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Utrecht

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For other places with the same name, see Utrecht (disambiguation).
The Oudegracht. In the centre the Dom Church tower.

Utrecht [1] is a central Dutch city with a long history. With 316.448 inhabitants it’s the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. The agglomeration of Utrecht has 640.000 inhabitants. The history of the city goes back to 47 AD when the Roman emperor Claudius ordered his general Corbulo to build a defensive line along the river Rhine which was the northern most border of the empire. One of the strongholds (or Castella) along the river was built at a crossing in the river and was called Traiectum (which means crossingplace). In the local language this became Trecht, Uut-Trecht (lower-Trecht) and later Utrecht. On the place where once the castellum stood now stands the Domchurch built in the 13th century.

Utrecht is known as a student city with a large population of single young people. This results in a booming nightlife with many places to have a quick meal, some drinks or a dance.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Utrecht Central Station forms the hub of the Dutch rail network, and is easily accessible directly, or with one change of train, from almost every station in the Netherlands. For instance, there are direct connections from Amsterdam and Schiphol Airport (even at night), both taking 30 minutes and for about €8 one-way. The high-speed train ICE to Cologne, Frankfurt and Basel stops in Utrecht. It also has daily night train (Euronight/CityNightline) connections to Berlin, Copenhagen, Prague, Warsaw, Zurich, Munich and Innsbruck (seasonal). You can book tickets for the night trains on www.nshispeed.nl or www.db.de. ICE tickets are also available from the ticket vending machine on the train station.

The train station is located at the western edge of the old city. A 5 minute walk through the Hoog Catharijne shopping center (follow signs to “Centrum”) will take you from the station to the old city. You can also take a bus from the bus station next to the station: Utrecht CS Centrumzijde

By bus[edit]

The bus station is located next to the train station. International and some regional buses depart from the western side of the train station ('Jaarbeurszijde'), while most regional and all city buses depart from Busstation CS Centrumzijde at the east side of the train station. Regional buses are much slower than the trains. U-OV [2] provides public transport services in the city of Utrecht and the region around. Some other companies run long distance connections: Veolia [3] ('Brabantliner' to Breda and Oosterhout), Arriva [4] and Connexxion [5]. Journeys by all means of public transport in The Netherlands can be planned at 9292OV [[6]] (English).

By car[edit]

If you are coming in by car, park your car in one of the many parking garages around the city (follow the signs) and walk from there. Electronic signs display the number of parking spaces available in any given lot as well as directions to the lot, and if the sign says Vol it means the lot is full. Expect to pay around € 2,60 per hour at any of the garages in the center. Parking on the curbside is also possible, but even more expensive. Expect to pay € 4 to € 5 an hour in advance at the meter. Parking fines are around € 70 and frequenty enforced, so make sure to get back to your car before the ticket expires. It’s best to avoid driving into central Utrecht. Instead, leave your car at the city perimeter and take a bus or tram into the center.

There are 4 transferiums (also called P+R): Westraven, Uithof (open from 1 october 2013), Muziektheater and Papendorp. You can park your car at a flat rate of € 4,50 per day, including transit to the city center by bus or tram for up to 5 passengers. All of the transferiums are close to the highway (location information can be found [7]) and open from early morning to 01:00 at night. Transferium Westraven is on the southern side of the city, very close to the A12 highway exit number 17. The Nieuwegein-Utrecht tram line has a stop at this transferium and departs 8 times an hour daytime, 4 times an hour evening and weekends. Going back you can take a tram bound for either Nieuwegein or IJsselstijn, the last one departs at about 0.30 AM. Transferium Papendorp is near the football stadium, and connected to the city center by bus. Frequency of the bus service is comparable to that of the trams.

By tram[edit]

Utrecht is connected to two neighboring towns by a high speed tram line. At the edge of the city, close to the A12 and A2 motorways, you will find Transferium Westraven [8]. It's a good idea to park your car there and to take the tram into town. The high speed tram terminates at Utrecht Centraal Station. You will need to go through the Central Station to get to Hoog Catherijne shopping center and the inner city.

€4.00 will allow you to park your car all day and to travel into the city with a maximum of five people. Visiting Utrecht by car doesn't come cheaper than this.

