Utrecht is a vibrant university city, located in the heart of the Netherlands. Utrecht has around 330.000 inhabitants, making it the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.
The city of Utrecht has a large student population of around 70.000 Dutch and international students. It boasts a University Medical Centre, the famous Utrecht University, as well as many schools of higher education. Around 50.000 students are being taught at the Utrecht Science Park, a green area east of the city centre, where large parts of the Utrecht University and Hogeschool Utrecht can be found.
Medieval City Centre
The Gothic-style Dom Tower (Domtoren) is a landmark in Utrecht. With its height of 112.5 metres it towers above Utrecht city centre. Other important features of the Utrecht city centre are the wharf cellars (werfkelders), built in the 13th Century. The wharf cellars were used for storing goods that were transported by boat. The wharfs connect together to form another street, this time almost at water level. Nowadays many of the old cellars have been converted into café’s and restaurants, and the quays provide a lovely place to sit on sunny days.
Living in Utrecht
Utrecht is divided into ten different neighbourhoods, each with its own character and varied type of accommodation, ranging from apartments in the historic city centre, to newly built family homes in Leidsche Rijn. It boasts both semi-detached and terrace houses in residential areas with heavy traffic restrictions (woonerven) in Lunetten and beautiful early 20th century town houses situated around the Wilhelmina park.
The villages surrounding Utrecht, like De Bilt, Bilthoven, Zeist, Maarssen, Nieuwegein and IJsselstein provide a good base for families, wanting to escape the hustle and bustle of Utrecht.
The bycicle (fiets) is the preferred mode of transport within the city of Utrecht. Parents transport their young children to and from school on carrier tricycles, students wizz through the city centre on ramshackle spray painted bikes and ‘Utrechters’ more often than not also load the weekly shop onto their bicyles.
The municipality of Utrecht has made a really good animated film about Utrecht, called this is Utrecht!