Zoetermeer is a city located in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands.
The first record of the city's existence dates back to the 11th century, when veen, a fuel for stoves, was harvested from the land.
In 1966, Zoetermeer was appointed to be an expansion area for the nearby The Hague. In 1962 the village had around 10 000 habitants. March 2008 brought the 120 000th habitant. Nowadays, the city is no longer a so-called satellite city of The Hague, but a city of its own. Locals sometimes jokingly call their city "Sweet Lake City", which is a literal translation of it's name.
Being set up as a commuter city, Zoetermeer has a very good infrastructure.
From the A12 highway, take the "Zoetermeer-Centrum", "Zoetermeer" or "Bleiswijk" exit. The "Zoetermeer-Centrum" exit/ramp is only accessible from/to The Hague, "Zoetermeer" also from Utrecht. Bleiswijk is a neighboring town who's exit gives easy access the the most recently build part of Zoetermeer: District Oosterheem.
From The Hague you can take the sprinter train to Gouda or Utrecht. Jump out at "Zoetermeer" or "Zoetermeer Oost".
Please note: The Intercity Services do NOT call at Zoetermeer Stations.
You can also take the "Randstadrail", which is somewhat a crossover of a light rail and a tram. This system runs throughout the city. It also connects Zoetermeer with the Hague, Rotterdam and Leidschendam.
Station "Zoetermeer" has a Randstadrail platform, a train platform and a bus platform. Station "Zoetermeer Oost" only has train and bus platforms. Station "Zoetermeer" is best served by these types of transport.
Zoetermeer has a excellent transportation system. The "Randstadrail" runs throughout the whole city. Parts that are not covered by it are easily reachable by bus.
When coming from The Hague or Utrecht you probably end up at "Zoetermeer" train station, part of "Mandelabrug" (Mandela bridge), which is also a bicycle/footbridge. You can walk across the footbridge to any other desired platform. You can find the Randstadrail, which can bring you to "Zoetermeer Centrum West". All buses depart there. You can also find the police station, shops and town hall a moments walk from "Centrum West". Some bus lines also service the bus platform of station "Zoetermeer".
You can buy a ticket on the bus from the driver: Note that this is quite expensive, between €2 and €4 for a one-way ticket! Like the rest of the Netherlands, all buses, trams and trains otherwise require a OV-chipcard. These can be bought at most train stations, kiosks and some supermarkets. The cost of a blank card is €7,50, after which you will have to top them up using special vending machines.
The "Randstadrail" has a ticket machine on board, but beware, they will only take coins. If you don't have any, or the machine is broken, walk up to the conductors as soon as they come in. If you are a foreigner, they will either let it be, or require you to buy a (more expensive) ticket with them. Probably the first option though.
Zoetermeer is not that much when it comes to sightseeing material. There are some, listed below, but the most interesting thing about Zoetermeer is Zoetermeer itself. Since it's truly a planned city constantly expanded over a 50 year span, it's a museum of ideals and concepts in it's own right. Every district is conceived and build in a different era, reflecting what was perceived as the perfect neighborhood structure at the time.
- The old church, Dorpsstraat 59 2712AD Zoetermeer (At the crossing of the Dorpsstraat/Vlamingstraat you can find the oldest church). With first constructions dating back to the 16th century, it's one of the oldest buildings in Zoetermeer. The Italian architect Guidici made the design in Classicist style. The church houses some nice antiquities, for example a Lodewijk XVI style pulpit. A sculpture made in 1664 by Harmannus Brouckman from nearby Leiden. edit
- Windmill de Hoop, Stationstraat 37a 2712HB Zoetermeer. In its present shape, it's been around since 1896. You can visit the windmill when the blue wimple (flag) is up or when it working. edit
- Stadsmuseum Zoetermeer (Zoetermeer City Museum), Dorpsstraat 7 2712AB Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 79-3164735, . A small museum about the history of the city with temporary exhibits. edit
- Watertower De Tien Gemeenten. A 45m watertower built in 1928. Not really interesting to see unless you have some special affection for them. edit
Zoetermeer likes to see itself as a fun city. Its possible to do some snowboarding or skiing, ice-skating, see movies, rockclimbing, do some rafting or white water canoeing.