Get around[edit]

pedestrian street

Walking is the easiest way to travel in the city of Utrecht. The center is very compact compared to the other large Dutch cities, with almost all points of interest being within walking distance to each other (the only major exception being the Rietveld-Schroder house). To use the public transportation in the Netherlands, it is recommended to buy an OV-chipcard. There is no separate OV-chipkaart for tourists. As a tourist you will purchase an anonymous OV-chipkaart or a disposable OV-chipkaart. You will purchase either card at the counter for a public transport company, the device at the station, at a newsagent or at a supermarket. The OV chipcard is valid for bus, train and tram and works like a debit card that you must first charge with an amount.

By bike[edit]

Using a bike is an easy way to travel in the city center if the weather is on your side, but can be dangerous for inexperienced cyclists. There are many bicyleshops located near the train station where you can rent bikes. Do make sure that you have good locks on your bike, as bike thefts are unfortunately quite common in the city centre. Also it's a good idea to make use of the free bike parking areas provided by the city council. They are usually guarded and are a safe place to park your bike. Routes can be planned with a bike route planner [9], that also shows bike parkings, bike shops and much more. Also recommended is to do a guided bike tour. There are several companies offering a city tour.

By bus[edit]

A good alternative is taking the bus, which goes often and will take you nearly everywhere. Utrecht Centraal Station serves as the main bus hub for Utrecht as well as the main train hub for the Netherlands. Most buses run from early morning (around 6am) until just after midnight.

In addition, there are several so-called nightlines [10]. These cost 5 to 6 euros and can’t be paid for using strips or chipcard.

By tram[edit]

In Utrecht there is a tram line from central station to southern suburbs Nieuwegein and IJsselstein. For tourists, only the the first stops will be interesting, Westplein and Graadt van Roggeweg. These are located next to the Turkish neighbourhood and the main convention centre respectively.

By car[edit]

Seeing Utrecht by car is not recommended. The city planners have made it as difficult as possible to navigate the city center, to try and discourage cars there. Driving around can be frustrating as the center is fraught with bus-only lanes, one-way streets, traffic lights and terribly expensive parking spaces. If you want to come by car it is recommended to park at one of the P+R (Park and Ride) [11] places, and take a cheap shuttle bus or tram service into town. There are also several parking garages closer to the center, but they are more expensive.

See[edit][add listing]

City centre[edit]

De Dom at Dawn
  • Dom church [12], Domplein, open Mo-Fr 10am-5pm (October-April 11am-4pm), Sa 10(11)am-3.30pm, Su 2pm-4pm. The Gothic Dom church (built between 1284 and 1520) is the major religious building in the city. When a hurricane hit the town in 1674, the badly constructed nave collapsed, which is the reason that today the Domtoren (Bell Tower) and the church itself are separated by the Domplein (Dom Square). The interior of the church was stripped of all sculpture during Reformation, but its exterior remains a lavishly decorated example of Dutch Gothic architecture.
  • 112 meter tall Domtoren [13] is the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Climbing up the stairs to see the magnificent view on the top is highly recommended, but beware of the narrow, steep stairs. On clear days you can look as far as Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Open daily, climbing of the tower only through guided tour, admission charge.
  • Next to the Dom church, the cloister garden is ideal to sit down and relax, and listen to a Saturday morning carillon concert.
  • Between the church and the tower at Dom Square is the entrance to DomUnder [14], an underground interactive exibition under the Square between the stone remains since Roman times.
  • In addition, due to being the Netherland's centre of catholic religion for centuries, many very old churches (19+) are scattered around the city centre. You'll find a list of them at the Dutch Wikipedia.
  • Oudegracht – A canal going through the heart of the city, with shops and restaurants on both sides. This canal is unique because of its many picturesque cellars on water level. Centuries ago they were used for storage and commerce. Nowadays, many of them host fine restaurants and pubs. In the summer you can find nice terraces at the water here. A poem in the pavement runs along Oudegracht (from house number 279 onwards): the 'Letters of Utrecht' [15]. Every Saturday at 1pm the next letter is hewn from the next stone and added to a poem without end. Year markers for the coming decades and centuries up to 2300 are embedded in the pavement further along.
  • The Vismarkt (Fishmarket, a lovely street in the plain centre).
  • Stadsschouwburg [16] Lucasbolwerk 24, the city theatre. Almost all theatre performances are in Dutch, but there are also dance and music performances. There are two halls inside the Stadsschouwburg, the Douwe Egberts Zaal (Douwe Egberts Hall) and the Blauwe Zaal (Blue Hall). Students can buy tickets 30 minutes before the start of a show for a reduced fee (€9 for shows in the Douwe Egberts zaal, €7 for shows in the Blauwe Zaal), provided the show is not sold out yet.
  • The City Hall [17] Korte Minrebroederstraat 2, close to the Oudegracht, has a rather unique look.
  • Close to the city hall is Theater Kikker [18] Ganzenmarkt 14, a small theatre. Every month they have a Kikker Koopje, a performance by budding artists for €7 [19].

