A visit to the Kromme Rijnstreek is certainly worthwhile if you're an admirer of castles and estates. The area between Utrecht and Wijk bij Duurstede is the home of knightly court towns and castles that were built from the 13th century onwards. Some parts were created later (for example the Amelisweerd and Rhijnauwen estates) or transformed into country estates or romantic castles.
Enjoy cycling or walking along the many routes through the beautiful scenery with castles and country estates in the Kromme Rijnstreek. An example is the 'Castle Route' available at the Tourist Office. This route leads you along the Langbroekerdijk and the neighbouring wetlands, a ribbon road past castles and mediaeval fortified dwelling towers.
Most of the castles and country estates are privately owned, meaning you can't visit them, or only to a limited extent. Only a handful of castles, country estates and villas have opened their gardens to visitors. Some of these can also be viewed inside, such as Huis Doorn on the border of the Utrecht Ridge and the Kromme Rijnstreek. Would you like to experience what it was like to live in the Middle Ages, but in a more luxurious style? Then book an overnight stay in a castle or estate converted into a hotel! It's also possible to get married at some locations or book them for business meetings. Ask about this at the Tourist Office.
The area between Odijk and Wijk bij Duurstede is the home of knightly court towns and castles founded in the mid-13th century. In the beginning, these consisted simply of fortified towers, but later, living quarters were also added. In the 17th century, some were transformed from castles with a military function to country estates, while others were transformed into romantic castles in the 19th century.
They are characterised by the economic function of the surrounding estates, which were run under mixed management on the basis of agriculture. This is in contrast to the country estates in the Vecht region, for example, which were created purely as status symbols. In order to visit, you must pay a small fee to the managers of the castles and estates in the Kromme Rijnstreek. In this way, they ensure continuity and the estates are often still in the hands of the original nobility.
A 'passport' was developed with which you can delve into the history of Dutch castles and estates. The 'Utrecht Castles & Estates' passport guides you through the unique locations in the province of Utrecht. From Woerden City Castle to Renswoude Castle, you can discover all the special stories of the participating sites. Which famous people once lived here, which guests have visited, where can you enjoy cycling and walking, and which events take place? With the unique registration number in the passport, you can keep track of the locations you've already visited! You'll also be kept up to date on new events and special activities at the locations in a special Castles Newsletter!
On presenting your passport, you can also get a stamp at six locations. Once your stamp card is full, you get a chance to win great prizes at one of the castles and country estates in the region! The passport is available at the Tourist Office and at the participating sites themselves.