Zutphen (population 46,000) is an historic city in the center-eastern part of the Netherlands. The city has existed since Roman times and received its city rights in 1190, making it one of the oldest medieval cities in the Netherlands.
The city was voted as having the best city center of The Netherlands in the category of small cities in 2006. (The winner in the category of major cities was Groningen.)
It has an untouched historic city center that gives you the feeling of travelling hundreds of years back in time. It is not widely known to foreign tourists and waiting to be discovered.
Zutphen is located in a river valley at the river IJssel, a sidebranch from the branch of the Rhine known as the Nederrijn. The small river Berkel (no shipping possible) as well as the major Twentekanaal (channel) flow into the IJssel near Zutphen. The city lies at the border of the hilly forested Veluwe region and the more flat and agricultural Achterhoek. The language spoken is Dutch; nearly everyone speaks English, and German is widely understood.
It is easily accessible by train from most major cities.
In the morning: Take the Intercity from Amsterdam Central to direction Nijmegen till Arnhem, the you have to change train. In Arnhem you take the Intercity in the direction Zwolle.
In the afternoon and evening: Take the Intercity from Amsterdam Central to Amersfoort, there you have to chance train to the direction of Enschede. At the first station (Apeldoorn), you change train again: the local train to Zutphen.
During peakhours (morning and afternoon) "Peakhours Intercities" Amsterdam Central - Apeldoorn (direction Deventer) are in service. You don't need to travel via Arnhem or don't have to change train in Amersfoort. You only have to take the peakhour Intercity from Amsterdam Central in direction Deventer till Apeldoorn en there change train to the local train to Zutphen.
See ns.nl for times and prices.
From Amsterdam, follow the A1 highway for about 100 kilometers until Apeldoorn. Just after Apeldoorn, take the exit towards Voorst / Zutphen and follow main road N314 for about 18 kilometers until you reach Zutphen. Note that after about 10 kilometers you reach a round-a-bout where you have to turn right (and follow the N314), and when you enter Zutphen, you will first enter the small part of the city (de Hoven) that lies on the west bank of the river. The road ends at a major junction where you can only turn right or left; turn left onto the IJssel bridge to cross the river and reach the main part of the city.
From Den Haag (The Hague)
From Den Haag, follow the A12 highway for about 120 kilometers to Arnhem. When you get to the major Velperbroek interchange at the eastern side of Arnhem, take the exit for the A348 towards Zutphen. After taking the exit you get to a huge round-a-bout which you have to follow three-quarters around. Where the highway ends you turn left and after a few hundred meters right, following the N348 provincial road through the town of Dieren until you reach a large multi-lane round-a-bout just beyond the town of Brummen. There you can either continue straight with the N348, which will take you across the new IJssel river bridge and to the southern, newer part of Zutphen, or turn right onto the N345 and continue all the way to the old IJssel river bridge, which will take you to the old city center.
From the center, you may take the Steenstraat, beginning right in front of the V&D department store and Musis Sacrum. Follow this city street all the way out of Arnhem, through Velp, Rheden, De Steeg, and Ellecom. Then, it turns into the road described above: follow the N348 provincial road through the town of Dieren until you reach a large round-a-bout just beyond the town of Brummen. There you can either continue straight with the N348, which will take you across the new IJssel river bridge and to the southern, newer part of Zutphen, or turn right onto the N345 and continue all the way to the old IJssel river bridge, which will take you to the old city center. From the southern part of the city (below the river), take the Pleyroute, the Sacharov Bridge which will take you across the river towards Velp. There are already signs around the major junctions in Arnhem South leading to Zutphen; follow them.
Follow the N348 south to Zutphen. Directly at the entrance to the city, just after crossing the bridge over the Twenthekanaal (Twenthe canal), you can choose between turning left, following the N348 towards the southern part of the city, or continuing straight towards the city center.
Inside the city center, everything is within walking distance. The railway station is located 200 meters away from the edge of the old city center. Walking from one side of the city center to the other side takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
For the rest of the city, and for the surrounding area, the best way to get around is definitely by bicycle. You can rent bicycles at the railway station's bicycle depot, which is not very expensive and offers excellent bicycles. You can find it by turning left when you leave the station; the bicycle depot is located in a space under the railway station, next to the ING Bank. Most bicycle shops in town will also rent bicycles.
Parking a car in Zutphen is possible, but may be difficult on some days (such as Saturdays and market days). In the city center, expect to have to pay for your parking spot. Directly north of the railway station, close to the river IJssel, there is a free parking lot with 80 spots from which it is a 10 to 15-minute walk to the city center. This parking lot is accessible via the rear entrance of the train station.