Architecture[edit]

Rietveld Schroder House
  • The defining building of Utrecht is the 13th century Domchurch, part of a larger cathedral which was partially destroyed by a severe storm while under construction. The main tower is the highest building in the city by municipal mandate.
  • De Uithof, which is the campus of Utrecht University on the outskirts of Utrecht, near the stadium of FC Utrecht. De Uithof is a strange mix between grey concrete buildings and an increasing number of buildings designed by famous modern architects, like the Educatorium [20] designed by Rem Koolhaas, the University Library [21] and the Minnaert building [22]. There is also a beautiful botanical garden [23] that stretches over 8 acres and houses 6 thousand different sorts of plants. Also worth a look: the bicycle track at the Heidelberglaan which is broad enough to function as a two-way car-track.
  • The Post Office is an outstanding and surprising building. The Utrecht main Post Office (in use as such from 1924 until 2011) is a great example of Dutch Art Deco architecture. The Post Office, located on the Neude Square, was designed by the architect J. Crouwel and completed in 1924. The barrel-vaulted ceiling is made up of glazed yellow-brick ribs alternated with diagonal glass panes that fill the hall with natural light. The black-and-white floor is set off by five carved black statues set in the walls, each representing a continent. America is a stylized American Indian with two buffalo's at his feet. Over the main entrance are magnificent stained glass windows.
  • Rietveld Schröder House Prins Hendriklaan 50 Tours organised by Centraal Museum for €16, which includes travel from Centraal Museum, Entry to Museum, Tour of House and Rietveld designed apartment, and a tea/coffee at museum. See website [24] for full details. The Rietveld-Schröderhuis, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, was built in 1923-1924 in Utrecht. The structure of the house matched completely with the ideas of the art movement De Stijl (The Style). The house was designed and built for Truus Schröder-Schräder, who lived there from 1924 till her death in 1985. It can only be visited under supervision of a tour guide. In 2000 the house was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • The Stadsschouwburg Lucasbolwerk 24 was designed in 1937 by the famous architect Willem Dudok.
  • The Inktpot is an eyecatcher, seen when arriving by train. This is the biggest brickstone building in the Netherlands. Currently headoffice of ProRail. ‘De Inktpot’ is at walking distance from the ‘Utrecht Centraal’ train station. When leaving the station, walk in the direction of Hoog Catharijne/Centrum. About 400 metres into Hoog Catharijne, go right towards Godebaldkwartier. Follow the walking route to the exit of Moreelsepark. You will see ‘De Inktpot’ about 150 metres from this exit at the right hand side of the park.
  • In 2014 the new centre of music TivoliVredenburg[25] was opened. It houses five concert halls of different size, shape and atmosphere, designed by different architects. All musical styles are expected.

Museums[edit]

Most museums are situated in the "Museum Quarter" at 10 minutes walking distance from Central Station.

