Amersfoort owes its name to the river Eem, which used to be called the Amer. The city was founded at a fordable place in the river, which still flows through the heart of Amersfoort. The city is also called Rock City ('Keistad'), after the enormous stone that is located in the city. The presence of this stone is the result of a wager. In 1661, a nobleman betted that he could persuade the people of Amersfoort to drag a large rock from the Leusderhei to the city, which they did. Afterwards, he treated them to beer and crackers. Amersfoort has a magnificent medieval center, with the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Tower (in popular parlance: 'Long John') as the main eye catcher.
The city has almost 140,000 inhabitants. In recent years, Amersfoort has grown enormously, because in the 1980's it was designated a growth city. Large new suburbs are witnesses of that. In 1985, the city only had 85,000 inhabitants.
Amersfoort is located in the center of the Netherlands, at 20 kilometers to the north-east of Utrecht and at 50 kilometers to the south-east of Amsterdam. The city is situated at the edge of the Utrechtse Heuvelrug. To the east is the Gelderse Vallei, and beyond that the Veluwe region.
At one point, Amersfoort had many beer breweries, but only one of them is left now, the Amersfoortse Stadsbrouwerij De Drie Ringen. These days, the service sector is the engine of the city's economy. More than a quarter of the population is active in this sector. The ICT sector also plays a role. A survey conducted by the city indicates that there also many 'creative' in Amersfoort: scientists, engineers, architects, television programme makers, journalists, musicians, designers, writers and artists.
The city has no airport, but it is located at only 60 kilometers from Schiphol. Small (business) planes can use Hilversum Airport, to the west of the city. This airport is used primarily for recreational purposes.
Public transport is provided by Stadsvervoer Nederland. There are 10 bus lines, which are especially important to the people who live in the suburbs. The center of Amersfoort is navigable on foot. All buses start at Amersfoort Central Station. There you will also find the regional services provided by Connexxion and BBA.
The city is a railway junction. Thanks to its location, the city has excellent railway connections to other major cities in the Netherlands. The international train from Berlin to Amsterdam also stops in Amersfoort.
Cyclists can park their vehicles in the center free of charge(!) and supervised.
Amersfoort is very accessible by car, at least outside morning and evening rush hour. To the north of the city is the A1 motorway (Amsterdam - German border), to the east is the A28 (Utrecht - Groningen). These motorways intersect at Hoevelaken junction. In the city itself it is also easy to find your way around, and usually it is not too busy.
A large part of the city center is open to pedestrians only. Around the center lies the so-called Stadsring, where you can park in the street, although that is fairly expensive. There are a number of car parks where it is not only cheaper to park, but also safer. The car parks are connected to the Park Route Information System. Road signs along the entry routes indicated how many spaces are still available in the various car parks.
Amersfoort has a limited number of hotels, but generally speaking hotel rooms will be available, except during events like the annual Kei festival and the international ATP tennis tournament.
For more information about Amersfoort, we recommend Google, and the following sources: