Alphen aan den Rijn is a municipality and also a town in the west of Holland. it has a population of around 73,000 and stands on the banks of the “Old Rhine”. The town is situated in the picturesque “Green Heart” of the country. This is an area that is more sparsely covered with towns and habitations than is the norm in the Netherlands.
The History Of Alphen aan den Rijn
Around 2,000 years ago the Romans colonized the area, but this was the limit of their empire. That meant that there were many soldiers stationed here and that there were fortifications built to keep out the raiders from beyond the wall. The romans built many buildings, including the first bridge over the Rhine. This continued for around 200 years until the mid 3rd century when raids by Germanic tribes drove back the faltering Roman Army.
The area around Leiden and Utrecht flooded extensively in 1122. This led to the damming of the Oude Rijn. This must have been effective as the river has not flooded at that point since the dam was built. In the 1600’s the town of Alphen grew wealthy due to the amount of trade that began passing through it and it was because of this that the town increased in size and status. At that time the Oude Rijn was used as a convenient transportation hub, for the movement of raw materials and also manufactured products.
It was not until the end of the First World War that the current municipality was formed, taking in the other municipalities of Aalanderveer, Alphen and Oudshoorn. During WW2 most of the Jews from the area were deported by the Germans and very few survived the war. After the war in the 1950’s the city started to grow quickly, and to cope with this new influx of people, large amounts of new housing were built. Again in the 1990’s when a new flood of people, mainly commuters, began to look for property in the area, more large scale developments were built.
The city has recently undergone a huge new modernization plan with many buildings, old and new, being swept aside for the modernization of the area. There has been, a new town square, a cinema, theater, and the upgrading of many shops and also the removal of traffic from the center of the city, making it much more accessible for pedestrians and shoppers.
Getting To And Around Alphen aan den Rijn
If you are flying into Amsterdam Schiphol Airport then you can get a train from Amsterdam to Utrecht and then change there for the service to Alphen aan den Rijn. As well as Utrecht there are also other services that arrive at the station from, Gouda, and Leiden. The bus terminal is behind the train station and many buses arrive and leave from there including the 370 from Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport. If you are traveling by car then you can take the A4 from Amsterdam to The Hague and Rotterdam and then take the N 207 to the city.
Traveling by car in Alphen aan den Rijn is not easy as the streets can be busy and there are no cars allowed, at all, in the center of the city. Traveling by bus is a good alternative and there are services to every part of town, Also the buses are quick and reliable. If you are traveling by bus then you will need an ov-chipkaart from the station to pay your fare. If you are not traveling too far then it is a good idea to rent a bicycle. They are cheap to hire and a great way to get around the city. If you would like to take a taxi, then you can find them at taxi stands near the station and at other busy area’s of the city. If you would like to book a taxi, then you can call one on, Taxi Gouwe Rijn, +31 172 764 376, or, Sediq Taxi, +31 6 16435636
Tourism In Alphen aan den Rijn
Archeon is an historical theme park. That contains nearly 50 buildings from past times in The Netherlands. It also has objects that were used in everyday living at the times that the buildings were used such as the Romans, the middle ages and also some from Pre-history. Korenmolen de Eendracht is a windmill from the mid 18th century. The windmill is only open on Saturdays. The Historical Society of Alphen aan den Rijn is in De Vergulde in the city center where they have their offices and also their exhibitions about past life in the local region. There is also a heritage shop on the site.
Shopping And Eating In Alphen aan den Rijn
Ridderhofstad mall is in the center of the town and is a well stocked shopping center, It has a good range of shops, including supermarkets fashion shops and even a designer outlet for quality clothes at much reduced prices. There are also cafes, if you need a break from your shopping and many interesting specialty shops to look around, and also many benches to sit on and watch the world go by. There are many other good shopping streets in Alphen aan den Rijn, such as St George street, Herenhof, and Van Boetzelaerstraat, where you can find some more local shops, such as boutiques and craft shops.
Alfred’s Diner is a great little restaurant serving French and Dutch food, it has an excellent location in the center of town and has helpful and friendly staff. The food is good, not only is it well prepared, but it is beautifully presented as well. Barista Cafe Aarkade, is a proper cafe and a great place for a good quick lunch. They serve fairly simple excellent quality fresh food and great well prepared coffee. They serve good sandwiches on fresh, crusty bread.
Alphen aan den Rijn is a busy little town with some great shopping and cafes, but also some fascinating old buildings and new developments as well.