  • Centraal Museum, Nicolaaskerkhof 10, [26]. 11-17, closed on mondays. The oldest municipal museum in the Netherlands. It has a large art collection including the world’s largest collection of Rietveld designs and a permanent exhibition on Dick Bruna. There are usually several temporary exhibitions as well, an overview of which you can find at their site. €9. (52.083607,5.125487) edit
  • Museum Catharijneconvent, Lange Nieuwstraat 38, [27]. 11-17. a large collection of historic Christian items. €11.50. (52.210973,5.122375) edit
  • Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum, [28]. Tue-Sun 10-17. the Dutch Railway Museum. It reopened in June 2005 after a intensive renovation. It is possible to go directly to the Spoorwegmuseum from centraal station with a special train. €16. (52.089329,5.13068) edit
  • Money Museum, Leidseweg 90, 3531 BG Utrecht, +3130-2910492, [29]. Museum about money: history, culture, greed, saving, gambling, loans and money frauds.You can see Dutch Euro's being print (from behind glass). Not all exhibitions have Englisch information cards.  edit
  • Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement, [30]. a surprisingly pleasant museum on all kinds of mechanical music, including carillon clocks, musical boxes, pianolas, belly organs and much more.  edit
  • Aboriginal Art Museum, [31]. a fairly large museum dedicated exclusively to Aboriginal art.  edit
  • Moluks Historisch Museum, [32]. museum on the history of the Moluccas.  edit
  • Utrecht Universiteit Museum, [33]. the museum of Utrecht University.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Enjoy the nightlife
  • Have a drink at one of the terraces at Neude or the lower docks of Oudegracht
  • Climb the Dom tower, a full 112 meters high. You can climb to near the top.
  • Take a tour with a boat through the canals
  • Take a bicycle tour through the old city centre
  • Rent a canal bike and pedal your own way around the canals. [34]
  • Try a locally brewed beer at Stadskasteel Oudaen [35], which is a 13th century city castle turned restaurant.
  • Walk a route trough the city center. The routes sold for €3 by the tourist information center (located in front of the Dom tower) explain the history of buildings and shows unexpected beautiful spots in Utrecht.
  • The Wilhelminapark, Park Lepelenburg or the Julianapark are nice places to chill out in summer.
  • Trajectum Lumen - an exploration after dark, which follows artistically lit locations throughout Utrecht’s historical city centre. Since its launch in the spring of 2010, an increasing amount of light artworks have emerged along the route. Together, they illuminate this city’s past and present in spectacular fashion. [36] (Mobile apps with a map are freely available for Apple and Android)
  • Utrecht Free Tours, That has tours starting at the Domsquare, next to the Dom tower, (), [37]. Every saturday 12:00 - 15:00. See Utrecht through the eyes of locals, taking you through 2000 years of history. The tours are really free, voluntary donations only.  edit

Cinemas[edit]

  • Watch a movie at one of many cinemas. With the exception of some animated movies (and even those are usually available in the original language as well), all movies are subtitled and not dubbed, so you should be able to enjoy all the standard Hollywood fare in the original English.
  • As any large city, Utrecht has its share of cinemas showing Hollywood movies. More interesting are the three independent cinemas: Louis Hartlooper Complex [38], 't Hoogt [39] and Springhaver. These specialize in art house movies and also are ideal places to get a drink or have dinner.

Festivals[edit]

  • 27 April: Koningsdag [40] Visit the festivities for the Dutch king and the royal house, starting on the eve before from 18:00 sharp. Flee market all over the city center, music and other performances(dress code is bright orange).
  • June: International Chamber Music Festival [41], supervised by internationally famous violinist Janine Jansen.
  • July: Festival De Beschaving (Civilisation Festival) [42]
  • July, last two weeks: The Parade [43], a yearly open air festival with theatre, comedy, dance, music and much more.
  • July: Summer Darkness [44], international goth festival.
  • August, last weekend (10 days on): The yearly Utrecht Festival of Old Music, called Festival Oude Muziek [45] brings to Utrecht some of the best artists in the world of authentic performance, but reserves some space for future talent as well. Concerts of all sizes are scattered over some of the city's most beautiful churches, with major performances held at TivoliVredenburg (central lounge and tickets) and the old Dom Church. There are over 60 free 'fringe' concerts and a set student price. During the rest of the year lots of concerts are held everywhere in The Netherlands.
  • September, second week: Gaudeamus Muziekweek [46]. This is the internationally celebrated annual festival for young composers and new music. Apart from the annual festival they also organize a monthly series of new, contemporary music.
  • September, second half: Dutch Movie Festival [47]. For ten days, Utrecht is the Mekka of the Dutch film.
  • November (2014: 20-23): Le Guess Who, the indie rock festival [48], in TivoliVredenburg, Tivoli De Helling, Ekko, DBs and other locations.

During the year several Culturele zondagen, cultural sundays [49] are held. Connected by 'culture', they have a wide variety of themes and activities as well as locations.

Learn[edit]

  • Utrecht University [50], which has just celebrated its 375th anniversary, has developed into one of Europe’s largest and most prominent institutes of research and education. With 49 Bachelor’s programmes and 109 Master’s programmes in English, Utrecht University offers the broadest spectrum of English language disciplines available in the Netherlands and innovative research and liaises with universities and research centres all over the world. Recently ranked the Best University in the Netherlands, the 4th best University in Europe, and the 39th best in the world. Utrecht University has been home to many prominent academics, among whom Buys Ballot, Donders, Rudolf Magnus, Van Unnik and Freudenthal. Currently Nobel Prize Winner Gerard ’t Hooft (1999) is affiliated to the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy.

