15's case. When travelling using the A12, use exit 23a (Veenendaal) and head south using the N223, which will get you directly to Rhenen, running alongside the railway for the last bit. Once you pass the station, take the next available opportunity to get off of the N223. Turning left once you're off of the N223 will get you to the city centre, and turning right gets you to the zoo.

Using the A15, use exit 35 (Ochten), heading north towards Kesteren. This road you're on now, the N223 will get you to Rhenen directly. Leave the road once you've crossed the river and once again, turn left to go to the city centre or right to go to the zoo.

By public transit[edit]

Rhenen is serviced by trains coming from Utrecht at 1 Rhenen  SPR , which used to connect to Kesteren on the other side of the Nederrijn river. The bridge however, was destroyed and not rebuilt for trains. Trains going to Rhenen meet with Intercity trains between Utrecht and Arnhem at Driebergen-Zeist and Utrecht Centraal. These trains also continue to Breukelen and Amsterdam, where they terminate unless you're travelling during rush hour, a weekend or at night, in which case the trains stop in Breukelen. When travelling from the south side of the river, it may be more worthwhile to travel to Kesteren, where you switch onto bus  145 , which goes back and forth between the two stations. Buses  44  and  45  connect between Tiel and Wageningen, bus  50  between Utrecht and Wageningen and bus  80  between Amersfoort, Veenendaal and Ouwehands Dierenpark.

Get around[edit]

Rhenen its city centre can easily be explored on foot, but should you wish to visit the Grebbeberg or the zoo, then buses should be your go-to option.  50  connects to the zoo (direction: Wageningen) and to the town of Elst (direction: Utrecht) in the west of the municipality. Bus  80  connects to the northern part of the municipality (direction: Amersfoort). These lines meet each other at the railway station, which is the major public transit hub in the municipality.


Turtles at Ouwehands Dierenpark.
  • 1 Ouwehands Dierenpark, Grebbeweg 111 (Ouwehands Dierenpark  44   45   50   80   X80  ), +31 317 650 200. M-F 10:00 - 17:00, Sa Su 09:30 - 17:30. One of the most popular zoos of the Netherlands, which started out in 1919 as a chicken farm and changed into a proper zoo during the Great Depression. Ouwehands hosted many events over time, and since 2015 has hosted the largest barnacle aquarium of Europe and since 2017, the zoo has housed two giant panda's lent to the zoo by China. Ouwehands Dierenpark (Q2376025) on Wikidata Ouwehands Dierenpark on Wikipedia
  • 2 Militair Ereveld Grebbeberg (Military War Cemetery Grebbeberg), Grebbeweg 123 (Militaire Begraafplaats  44   45   50  ), +31 317 612 507. 09:00 - 17:00. Militair Ereveld Grebbeberg is a military war cemetery where 800 people that died during the Nazi-German invasion of May 1940, 799 of which being military personnel, one being civilian. The cemetery is built on the Grebbeberg, where more than half of the buried soldiers died during the Battle of the Grebbeberg. Military War Cemetery Grebbeberg (Q2088039) on Wikidata Military War Cemetery Grebbeberg on Wikipedia
  • 3 Cunerakerk, Kerkplein 1, +31 317 618 920. Year round: Sa 10:00 - 13:00, during summer (July 1 - 2nd Saturday of September): W-Sa 13:00 - 16:30. Free, but tips for the host are appreciated; climbing the tower costs €3 per person. Tickets can be bought at the VVV office. Cunerakerk (Q2127620) on Wikidata Cunerakerk on Wikipedia







Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Rhenen is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.