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Oudegracht Utrecht: Explore The Most Famous Canal In Utrecht

One of the best things to do in Utrecht is to visit Oudegracht (Old Canals)! You will be treated to a whole different vision of Utrecht if you explore it from the water. Here are facts and things to do in Oudegracht Utrecht for travelers.

Explore Oudegracht in Utrecht


The Oudegracht, or “old canal,” traverses the Dutch city of Utrecht. Southeast of the city is where it begins. The original moat of the fortified town is where the Kromme Rijn, the original main bed of the Rhine river, and the Vaartse Rijn, a medieval canal connecting Utrecht to the newer mainstream of the Rhine, the Lek, meet.

From there, the Oudegracht leads into the heart of the city. There is significant debate over exactly which portions of the Oudegracht do so, although they do follow the original course of the Rhine. The northern segment was probably a canal built in the early centuries (about 1000) to connect the Rhine section to the river Vecht. After the water level of the Rhine in Utrecht decreased due to the new dam at Wijk bij Duurstede, work on the southern portion was begun in 1122.

To lessen the likelihood of flooding, the excavated ground was utilized to raise the canal’s sides. When the city’s system of locks was completed in 1275, the water level remained constant, allowing the construction of new quays at water level and permanently dry cellars, which is how the typical wharves below the street level came to be. The canal was once lined with warehouses. Many of these warehouses have been transformed into eateries and coffee shops nowadays.

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Things To Do In Oudegracht Utrecht

Wander Around Oudegracht Utrecht


Many warehouses have been transformed into dining establishments, galleries, coffee shops, and residences. Unquestionably, taking a stroll along the Oudegracht, one of the Netherlands’ most stunning canals, is among the top things to do in Utrecht.

View the ornate tableaux, impressive trees, and historic wharfside facades of homes. Some of the trees are more than 200 years old. Additionally, look into the street for a time at the Haverstraat. You’ll see something extremely strange at the far end: a UFO sitting atop the De Inktpot building!

Drink or eat


These dock vaults now house many charming eateries and coffee shops with a waterside terrace. The ideal location to grab a snack or a drink after a fantastic day in Utrecht!

Take a boat tour


From the sea, you will see a completely different view of Utrecht. So, take a fantastic boat cruise. The history of Utrecht and its canals will be thoroughly explained by the tour leader.

In the spring, when the cow parsley is in bloom, a boat ride along the canals can be especially romantic. Couples should know they can take a romantic gondola ride around the canals of Venice.

Paddle a boat through the canals


Are you eager to discover Utrecht’s canals on your own terms? Afterward, get a paddle boat! From the boat, admire Utrecht’s lovely canals. A paddle boat journey is a great family outing and is also entertaining for kids as well.

7 Interesting Facts about Oudegracht Utrecht

Three distinct waterways run through the city


The Oudegracht, or “old canal,” runs through the heart of Utrecht, a city in the Netherlands, and there are three other canals. The Oudegracht runs through the entire inner city and begins in the southeast of the city. It is about 2 km long, 1.000 years old, and follows some of the ancient Rhine River flow. It is lined with numerous stores.

The old inner city is surrounded by the Stadsbuitengracht. Additionally, the most well-known canal in Utrecht is The Nieuwegracht, which is newer. It was constructed in the 1390s.

In the 1970s, portions of the recently restored canals were filled in to make way for automobiles

Then, in a referendum held in 2002, citizens approved a “master plan” for the city center that substituted water for roadways. However, in more recent years, the municipality has made a larger effort to discourage the use of cars and encourage healthy lifestyles, which has helped the cause.

In the 1970s, the rebuilt portion of the canal was filled in to provide access for cars to Utrecht’s commercial area. Boats may now cruise the entire 6 km path around the city center because the waterway now passes underneath an indoor shopping mall.

There are hardly any deep canals

Given that the canal walls are just 2 meters deep, a tall Dutchman of ordinary stature could virtually stand on the sides of the canals without having their head touch the water’s surface.

The depth of the canals in the center, where the largest ships pass, is about 4 meters. Every year, hundreds of bikes find their way into these canals and block the fairway for boats. To make room for the boats, the municipality fishes the bicycles out of the canals.

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There are numerous old wharfside homes’ facades


Along the canals, there are numerous ancient wharfside facades, carved tableaux, and other remarkable trees, some of which are more than 200 years old. The canals in Utrecht are considerably dissimilar from those in Amsterdam because of the numerous dock cellars.

The people of Utrecht decided to construct tunnels from the dock to the homes along the canal in the second half of the twelfth century. The city’s signature double docks were created as a result. These docks also vaults now house many charming eateries and coffee shops with a waterside terrace.

It is not permitted to swim in the canals outside of certain approved sites

Outside of a few approved sites, swimming in the canals is typically not permitted due to boating safety and hygienic concerns. Contrary to popular belief, the waters aren’t as dirty as they appear. The water in the country is far cleaner than it was in earlier times.

This has happened as a result of the work done by water management organizations like Waternet. The garbage and abandoned bicycles that are lying on the bottom of the canals present another risk to swimmers.

On the canals, a number of festivals and annual events take place


On and around the canals, a number of festivals and annual events are also held. For parties and performances on top of the canals on major occasions like King’s Day, floating scaffolds can be spread out across the water.

Other game buildings, such as floating obstacle courses and inflatable globes that you may sprint through the water in, may also appear. Boat tours and water sports like canoeing and rowing are among the activities available on the canals. With the majority of canal tours being provided by tour boats, canals continue to play a significant role in water management and shipping traffic.

To encourage greener living in the city, the Canals were restored

After decades of controversy, Utrecht has restored the “singel” canal that encircles the city in an effort to encourage greener living. The waterway now passes beneath an indoor shopping center, allowing boats to sail the whole 6 km journey around the city center. Utrecht also had canals to protect the city beginning in the 12th century.

One of the most popular and often visited tourist destinations in Utrecht and the Netherlands are the canals. Therefore, they have grown to be one of the most popular destinations and the foundation of Utrecht’s economy.

If you are in Utrecht, don’t miss the chance to explore Oudegracht. Through this article, we showed you interesting facts and things to do in Oudegracht Utrecht. Please give your feedback by leaving a comment below!

Read more The Best Small Canals In Amsterdam You Should Know

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