Work[edit]

A ton of service positions exist in the ancient city centre. However, they usually have low wages and require fluent Dutch and a work permit.

Buy[edit][add listing]

Most shops are located in the city centre, concentrated around the Oudegracht, Vredeburg and Neude. There is also a large shopping centre extending east from the city centre in the direction of the Wilhelminapark. For general shop info and their openings hours you can visit openingstijden.nl [51] it shows an overview of the most popular shops.

  • Hoog Catharijne, [52] is a large indoor shopping area connected to the central hall of Utrecht Centraal Station, the main railway station of Utrecht.
  • Books. Broese Boekverkopers [53] is a large bookstore at Stadhuisbrug 5. They have a fair selection of English books. Bijleveld [54] at the Janskerkhof is an old bookstore with beautiful wooden show windows. And last but not least de Rooie Rat [55], at Oudegracht 65 (next to Augustine's church), which is the oldest collectively run political bookstore of the Netherlands.
  • Music. Plato [56] at Voorstraat 35 has a fair selection at reasonable prices.
  • Markets. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays there is a large open air market on the Vredenburg square. On Saturdays you can find a plant market on the Janskerkhof and a flower market on the Oudegracht. The Breedstraat houses a large fabric market (lapjesmarkt) on Saturdaymornings (09:00-13:00).
  • At Stationsplein 7 there is a give-away shop, open Tuesdays 14:00-18:00 and Saturdays 14:00-17:00.
  • El Beso, [57] At Nobelstraat there is an excellent Wine, life and style shop, called El Beso (Spanish for Kiss). On Saturdays you can just walk in and try a wine, no buying obligations. International crowd.
  • Cannabis. Several so called "coffee shops" in the city centre offer hash and marijuana products. Due to recent legislation it's not allowed to smoke inside.

Geek gear[edit]

There are half a dozen stores at the part of the Oudegracht (Old Canal) south of De Dom that sell board games, card games, wargames, roleplaying games, fantasy and science-fiction books and/or comics (ie. Piet Snot, Elf Fantasy, the Joker and Neverneverland). Keep your eyes peeled; some of these stores are easy to miss.

  • Blunder [58] has a large collection of “mainstream comics” on street level and an even bigger collection of the newest American comics and Manga/Anime in the basement. The address is Oudegracht 203.
  • Piet Snot [59] is a normal comic shop. They also have a big collection of second hand comics. Vismarkt 3 (It’s a small part of the Oudegracht that for some dark reason has been given a different name...)
  • Strip & Lectuurshop [60]. Lots of comics located at Oudegracht 194
  • Labyrinth [61] is all about fantasy games. They have furniture, weapons, clothing, jewelry and lots of roleplaying books. It is located at Oudegracht 207.
  • The Joker. Games, games and (much) more games. From your normal family games to the German type games and the American wargames and everything in between. They also have lots of Collectible Card games and scenariobooks for RPGs. In the basement it’s possible to play the games. It is located at Oudegracht 230a.
  • Neverneverland, like The Joker, has a large selection of boardgames and RPGs. It is located at Oudegracht 202.
  • Subcultures [62] is well... about subcultures. Specialized in miniature wargames, RPGs and designer toys. The address is Oude Gracht 194, but the store is a werfkelder. This means that when on street level you have to take the stairs down to the canal.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Many restaurants can be found in the city center. Especially near the canals there is a huge choice of places to eat, each with their own style of kitchen, like Italian, Thai, American, etc. Ask the locals or check [63] for which places are recommended as not every restaurant offers the same quality.

