Soest is a medium sized city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It's known as a major base for the Dutch army, which uses large parts of forests and heathlands of the surrounding Soesterduinen and Soesterberg as training grounds. For visitors, those same natural surroundings make for good hiking and biking opportunities, and there's an interesting new army museum to visit.
Soest has 3 NS railway stations: Soest, Soestdijk and Soest zuid. Soestduinen has been closed for quite some time now. All three stations are serviced every 30 minutes by the all-station-service between Utrecht and Baarn. Soest-Utrecht takes less than 20 minutes, Soest-Amsterdam takes about 50 minutes.
Connexion services Soest, most buses drive every 30 minutes, but hardly any at night. Probably because of the lack of nightlife.
Soest is almost in the middle of the country, so it is easily reached from whichever direction you're coming. All parking is free, but can be a bit of a hassle around the shopping areas.
Walking or using a bike is the easiest way to travel in Soest. Distances are short, and everything is close to wherever you are.
The old town "Oud Soest" is a quaint corner. The town may not hold as many historic monuments as some other Dutch cities, but there surely are a few interesting sights.
- 1 Oude Kerk (Petrus en Pauluskerk), Torenstraat. This church has origins as old as the 11th century, but its current shape was mostly built in the mid-14th century. Originally called the Petrus and Paulus church, it became known as the Old Church when a newer church was created in the 1850s and given the same name. The tower was added in the 15th century and is about 45,5 meters high. The interiors were almost entirely lost in an 1875 fire, but the large bell in the tower was made in 1506, and is one of the oldest of its kind in the country.
- Windhond, Molenweg 30,. The 2008 replica of the old windmill "Windhond" opens its doors for visitors on Wednesdays and on weekends. The original one, built in 1730, was a major landmark for the town and its 1930 demolition left locals with a feeling that the city's character had been partly taken away. Funds were raised and with the help of many volunteers, the mill was finally reconstructed and is now open a few day per week. Free.
The Soesterduinen are ideal for hiking, forests are interspersed with dunes - which you might not expect 50 miles from the sea.