The Oudegracht is the most famous of the canals that runs through the city center. You can see the wharves down below street level, one of the factors that make the Utrecht canals so famous and so gezellig on a summer day. Unfortunately, the closest photo I can find to match up to this one is one that I took on an icy, grey day in December, with my phone’s camera, so it’s not the best. Still, you can see that not that much has changed in the grand scheme of things. Oh, and those white things in the water are swans!
The large building in the background on the left side of the canal is actually a castle, or a city castle, known as Oudaen. It was built in 1276, and has managed to stick around throughout the years, despite changes in ownership, bullets and cannonfire, and a few changes of purpose. It is now a restaurant/brewery/catering business.
Here’s a short video clip I came across that highlights the restaurant and brewery.