  • Cafe 't College, Mariastraat (Close to the dom), 030 2319136, [64]. mo: 10am-7pm,tu-th:10am-01am,fr-sa: 10am-2pm,su 12am-7pm. Cozy jazz-blues restaurant with good simple food: steaks, salads, sate. The kitchen closes at 9pm, but you can get bitterballen, spring rolls, etc. after that. main: €14.  edit
  • Stadskasteel Oudaen [65], at Oudegracht 99, is a 13th century city castle turned restaurant.
  • There are several Flemish snack bars outside of Hoog Catharijne that sell wonderful thick fries with mayonnaise. Try it; it’s not as bad as John Travolta’s character seems to think in Pulp Fiction.
  • Bigoli, Schoutenstraat 12. Serves delicious italian sandwiches. Be prepared to wait in line at lunch time though. €3-5.  edit
  • Broadway, Oudegracht aan de werf 139, +31 30 2312643, [66]. is an excellent spare ribs restaurant. mains €15–20.  edit
  • Luce, Visschersplein 75, +31 30 2333008, [67]. is a hip and trendy restaurant. Very trendy atmosphere with exclusive and delicious food. mains €–.  edit
  • For cheap tapas go to El Mundo at Voorstraat or Mimadre at Oudkerkhof.
  • To try something dutch visit one of the snackbars and order a Kroket. A good one is behind City Hall, it is called Broodje Plof. A lot of Dutch people visit this place after a good night of binge drinking.
  • For a more multi-ethnic view of Utrecht, walk away from the old city from the bus station/central station, walk under the train tracks, and follow the bus route (straight ahead) about 200 meters. Try some affordable rotisserie style chicken on the left side of the Kanaalstraat, get a Moroccan style bagel across the street at one of the many middle eastern bakeries, and stock up on way-affordable (the cheapest in Utrecht) fruit and veggies at one of the many produce markets.
  • ACU, Voorstraat 71, [68]. In this squatters cafe cheap vegan food is served on tuesdays, wednesdays, thursdays and sundays.  edit
  • Da Rosa, Rivierenwijk, call for details, 0685503134, [69]. In this cozy chic livingroom restaurant food is served only by advanced reservation. You could try a lot of typical italian dishes completely veganized for you: lasagna, parmigiana, tiramisú.  edit
  • El Greco, Ganzenmarkt 28. This greek snackbar serves some of the best pita gyros sandwiches in Utrecht. (52.092442,5.119937) edit
  • Mario, Oudegracht 130-132. This place sells Italian rolls in Utrecht, simply called Broodje Mario. They are famous among people from Utrecht; there's even a rap song about it by the local band Stropstrikkers. €3.  edit
  • De Oude Muntkelder, Oude Gracht a/d Werf 112, +31 30 231-6773, [70]. 12:00-21:00 daily. Traditional Dutch pancake restaurant. They have a lovely setting beside the small canal. They have a wide varieties of pancakes, even quirky ones like the Norwegian pancake. On Mondays and Tuesdays all-you-can-eat pancakes for students for only €10,50. €10-15.  edit
  • Indonesia Asli, Biltstraat 56-58. mo-sa 12-20. Authentic (ie, spicy) Indonesian restaurant and take-away. The Nasi Semoer Tahoe is great value (€ 4,25). €4,25-11.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

As the population of Utrecht contains a lot of students, naturally there are a lot of places where you can spend the day or night having some drinks and a dance. Most are located in the city center. Main hubs for drinks are Neude, Janskerkhof, Mariaplaats and Ledig Erf.


Drinks[edit]

  • The terraces at Neude, Janskerkhof or Ledig Erf
  • The lower docks near the canal Oudegracht
  • The cafe's at the street Lucasbolwerk
  • Wijncafé Lefebvre - wine bar. Neude 2. [71]
  • Havana - Club / restaurant / dancing. Oudkerkhof 29. [72]
  • Filemon & Baucis - dancing. Janskerkhof 22 [73]
  • Mick O' Connells - irish pub. Jansdam 3. [74]
  • Stairway to Heaven - is a large rockcafe at Mariaplaats 11-12. [75]
  • Olivier at the Achter Clarenburg. A Belgian cafe with some thirty beers. Located in an old church.
  • Theatercafé De Bastaard [76], Jansveld 17. Students, artists, the occasional local celebrity. There is a pool table in the back.
  • Jan Primus, Jan van Scorelstraat 27 - 31. It’s a little out of the centre of the city near the Wilhelmina Park. No music, no slot machine, no nothing. Just 160 beers. 10 draught and 150 bottled.
  • Klein Berlijn Briljantlaan 5 A, located next to Tivoli "de helling" club serves drinks and some food in a german beergarten styled environment from 12 am to 12 pm. In summer the terrace next to the water is very nice.

