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Dwaalspoor Utrecht

Quest through the present using pictures from the past

Swipe through old photographs and find your way through the streets of Utrecht. You’ll find that stately buildings and ancient trees are silent witnesses to historic events. We wish you a pleasant journey through time in Utrecht, but beware the horse-drawn streetcar!

Or read the tips and instructions below first 🙂

Introduction
Man has always been fascinated with time travel. As early as 1895, H.G. Wells wrote his famed book The Time Machine. In the 20th century, Marty McFly travelled back in time in Back to the Future.

A pleasant journey through time in Utrecht, but beware the horse-drawn streetcar!

You’ll find that stately buildings and ancient trees are silent witnesses to historic events.They saw Napoleon’s troops march by and they watched the first car cross the bridge. Who walked these same streets you’re walking right now a hundred years ago? 

How does it work?
Your quest starts at the Domplein square. You’ll dive into the past by closely inspecting the first photograph. Then look around to see if you recognize the picture in the present street view.

Pay close attention to historic façades, they often are useful markers in the cityscape. When you recognize something from the photograph you walk in that direction. At every crossing or junction you either get another photographical hint or you simply continue in the same direction.

The text accompanying each picture provides interesting anecdotes from Utrecht’s rich past and sometimes a useful clue for your quest. If you really get lost,  this map will help you out.

Practical information

  • The quest takes about 1.5 hours.
  • At every crossing or junction you either get another photographical hint or you simply con-tinue in the same direction.
  • Halfway along the route you walk past the Utrecht Archives. This is also the end point of the route. Here you will learn even more about the past of Utrecht.
  • You don’t have to walk the route in one go. You can end halfway when you pass the City Archives for the first time. From there you can continue the route another time.

Tips

  • You can also take pictures of the present street view from the same perspective as the historic photographs. In this way you create a new route with your own impressions of the present city. Maybe one day your grandchildren may walk this route.
  • Creative Agency Everybody Likes Penguins has also developed a free audio tour through Utrecht where the statues ‘tell’ their own story. Unfortunately this route is only in Dutch.

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