It was a great two-and-a half year, Utrecht. There are good and bad memories. However, the best is all the people I have met and some have become great friends.
Utrecht is known as a student city. It is located in the heart of Holland and from where you can easily reach to other cities in the Netherlands. It might not be a popular destination for tourists as Amsterdam, but whoever comes here would wish to stay a bit longer. As I have lived here for almost two and a half years, I have experienced Utrecht differently. However, the impression for this city has remained the same – small but cozy (or the Dutch call it GEZELLIG).
What do I love about Utrecht?
The walk along the canal on Oudegracht street gives you the full Utrecht experience. It is not a long walk but it shows you everything Utrecht has – shopping, food, relaxation, fun, culture, etc. The walk could be different every time. It could be so relaxing because there are not many people on the street, or it could be so stressful because it’s full of shoppers. However, every time brings me a different feeling. What you see and experience is a lifestyle among the Dutch culture with a great touch of internationality.
Having a drink at Neude Square – Neude is the main square of Utrecht. In the evening, this place is a great place to chill out. It’s not touristic so you can fully experience how the Dutch hang out. You feel the atmosphere of the city’s liveliness and the ‘gezelligheid’. I could spend hours here chilling at the terrace and having drinks with friends. The place is packed when the weather is good, but even it’s cold, people still enjoy their cups of coffee outside (heater is provided, of course).
What can you do in Utrecht?
Visiting the Dom – Utrecht is well-known of its Dom tower, which is the tallest church tower in The Netherlands. It has become the signature of the city. The structure of the tower is absolutely stunning in ever angle. Many people have told me that you are able to see the Dom from anywhere in Utrecht. There are many locations that you could have the best view of the Dom. Oudkerhof Square is one of them, or have a close-up view at the Dom Plein. If you have a chance, you should definitely try to climb to the top of the tower. You will have a whole view of Utrecht and you might also see Amsterdam from here.
Shopping – In my opinion, shopping in Utrecht is not the best but you still can come home with tons of shopping bags. The diversity of shops is not so various, however, all the big brands are there. What I really enjoy shopping in Utrecht is the second hand shopping street. It’s on Oudergracht street.
Canal tour – You can see and know Utrecht a bit better by joining a boat tour or renting a canoe. Utrecht is surrounded by several canals so you shouldn’t miss the chance to experience it. Having a boat and taking it out when the sun is up are in the Dutch culture. You want to get closer to the culture, you gotta give it a try.
Visiting museums in Utrecht – Utrecht does not have so many museums but some of them are worth a visit. Centraal Museum Utrecht has a diverse collection of art works from different Dutch artists and designers who lived in Utrecht. It illustrates the history of the city. And if you have heard about Miffy or read its stories, you can find your childhood memories here in Dick Bruna House. It is a museum completely dedicated to Dick Bruna and his creation Miffy. (Nijntje in Dutch – ‘NAI-n-je’). Another museum I highly recommend is the Rietveld Schröder House. If you like architecture or design, you will enjoy how Rietveld created this house by playing with flexible space, colours and lines. It is said that it is the most influential domestic building of the early modern period.
Having beers at Kafé Belgie – It’s a popular place among both Dutch and international people living in Utrecht. Why? It’s just a cool place to hang out, meet people and drink lots of beer. Kafé Belgie has more than 200 different kinds of beer for you to choose from. I can guarantee that you will have good drinks and good fun there.
Chilling out – sometimes you should just enjoy the day walking around in the city. If the weather is nice, it’s your lucky day. The weather in The Netherlands is unpredictable so when the sun comes up, you should get the most out of it. You just need a good spot to sit down and chill out. Utrecht is definitely a great city to do so because it does not have too many tourists like Amsterdam so you won’t be bothered by the crowd.
De Streekmarkt Market (on first Sunday of the month) – If it happens to be the first Sunday of the month, you should drop a visit to De Streekmarkt (The Regional Market). It is where you can find all the original products coming from different countries or regions. They all look great and so interesting. Some are food, some are products. They all get your attention and they make your mouth-watering.
After living here for quite a long time, I have found Utrecht my home. There are so many lovely people that I have met and some have become my great friends. Utrecht has given me wonderful memories. All the parties, meet-ups, salsa parties, I am going to miss so much.
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