Oudegracht[edit]

The Oudegracht is home to a lot of bars, both in- and outdoors, and both at street and at water level. From north to south:

  • Stadskasteel Oudaen, Oudegracht 99, +31 30 231 1864, [77]. is a 13th century city castle turned restaurant. They have their own theatre and more importantly their own brewery, where they brew the local beers Ouwe Daen, Jonge Daen en Linteloo Gold. Highly recommended.  edit
  • De Witte Ballons, Lijnmarkt 12 (On the west side of Oudegracht, halfway the city center. From the Domplein, walk under the Domtoren, straight ahead, over the Oudegracht, first left, on your left after 20 metres), 030-2311056. is a small and cosy café  edit
  • Café België, Oudegracht 196, +31 30 231 2666. has good music and a selection of 198 different beers of which 20 are draught. Also serve nice food for a reasonable price. Try the Celis White if you like white beer and try the Trock Banaan if you want to try a beer that tastes just like the banana sweets you probably ate when you were a kid (Most likely you are going to get a question from the bartender like “Are you sure you want to have this??”).  edit
  • Ledig Erf, Tolsteegbrug 3 (located at the very south tip of the Oudegracht), +31 30 231 7577, [78]. at the south end of the Oudegracht has a large outdoor seating area which is packed whenever the sun is shining.  edit
  • De Kargadoor, Oudegracht 36 (located at the very north tip of the Oudegracht), +31 30 231 0377, [79]. Warf cellar with live music, stand-up comedy and cinema.  edit

Nightlife[edit]

  • The clubs near the square Janskerkhof provide a great dancing opportunity for young people (Filemon, Pakhuis, Hofman).
  • The clubs at the street Oudkerkhof provide a great dancing opportunity for everyone (Havana, Dikke Dries).
  • Other cafes, recommended for students, are Beurs (at Neude), Zussen and Hemmingway (near Janskerkhof).
  • The main venue for pop concerts and for dancing is Tivoli Oude Gracht [80], Tivoli de Helling, or the smaller Ekko [81], Kargadoor, De Vloer and DBs (close to the train station Zuilen).
  • A smaller, more intimate venue, is political-cultural centre ACU [82]. They host a large variety of things, such as a small cinema (smoking allowed), art exhibitions, cafe literature, concerts, disco, gay events, and they serve vegetarian and vegan food.
  • Club Poema [83] is known for it's ESN[84] student's night every Tuesday and techno parties in the weekend.
  • Derrick [85] is a (small) disco in the old meaning of the word. Only 70s, 80s, and 90s music.
  • Oude Pothuys, Oudegracht 279 (On the west side of Oudegracht, a bit south of the city center), 030-2318970, [86]. is a cafe in a basement, with live music almost every night.  edit

Coffee[edit]

Utrecht has one of the more cultivated coffee scenes in The Netherlands, but unfortunately a majority of the cafés does not pay enough attention the freshness of beans and barista skills (if they even have one). Some of the better are:

  • The Village, Voorstraat 46, [87]. One of the better coffee joints in the country. They serve not only espresso products, also drip, french press etc. Usually they have a variety of recently roasted beans on offer.  edit
  • Brandmeesters, Korte Jansstraat 5, [88]. Next to selling their own fresh roasted beans and coffee equipment, you can get a good cup to drink as well.  edit
  • Casa Barista, Lange Jansstraat 2, [89]. Not the place to hang out for an hour, but perfect for getting a quick, high quality espresso.  edit
  • Bakkerswinkel, Wittevrouwenstraat 2, [90]. Primarily a cake shop, and a very good one! Ideal place for a high tea or a craving for sweetness. Makes good coffee as well.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Utrecht, like any big town, has its fair share of business hotels of the big chains.

  • Grand Hotel Karel V, Geertebolwerk 1, +31 (30) 233 75 55 (, fax: +31 (30) 233 75 00), [91].  edit
  • Park Plaza Utrecht, Westplein 50, +31 (0) 30 29 25 200 (, fax: +31 (0) 30 29 25 199), [92]. great location (city center), modern style with nice meeting rooms overlooking Utrecht.  edit
  • NH Utrecht, Jaarbeursplein, 24. 3521AR Utrecht, +31.30.2977977, [93]. This hotel is nestled away in a quiet area, yet is still only a short distance from the town center and the Jaarbeurs Convention Center which is ideal for people staying on business. Take advantage of the meeting rooms available in the hotel and enjoy the views and surroundings. Rooms from 99€.  edit
  • Hotel Oorsprongpark, F.C. Dondersstraat 12, +31 (30) 271 63 03 (fax: +31 (30) 271 46 19), [94]. single room: €100, double €115.  edit

