Utrecht’s Old City Gates

Like any big city that was around in the middle ages, Utrecht took its safety seriously and build walls around the city center. The city had the added benefit of an encircling canal, acting a bit like a moat. There were only four entrances into the city and one of those was on the eastern side. The Wittevrouwenpoort (gate) stood where the Wittevrouwenbrug (bridge) now stands. Wittevrouwen (white ladies) refers to the cloister that stood nearby until 1710.

Last year, I’d heard they were installing a memorial plaque, but then never saw it appear anywhere. Early this month, while walking back from Biltstraat, I noticed the plaque on one of the bridge railing posts. I think it must be relatively new, or I’ve been incredibly blind for months. Either is possible. Anyway, the artwork is taken from this drawing of the gate done in 1646:
Wittevrouwenpoort te Utrecht door Herman Saftleven in 1646

The gate stood there, in one form or another, until 1858, when it was demolished. It was still there in 1813 when the Cossacks arrived into the city.
Wittevrouwenpoort te Utrecht in 1813 door Pieter Gerardus van Os

And here’s a view from the same direction today:
View from Biltstraat
Not quite as impressive, I’m afraid. The building on the right with the clock tower was built when the gate was demolished, in essentially the same spot at the gate stood. It served as a police station until 1980 and is now a lawyers’ office.

5 thoughts on “Utrecht’s Old City Gates

  1. Pingback: Getting a Peek Inside the Pope’s House | A Flamingo in Utrecht

  2. Pingback: Art Inspired by Utrecht’s Patron Saint | A Flamingo in Utrecht

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