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Utrecht - The spiritual and profane old lady

The spiritual and profane old lady

(5 reviews)
Along the canals, Utrecht, Netherlands
45 mins

About the tour

About two millennia ago there was a Roman settlement at the location of present-day Utrecht. When the Romans lost power, activities and population disappeared, until in the early middle ages. English monk Bonifatius and his followers transformed the ruins into a base for the Christianization of Frisians, the inhabitants of the northern part of the Netherlands. This resulted in some baptismal ceremonies, in some serious violence inflicted upon the monks, and in many “signs of appreciation” (land donations) by worldly leaders. This explains the former wealth of the religious orders based in Utrecht, something still reflected in the high amount of churches and the impressive spire of the former Cathedral, the Dom church. Even the monks had to eat. That provided opportunities to a more profane population of butchers, bakers, retailers. The location of Utrecht along a waterway allowed shipping, which generated trade. The merchandise was stored in warehouses directly along the canals, below street level. Many of these places nowadays house restaurants and pubs. The many churches and the narrow streets still make one feel like being in a medieval setting. However, where the monks had to find their pleasures inside the walls of their monastery, we nowadays can be delighted by a walk along the canals and feel the positive vibe of a city endowed with a large student population and a good number of restaurants and bars. Utrecht combines the best of the past and the present.

Meet your local guide


After his graduation in social geography, just in between the big bang and the collapse of the Roman empire, Ton worked on a science program for children and on urban planning in Amsterdam. He found out that his happiest moments were those were the interaction was not with the keyboard but with people. This made him decide to make a living out of guiding. Initially related to urban planning and architecture, later on the scope became much wider: art, history, society. As a social geographer Ton always looks for the reasons behind present day reality: why was a town founded? Why did it grow, or not? Why such an enormous church or city hall in a small town? Ton's philosophy about life is rather simple. He believes the sense of being is Sharing LKW: Love, Knowledge, Wine.

Ton has been guiding since Mar 1994

What to expect

Get ready for something special. We're travelling to Utrecht with no passport, no plane ticket and no luggage. And yet you'll experience all the sights, sounds and stories with just your laptop, favorite snack and an amazing guide.

The tour will last about 45 mins and will be live-streamed by your guide directly from Utrecht. Forget about slideshows or pre-recorded videos, this is a live broadcast and anything can happen!

While on the tour you’ll be able to see a full screen video of your guide and their surroundings, interact with them and other travellers through the live chat, see where you are in the world on a map and show your appreciation with a tip.

Why are they tip-supported?

We are running these tours on a tip-supported basis to make them as accessible as possible. They are free to book and join, but you have the option to tip the guide during the tour.

Leaving a tip will help support the guides and allow us to offer tours in more places around the world. If you aren't able to leave a tip, then it would be great if you can share the tour with friends and family to spread the word.

See a tour in action

How to join

Reserve your spot by selecting a time to book. Once done, you’ll be able to see your reservations on your Trips page and we’ll send you an email confirmation with a link to join the tour.

For the best viewing experience, please join on a computer using Google Chrome.

Reviews from travellers

Cynthia (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) W.

20 March 2021

Great tour. Ton's tours are great. He has so much information and great sites to show.

Tasos K.

19 March 2021

Excellent tour

Patsy H.

19 March 2021

Lovely memories of Utrecht for me, have visited there many times as my grandparents lived there! My Mother worked at Winkel van Sinkel. We have been visiting my Aunt and Cousin in Utrecht each year for last few years but sadly not able to since Covid! So thank you for the memories!

Alena P.

19 March 2021

Wonderful knowledgeable guide. Looking forward to other of his tours.

Janet H.

19 March 2021

Very nice tour, thank you.

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