- Snowworld, Buytenparklaan 30 2717AX Zoetermeer, ☎ 0900-766996753 (email@example.com), . The biggest indoor ski facility of Europe, here you can do some skiing and snowboarding. There is also a restaurant with a nice view on the piste. around €25,- an hour. edit
- Ayers rock, Buytenparklaan 14 2717AX Zoetermeer (Almost next to Snowworld), ☎ +31 79-3230323, . Indoor climbing, obstacle course, bow shooting, canoing, abseiling, minefield game... You name it. edit
- Silverdome, Van der Hagenstraat 20 2722NT Zoetermeer (Near the exit from A12 highway. It's on all the traffic signs), ☎ +31 79-3305000, . Mainly indoor ice skating, consisting of an 250m oval and an ice hockey platform. Also used for events. edit
- Attractiecentrum Zoetermeer, Wattstraat 20 2723RC Zoetermeer (Near Silverdome), ☎ +31 79-3426226, . Karts, lasergame, bubble football, bungee run, bungee soccer, mission impossible and many more. edit
- Dutch Water Dreams (!! Closed as of January 2015 due to bad maintenance), Van der Hagenstraat 3 2722NT Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 79-3302500 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Wild water course: March till November Saturday 11-19, Sunday 11-17, on other days depending on number of visitors. Flowrider: October till April Wednesday-Friday 11:30-20:30, Saturday 9:30-21:30, Sunday 9:30-17:30, May till September same hours and also open on Monday and Tuesday 11:30-17:00. Wild water course for rafting and canoeing. And "Flowrider", an artificially created 2 meter high wave for body boarding and flowboarding. around €30,- per hour. edit
- Utopolis Cinema, Oostwaarts 70 2711BB Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 79-3300366 (email@example.com), . Monday to Thursday: 12:00 to 22:00, Friday and Saturday: 12:00 to 22:15 Sunday: 10:00 to 22:00. The only cinema in town. Normal: €8,- Reduction: €6,50 (65+, students) Children under 12: €6,00 Sunday morning: €5,50. Movies more than 140min have a € 1,50 surcharge. edit
- Cultural venue De Boerderij, Amerikaweg 145 2717AV Zoetermeer (Next to station Voorweg-Hoog and Voorweg-Laag), ☎ +31 79-3211012, . Cultuurpodium De Boerderij is a venue mostly used for concerts but it is used for theater and comedy as well. Besides the big venue there's also a cafe sporting it's own stage. It also has practice rooms for amateur musicians. Check out the list of upcoming shows on it's website. edit
- JJ Music House, Van der Hagenstraat 34a 2722NT Zoetermeer, . Somewhere after noon to midnight. A well hidden small cozy music center, located in a public park together with sports facilities. It features four practice rooms for musicians and a main stage in a room suitable for around 150-200 visitors. See the list of upcoming shows on it's website. It's known for it's good sound, nice atmosphere and wide array of beverages to choose from. edit
Zoetermeer has an excellent shopping area called 'het Stadshart' (meaning city heart). It's easily reachable by public transport, just go to station "Centrum West".
It has the usual set of brands and shopping chains: H&M, WE, C&A, Primark, Hema, V&D, Xenos, Kruidvat, Apple store, Media Markt, etc.
Just a short walk from the Stadshart, you will find the Dorpsstraat. This is the oldest part of the city and offers a wide variety of specialty shops and boutiques.
There are a lot of small restaurants in Zoetermeer, these are just a few of the decent ones:
- Hoeve Kromwijk, Voorweg 133 2716NH Zoetermeer (Driving over the 'Voorweg' in the direction of the Westerpark you will see it at your right side when you go out of the Urban area), ☎ 079-3217498 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: 079-3217497), . +/- €28,- for a 3-course meal. edit
- Eten & Zo, Amerikaweg 1 2717AV Zoetermeer (Near station Voorweg-Hoog / Voorweg-Laag), ☎ +31 79-3200530, . Eten & Zo serves food from all over the world. It's a large restaurant with a different kind of food from a different part of the world in each corner. edit
- De Sniep, Broekwegschouw 209-211 2726LC Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 (0)79-3300980 (email@example.com), . Serves a varied menu depending on the season. edit
- Het Wapen van Zoetermeer, Zegwaartseweg 31 2723PA Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 79-7600055, . One of Zoetermeer's hidden treasures when it comes to cuisine. Bookable from 10 people onwards. edit
- Ristorante Romagna, Plaats 22 2711AW Zoetermeer (It's in the center of the Stadshart, near the police station), ☎ +31 79-3516131, . Romagna is an excellent true Italian ristorante, serving Italian food such as pasta and of course pizza. edit
- Selamat Datang, Dorpsstraat 100-104 2712AN Zoetermeer (It is in the main street of the old village, shouldn't be hard to find), ☎ +31 79-3167264 (fax: +31 79-3167564), . Selamat Datang is a nice example of remnants from the colonial history of The Netherlands. It serves Indonesian food. edit
- Aa-Zicht, Strand 1 2725KA Zoetermeer (It's at the beach of the artificial noord-Aa lake.), ☎ +31 79-3410420, . edit
- Sabra, Dorpsstraat 202 2712AR Zoetermeer (It is in the main street of the old village, shouldn't be hard to find), ☎ +31 79-3168295, . +/- €20,- for a 3-course meal. edit
Like restaurants, there are few pubs in Zoetermeer.
You will find some in the old centre (Dorpsstraat), mostly open at daytime.
Around the 'Stadhuisplein', there are some pubs (The Old Pal, Queen of Hearts, Vrienden).
These are opened until 2:00 a.m. in weekends, until 00.00 at weekdays (Sunday-Thursday)
It is strictly forbidden in the centre of Zoetermeer to have any opened cans, bottles, etc. containing alcoholic beverages. There is strict police enforcement and a fine will set you back €60.
There are some hotels in Zoetermeer, they mostly cater to businessmen. Here are a few:
- De Sniep, Broekwegschouw 209-211 2726LC Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 (0)79-3300980 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . Exclusive hotel. edit
- NH Hotel Zoetermeer, Danny Kayelaan 20, 2719EH Zoetermeer, ☎ 079-3610202 (email@example.com, fax: 079-3616349), . checkin: 23.00; checkout: 11.00. €80 per night. edit
- Bastion Hotel Zoetermeer, Zilverstraat 6 2718RL Zoetermeer, ☎ +31 79-3611071 (fax: +31 79-3611350), . checkin: 14.00; checkout: 12.00. edit
Alternatively there is:
- Palensteinerhof Bed & Breakfast, Zegwaartseweg 42 2722PP Zoetermeer (A 15 minute walk away from the Dorpstraat or Randstadrail station Palenstein), ☎ +31 79-3478274, . €30. edit
And there's couch surfing.,The community is quite active and sufficiently large.
This is also advised if you are having troubles finding a host in, for example, The Hague, since its only 20 mins by train or Randstadrail from downtown to downtown.
The international calling code for the Netherlands is 31. The netcode for Zoetermeer is 79.
The Dorpstraat and the Stadshart feature government-sponsored free WiFi. There's lots of wireless connectivity elsewhere too.
|Routes through Zoetermeer