Zeist - Raadhuis

Zeist is a town in the center of Holland in the province of Utrecht. It is also a municipality and has a population of about 60,000 people. It is near to the better known city of Utrecht

The History Of Zeist

Zeist or “Seist” was first heard of in the year of 836 . But then nothing much more was recorded until the end of the 1100’s when a small church was built there, near to a small river that, at the time, merged with the Rhine. The village must have been prosperous as three large houses, that were listed as mansions, were built near to the village at around the same time.

Slot Zeist
Slot Zeist

There was an original castle, (Kasteel Zeist,  built by Rodger van Zeist) in the area and it was known to have been lived in by a Knight called Godefridus and his family.

Later a woman called Elisabeth was thought to have been the last of the family line and she married into the family of Borre van Amerongen. She had a son, but nothing further was heard of him except that he took the name of his mother. At the end of the 17th century a building called Slot Zeist was built at the site and near the ruins of the original castle. It was built by Count Willem Adriaan van Nassau, who was a descendant, albeit an illegitimate one, of Prince Maurice of Orange. The building was decorated with some beautiful murals by a painter called Daniel Marot, which are in fairly good condition and still visible today.

Members of the Dutch Moravian’s, (an evangelical movement) moved to Zeist and built several grand houses in the area and their center is still in the town today. In the 1800’s, Zeist was popular with many well off people from the nearby city of Utrecht and this brought about a considerable upsurge in the fortunes of the town. In the 20th century there was a Dutch Air Force base near to the town that was called Camp Zeist. The Royal Dutch Football Association also has their base in Zeist.

Transport To And Around  – Zeist Netherlands

If you are flying into The Netherlands then it is probably best to get a flight to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. There is a train station in the airport and you can get a direct train to Utrecht from there in about 30mins. When you get to Utrecht you ca get a train from there, straight to Zeist. The train station in Zeist, is actually half way between Zeist and Driebergen and so is outside of the town. You can get direct trains straight from Rhenen, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Arnhem and Schiphol. If you change trains at Arnhem then you can also get to Zeist from Zwolle, Roosendaal, Zutphen, Cologne, Tilburg, Doetinchem, Deventer, ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Breda.

If you are driving to Zeist then you can hire a car from Schiphol Airport or central Amsterdam. Take the A2 to Utrecht Then take the A27 and A28 to Zeist. Probably the best way to get around Zeist is to take the bus. The bus station is behind the train station and you can easily get buses to all parts of town. If you are planning to use the buses then you will need an ov-chipkaart which is a small plastic card that you can buy from stations and top up with credit. Then, whenever you get on or off the bus, you tap the card onto the card reader and it will automatically deduct the right fare. If you want to hire a taxi, then you can call one on, Taxi Centrale Zeist, 030 69 11 4 88, or, Zeist Taxi, 030 7440 549.

Tourism In Zeist

Slot Zeist
Slot Zeist

Slot Zeist was built in the 1600’s by Willem  Adriaan as a place to relax and also to entertain his guests. There are large English style gardens and some beautiful walks. The Baroque architecture is very impressive and interesting. Inside there are some fabulous interiors and furniture to view and the whole place is decorated with lots of well preserved murals by Daniel Marot. It is well worth taking the guided tours that take place on Saturday and Sunday at 1:30pm, and 2:45pm. Zeist is in the Utrecht ridge, a National park consisting of hills, forests, villages and country estates. There is beautiful and extensive forest land outside of Zeist that can best be explored by bicycle or walking.

Shopping And Eating

Zeist has a good shopping center that contains most of the large Dutch stores that you would expect to see in any large town as well as some great independent shops that are local to the area. The center also has good facilities and cafes for when you need a break. If you go to some of the other smaller streets, such as Slotlaan and Voorheuvel, then you will find plenty of small designer clothes shops and craft stores.

Dell’ Italia is an excellent Italian restaurant in Zeist. The kitchen is in the center of the restaurant so you can actually see your food being made. The atmosphere is friendly and informal and the food is all made with good fresh ingredients. As well as the usual pizza and pasta dishes, there are generally some nice daily specialties. Good food at a reasonable price.

Restaurant Hermitage is a fine dinning restaurant that is housed in a well restored historic building. They serve good French and Dutch food and place a high value on presentation as well as flavor. The service is not overly formal as you might expect in this type of place, but they are friendly and helpful. The Theatre cafe is well located next to the local cinema. It is an unfussy place that serves simple, good food and great coffee. The service is quick and efficient and the food is tasty and not too pricey. A good place to go for a quick bite to eat.

Zeist is a simple Dutch town that is set in a beautiful location. The forest is a great place to relax and go for a good walk and the Slot Zeist is stunning and not to be missed.