HomeTravelThe beautiful yet pretty unheard of European place named city of the...

The beautiful yet pretty unheard of European place named city of the year


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A beautiful yet largely unheard of European location has prompted shock after it won ‘European City of the Year’ beating out some of the continent’s most popular tourist destinations. Amersfoort in the Netherlands received the yearly accolade from the Academy of Urbanism in London despite having just 160,000 inhabitants.

And while the city located in the Utrecht region might not be at the top of the must-see lists for those visiting the Netherlands, it is packed with stunning historic architecture such as its medieval gate and Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe church tower.

Amersfoort is the official middle point of Holland and even has its own Amsterdam-style canal.

The reason for the city winning the prestigious award was its urban development and sustainability, with a team of scientists, politicians and specialists from the Academy of Urbanism visiting in September.

They evaluated how well the city was managed in sustainability and urban planning, before giving it top marks praising its success at innovative design, maintaining character and heritage and a great quality of life. 

They said the key drivers in Amersfoort winning the award were limiting car use and offering a bounty of affordable housing.

Those visiting the city can visit its “must visit” zoo, Flehite Museum which showcases local history and art, as well as the Dutch Cavalry Museum, housed in 475-year-old barracks.

The city is a haven for art lovers with a museum dedicated to the painter Armando, who lived in Amersfoort as a child, the Mondriaan House, which was once the home of painter Piet Mondriaan, and the Kunsthal KAdE modern art museum.

Amersfoort is also steeped in history, in 1928 it hosted the modern pentathlon events of the Olympic Games and was part of the Netherlands’ main line of defence during the Second World War and was evacuated ahead of the German invasion.

Those wishing to visit Amersfoort for themselves should book a flight to Amsterdam costing about £64 for a return ticket from Stansted Airport with Easyjet, before taking the train from Schiphol Airport to Amersfoort.

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