For those on a budget:

  • Hostel Strowis, Boothstraat 8, 3512 BW Utrecht, +31 30 2380280 (), [96]. Lovely hostel run by a group of clever ex-squatters who bought their building to start this initiative. The best and most homely hostel in Utrecht. A choice of 6,8,10,or 12 bedded dorms,free internet and a relaxing shaded garden area. from €15.50.  edit
  • Hostel B&B Utrecht, Lucas Bolwerk 4, 3512 EG Utrecht, tel. +31 650434884 (), [97]. checkout: noon. Bizarre hostel. Main room dominated by television and individuals sitting at computers. Free internet (when it works), free food (you cook on your own!), sometimes free beer. Showers take half an hour to warm up in the morning. 10 min walk from the Central Station. from €25.00.  edit
  • Stone Hotel & Hostel, Biltstraat 31 (10 min walk from the centre,15 min walk from Utrecht Central Station), +31 30 268 2315, [98]. checkin: 15:00; checkout: 11:00. Casual, family run hostel situated in a bright and cheery building only a short distance away from the centre of Utrecht (the city centre and the central station). With a friendly & cosy atmosphere, helpful staff and the occasional company of happy family dog Lola, there are rooms and dorms available for all budgets - 4, 6, 8 bed dorms, ladies only dorms, and private rooms sleeping 1-3 persons. You'll find fast & free wifi, hot showers & clean bathrooms, a full kitchen and supermarket nearby making for easy cooking options, TV & lounge area for relaxing. Coffee, tea, towels, advice and even a joke or two are all available for free! Dorm beds start from €17.50, private rooms available from €61.  edit

Contact[edit]

Internet[edit]

  • At DE cafe (Jansstraat (near the Neude) and Domstraat (near the Dom tower)) you get unlimited free WiFi access (password is ristretto)
  • At the Coffee Company (Vismarkt 5 and Nachtegaalstraat 34) you get free WiFi access for an hour with every order (you need your receipt for a temporary password)
  • Wzzrd [99] is located at Vismarkt 21 and open daily from 12:00 to 23:00 and friday and saturday until 01:00.
  • Some Internet browsing centers are available on Kanaalstraat for affordable prices (1.5 euros per hour). It is a 10 minute walk from Utrecht Central Station.

Stay safe[edit]

Utrecht is one of the 10 most unsafe cities in the Netherlands. There are several neighborhoods in the outskirts that are best avoided in the evening or at night.

As always, don’t flash your wallet at markets and have a natural caution for pickpockets in the city centre. Unfortunately, bike thefts are a common nuisance, so if you travel by bike, make sure you have good locks and try to bolt your bike to a lamp post or bridge railing if possible. There are also some free bike parking places with surveillance in the city center and near the train station.

Gay people often face harassment in the outskirt neighborhoods.

Car burglary is common, also in the city center. Park your car in a guarded parking place and remove valuable items.

The following neighborhoods are defined as "probleemwijk" (one of 40 neighborhoods in the Netherlands with serious issues) by the national government:

  • Kanaleneiland-noord
  • Ondiep
  • Overvecht
  • Zuilen Oost

These neighborhoods should be considered as unsafe or at least less safe.

In general, the center of Utrecht is pretty safe.

Get out[edit]

  • Soest_(Netherlands) - home to the biggest dune area in Utrecht
  • Soesterberg — home to the Dutch national air force museum
  • Haarzuilens — a small village which is home to the Castle De Haar
  • Wijk bij Duurstede — a typically old dutch town on the Rhine river; dikes galore!
  • Rhenen — played a key-role in the WWII Grebbelinie defense. Beautiful forests and a great zoo
  • Rhijnauwen — take a walk in the forests between the Uithof and Bunnik
  • Vianen — small historic city on the south of Utrecht
  • Wageningen — the city in which the Germans signed the WW|| peace


Routes through Utrecht
AmsterdamMaarssen  N noframe S  CulemborgMaastricht
The HagueWoerden  W noframe E  VeenendaalArnhem
AlmereHilversum  N noframe S  GorinchemBreda
END  S noframe N  AmersfoortGroningen




This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!




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