The bus network in the city has been improved over the past few years. All areas of the city are now served by buses from the early morning until the late evening. On the buses, you can buy a 1 euro ticket which is valid for two journeys on the same day. The buses are operated by Syntus. Some lines, going the west across the river, are operated by Connexxion.
- Line 80: Station - city center - Zuidwijken - Hospital - Leesten - Warnsveld vv.
- Line 82: Station - Warnsveld - Leesten - Hospital - on towards Doetinchem vv.
- Line 83: Station - Deventerwegkwartier (northern city) - Eefde - on towards Deventer vv.
- Line 54: Station - Warnsveld - Almen - Laren vv.
Its Dutch tourist promotion slogan, "Torenstad", means "Tower-city", which refers to the large number of towers. The largest is the Walburgkerk (officially it's called "St. Walburgiskerk", but the locals say "Walburgkerk"), located at the square where the city originated. Guided tours are available, organized by the VVV located directly opposite the railway station. These tours will also allow you to visit the medieval library "Librije" - books have been kept here secure since the 1600s by chaining them to the desks.
- The St. Walburgiskerk (Saint Walburgis church), locally known as 'Walburgkerk', is one of the biggest churches in the country. It is located at the 's-Gravenhof square, where the city was founded.
- The old city hall, next to the Walburgkerk, is a beautiful classical building.
- Visit the weekly markets. A large market is held on Thursday morning, breaking up at around 13:00 (1 PM); a smaller market is held on Saturday throughout the day. The Thursday morning market is one of the biggest in the country.
Hire a bike (railway station), head out over the old bridge, turn right, and pushbike along the most beautiful riverdyke, an oasis of quiet and nature. A gem mainly the locals know and really worth it.
A few supermarkets are located in the center of the city. On Polsbroek shopping center there is a very large Albert Heijn (AH) supermarket. Worth a recommendation are the small grocercy stores run by Turkish immigrants; they import products from Turkey and are often much cheaper than regular supermarkets.
Zutphen is known as an alternative city. There are multiple 'alternative grocery stores' which offer a variety of organic food. The most important ones are the 'Gimsel', located in the Langehofstraat, halfway between the Wijnhuistoren and the new city hall, on the western side of the street, and the 'Coehoorn', located in the Nieuwstad quarter, between the Catholic Sint Janskerk (Saint John's Church) and the synagogue.
Zutphen is famous for its many small clothing stores. You can find them in all categories and in all price classes.
There are many restaurants in Zutphen in all price classes, ranging from fast-food restaurants (McDonalds) to expensive Italian restaurants. There are also Turkish, Italian, Egyptian, Chinese and Greek restaurants in the city. Many restaurants are located on the market square.
- Restaurant "'t Schulten Hues" situated at 's Gravenhof 5-7 is awarded a Michelin star of excellence.
- Close to the Wijnhuistoren (Whine house tower) lies the 'Volkshuis' (People's House), a small cafe ran by mentally handicapped people who work there in a specially guided environment. Their apple pies are world-famous, and the Queen highly recommended it as well.
The city is full of small cafes and bars, some of them open until the early morning hours. The atmosphere is usually friendly and relaxed. Many cafes can be found in the Nieuwstad quarter, in the small streets of the old city center and on the market square.
There is a new cinema that opened in 2007, (and a McDonald's) on the De Mars industrial area, north-west of the city center. It can be reached on foot easily by crossing the major rail-road crossing opposite the large lake north of the city center and just below the Hanzehof theater, or from the northern (back) exit of the railway station.
There are several hotels in Zutphen, mainly multiple star graded (*** and ****).
- Berkhotel (city center). A small three-star hotel in a beautiful building which is centuries old. It has a vegetarian kitchen and was awarded an award of excellence by the main hotel rating organization in Holland, the ANWB.
- Eden Museumhotel, 's-Gravenhof 6 (right opposte the majestuous Walburgkerk and the old city hall). The four-star hotel is situated in a beautiful building which was built during the 17th century.
- Huis 't Velde (just outside of Warnsveld, a few kilometers from Zutphen). A small 16th-century castle. It is owned and used by the National Police Training Institute and is used as the main conference center of Dutch police, and also houses the European Association of Police Academies. It offers luxurious rooms, primarily for high-ranking police officers visiting for seminars, but available for outside guests as well.
- Golden Tulip Resort (Golden Tulip Hotel Inntel), De Stoven 37, ☎ .
