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Dordrecht is the oldest city in the Holland area and has a rich history and culture.
The name Dordrecht comes from Thuredriht (ca 1120), Thuredrecht (ca 1200). The name seems to mean 'thoroughfare'; a ship-canal or -river through which ships were pulled by rope from one river to another, as here from the Dubbel to the Merwede, or vice versa. Earlier etymologists had assumed that the 'drecht' suffix came from Latin 'trajectum', a ford, but this was rejected in 1996. The Drecht is now supposed to have been derived from 'draeg', which means to pull, tow or drag. Inhabitants of Dordrecht are Dordtenaren (singular: Dordtenaar). Dordrecht is informally called Dordt by its inhabitants. In earlier centuries, Dordrecht was a major trade port, well known to British merchants, and was called Dort in English.
Places of interest
- The Grote Kerk and one of the many canals (New Harbor)
- The Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-Kerk ('Our Dear Lady Church') or simply the Grote Kerk ('Big Church') was built between 1285 and 1470. The 65-meter tower contains a carillon with 67 bells including one weighing 9830 kilos, making it the heaviest bell in the Netherlands.
- The Augustijnenkerk ('Church of the Augustins') was built around 1293 and is currently owned by the Dutch Reformed Church. The church includes the Augustinian Monastery het Hof ('the Court') which was built in 1275 and was the location of the First Assembly of the Free States.
- The Nieuwkerk ('New Church') or St Nicolaas Kerk was built in 1175 and is, ironically considering its name, the oldest building in Dordrecht.
- The Munt van Holland ('Mint of Holland'), mint built in 1366. The majority of the coins used in the region of Holland in the Middle Ages were struck here. Nowadays, the building houses a music school.
- Kyck over den Dyck ('View over the Dike'), the last windmill in Dordrecht. It was built in 1612 and used to produce malt that was used by Dordts beer brewers.
- The Groothoofdspoort ('Big Head's Gate') is the original city gate of Dordrecht, built in the 14th and 15th centuries. It is situated at the point where the rivers the Meuse, the Merwede, and the Rhine meet.
- Arend Maartenshof (Arend Maarten's Court), built in 1625.
- Stadhuis city hall, built in 1383.
- Statue of Ary Scheffer (1861), by Joseph Mezzara.
- Statue of Johan and Cornelis de Witt (1918), by Toon Depuis.
- River quais.
- Merchant houses.
- Dordrechts Museum, informally called Schilderijenmuseum (the paintings museum). Every summer, its garden, known as de Museumtuin (the Museum garden), hosts the showing of several art house films that gained significant attention in the previous year. Re-opened in late 2010 after an extensive renovation.
- Simon van Gijnmuseum, named after honorary citizen Simon van Gijn and winner of the museum prize 2004-2005, awarded by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
- Nationaal Landschapskundig Museum, (National Museum of Landscaping)
- Lips Slotenmuseum, (Lips Museum of Locks) The museum has closed down and it is not known when or indeed if the inventory will be on display again.
- Museum 1940-1945, also known as het Verzetsmuseum (the Resistance museum).
- Naaimachinemuseum Dordrecht, (Museum of Sewing machines Dordrecht).
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