Vijfheerenlanden is a municipality and general region in Utrecht consisting of Vianen, Leerdam and Zederik.
Vijfheerenlanden is the only municipality of Utrecht that is located south of the river Lek. The municipality consists of two major towns, those being Leerdam and Vianen. All three of these municipalities were part of Zuid-Holland before 2002, but Vianen was very much more oriented towards Utrecht and switched to the municipality of the same name for that reason.
The town of Leerdam is known to have existed since 1143, getting its first city rights in 1382 and again in 1407. The town was originally land ruled by the Van Arkel family and became part of Holland in 1428. Halfway through the fifteenth century, the land became ruled by the house of Orange-Nassau, the house of the Dutch Royal Family. Starting in the eighteenth century, Leerdam's city life became heavily influenced by the glassworks and wood industry. The modern day glass factory of Leerdam is internationally known as 'Royal Leerdam Chrystal' and is part of Royal Delft. From Easter to the end of September, many local and foreign glass blowers practise their trade in Leerdam for all to watch. Leerdam's historical looks have, regardless of industrialisation, been well-preserved over time.
Vianen is considerably older than Leerdam, being known to have been settled for at least 3400 years. Since the rivers surrounding the settlement frequently flooded outside of the river banks and the river itself meandered all over the place, no permanent settlement was founded up to the year 1000 AD. Vianen got its city rights in 1336, and the town subsequently became a fortified city. These defence works were mostly used to put pressure on Utrecht. The city is located at a key point along the river Lek and later became part of the Hollandic Water Line, a line of defence surrounding all of Holland.
Vianen has been a city state for most of its existence, being sold in 1725 by the state of Holland and West-Friesland for some 900.000 Guilders. Vianen only would be integrated into the Netherlands upon the start of the Batavian Republic in 1795.
Vianen is by far the easiest part of the municipality to access, since it is located just north of where the A2 and A27 highways meet, meaning that the municipality can be reached by going north from Breda, Eindhoven and Maastricht or by going south from Amsterdam, Almere and Utrecht. Of the A2, exits 11 and 12 service the municipality. For the A27, those are exists 25, 26 and 27. Exits 11 and 27 service Vianen. Leerdam can be reached from these highways by either using exit 25 (A27) and heading towards Meerkerk and Arkel. Turn left when you eventually reach a railway and you will automatically drive into Leerdam. From the A2, use exit 12, turning towards Zijderveld and Leerdam. Following this road, you will eventually reach Leerdam.
From The Hague and Arnhem, use the A12 heading towards Utrecht and, depending on which side you're coming from or where you're going to, switch onto either the A2 or A27 heading south for Nieuwegein, which will get you to Vianen first, followed by Leerdam.
By public transit
1 is the only train station in the municipality, being located on the line between Dordrecht and Geldermalsen. From here, bus connects to 2 , terminating in Utrecht. From this bus halt, you can either take a fifteen minute's walk to the city centre or catch bus 146 to Culemborg, which departs from the bus stop in front of the Van der Valk Hotel, which is a two minute's walk away. You want to get out at Vianen Centrum, which is the second halt after getting on the bus.
Vianen can also be reached using busses, , and from Utrecht Centraal, which is an easier starting point instead of Leerdam.
All the towns in the municipality can easily be explored on foot, but to travel between them, either take a bus or a bike to get from A to B.
- The monumental city centre of Vianen is a 30.8 hectares large historical city centre contains many old and beautiful buildings, a few of which can be found below:
- 1 City hall, Voorstraat 30. Built around 1425 and expanded in 1473, the Vianen city hall's large facade jumps out from its surroundings.
- 2 Reformed Church (Grote (Hervormde) Kerk), Voorstraat 110. Located right beside the city wall, the Grote Kerk is a very notable and recognisable part of the historical city centre.
- 3 Lekpoort (Lek Gate), Buitenstad 1. The Lekpoort, literally meaning 'Gate on the Lek side', is the main gate of the city on the north side, not too far from the river Lek itself.
- 4 Nationaal Glasmuseum (National Glass Museum), Lingedijk 28-30, Leerdam, ☏ . Tue-Sat: 10:00 - 17:00, Sun: 12:00 - 17:00.
- 5 Aquazoo Leerdam, Lingesteynplantsoen 21, Leerdam, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tue, Thu-Sat: 14:00 - 16:00, Wed, Sun: 13:00 - 17:00. A small zoo with fresh and saltwater aquariums, as well as terrariums. €6.
- 1 Van der Valk Vianen, Prins Bernhardstraat 75, Vianen, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. €85.
- 2 Het Oude Posthuys, Meent 57, Leerdam, ☏ . €119.
- 3 [formerly dead link] Tulip Inn Meerkerk, ☏ . €60.