The local hospital is known as "Spittaal," and is located in the southeastern part of the city. It can be reached using public transportation: busses 80 and 82 will take you here (83 also, takes a while longer) in about 15 to 20 minutes from the railway station. The hospital offers all regular specialties (no neurosurgery or cardiothoracic surgery) and has an Emergency Department which is opened 24/7. All Dutch physicians speak English. For regular medical care which is not an emergency, you can also contact a regular family phyisician (GP); there are numerous in Zutphen. Ask for phone numbers at your hotel or pension. The emergency number in the whole country is 112 for ambulance, police and fire department. The hospital's phone number is 0575-592592.
- When you need a family physician outside of regular office hours, call the Central Family Physicians Center at 0900-2009000. The Center is located in the entrance building to the hospital and one or two family physicians are always on duty there from 17:00 to 8:00 and during weekends and holidays 24 hours a day. However, be sure to call ahead to arrange an appointment. The family physicians from the center also make home visits for those patients who are not sufficiently sick to require an ambulance, but cannot come to the Center themselves either.
The area around the city is highly varied.
In Eefde, a town next to Zutphen, you will find one of the largest inland stews in the country. Toward the north, in the direction of Deventer, you will find small towns, roads, forests and some farming. Toward the east you will find a highly varied landscape consisting of agricultural ground, farming, more small towns, and more small roads. To the south lies Doetinchem, a small town with which Zutphen shares a center-function for the surrounding villages, and to the west you will find the huge Veluwe National Park, consisting of a large forest spanning tens of kilometers in width (W-E) and circa one hundred kilometers in length (N-S).
Other towns and cities nearby, with distances:
- Arnhem and Nijmegen are 30 kilometers and 50 kilometers, respectively, to the south-west (4 trains every hour in both directions).
- Deventer is 15 kilometers to the north (2 trains every hour in both directions).
- Apeldoorn is 20 kilometers to the north-west (2 trains every hour in both directions).
- Hengelo is 40 kilometers to the north-east (2 trains every hour in both directions).
- Doetinchem is 20 kilometers to the south (difficult to reach with public transportation).
Summary of the train schedule from and to Zutphen
For the latest train times and prices in both Dutch and English, check ns.nl.
Trains arrive and depart around the whole and half hours in five directions. Only the main stations have been listed here; especially the local trains stop at more stations. (train schedules have changed since 7 December 2006, not updated yet)
- --:58 Fast Train (Sneltrein) to Dieren, Arnhem, Elst, Nijmegen, 's Hertogenbosch, Tilburg, Breda, Roosendaal (with connections to Antwerp, Brussels, Middelburg, Vlissingen)
- --:04 Local Train (Stoptrein) to Vorden, Ruurlo, Lichtenvoorde-Groenlo (Lievelde), Winterswijk
- --:04 Fast Train (Sneltrein) to Deventer, Zwolle (with connections to Leeuwarden, Groningen)
- --:05 Local Train (Stoptrein) to Brummen, Dieren, Rheden, Velp, Arnhem, Elst, Nijmegen
- --:06 Local Train (Stoptrein) to Klarenbeek, Apeldoorn (with connections to Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Schiphol)
- --:06 Local Train (Stoptrein) to Lochem, Goor, Delden, Hengelo, Oldenzaal (with connections in Hengelo to Enschede and Almelo)
- The same trains leave in the same directions 30 minutes later again, with one exception: the Local Train to Apeldoorn leaving at --:06 connects to a direct Intercity to Amsterdam and Schiphol, while the Local Train to Apeldoorn leaving at --:37 goes one minute later and connects to a direct Intercity to Amersfoort, Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam. Note that some trains go less frequently on Sunday mornings and on weekday and weekend nights; they leave only every 60 minutes then, instead of every 30 minutes.
- When using the Intercity services to and from Apeldoorn, note that these trains are split into two parts in Amersfoort or Utrecht.
- The trains leaving Apeldoorn at --:28 go to Amsterdam and Schiphol and usually consist of 3 trainsets of 3 or 4 cars each. This train is split up in Amersfoort (halfway). The two trainsets in front will go directly to Amsterdam Central Station. The trainset in the back will go to Duivendrecht, Amsterdam Zuid-WTC and Schiphol Airport. Be sure to be in the right part of the train! Ask the conductor or a fellow traveller if you're not sure.
- The trains leaving Apeldoorn at --:58 go to Rotterdam and The Hague and usually consist of 3 or 4 trainsets of 3 or 4 cars each. The front part goes to Amersfoort, Utrecht, Rotterdam Alexander and Rotterdam Central Station; the last part goes to Amersfoort, Utrecht, Voorburg, and The Hague Central Station. Again, be sure to be in the right part of the train! Ask the conductor or a fellow traveller if you're not sure.