The municipality of Zeist contains four towns aside from Zeist itself, these being Austerlitz, Bosch en Duin, Den Dolder and Huis ter Velde.
Zeist is known to have existed since 838. Zeist has been severely influenced in its development by its castle. Zeist grew steadily over time, and by the nineteenth century, when trains started allowing the rich to travel to the countryside, and build their estates and summer retreats there, Zeist started housing many of these people, and many estates and country retreats were built. Many of these were demolished in the twentieth century in favour of housing development.
Austerlitz is the more noteworthy of the town. It was founded in 1805, when Auguste de Marmont, general under Napoleon Bonaparte, let half of his army, some 18.000 men strong, assemble here, in what they referred to as Kamp d’Utrecht (Encampment at Utrecht). Many traders came from all over the country to trade with the encamped men. The army left at some point, but the traders stayed. During their say, the soldiers constructed the 36 metres (118 ft) tall Pyramid of Austerlitz. When Napoleon won the Battle of Austerlitz on December second, 1805, his brother, the later king of the Netherlands, Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, decided to name the pyramid after the town where the battle had been fought; Austerlitz (modern day Slavkov u Brna, near Brno, Czech Republic). The town soon adapted this name too. Louis Napoléon wanted to turn Austerlitz into a proper city, but never got around to doing so. Napoléon made the town a part of Zeist in January of 1812.
Zeist is tucked in between the A12 and A28 highways. The first one connects to Utrecht, Gouda and Rotterdam in the west and Ede, Arnhem and Oberhausen in the east. The A28 runs from Utrecht to Zwolle via Harderwijk and Elburg.
From Amsterdam, follow the A2 heading for Utrecht, where you turn onto the A12 heading for Arnhem after passing exit 8. Follow the A12 until you reach knooppunt Lunetten, where you switch onto the A27 heading for Hilversum, but take the next exit again, turning onto the A28 going to Amersfoort. Here, use exit 3 (Den Dolder) to get to Zeist.
Zeist doesn’t have a proper railway station of its own, but shares one with Driebergen, which is to the other side of the A12. 1 . From here, bus (direction: Zeist-Centrum) gets you to the city centre of Zeist. Alternatively, you could travel via 1 , but it has worse connectivity with Zeist, connecting only with bus (direction: Zeist Busstation), which runs from Hilversum to Zeist.