Must see and do as a student in Utrecht
Utrecht is by far my favorite city in the Netherlands. This really doesn’t come as a surprise as when I grew up, Utrecht was the closest city nearby and I chose to study here of course. Biking through the city center gives me the feeling of biking through a city with a lot of history and culture, but it is not as big and touristy as Amsterdam. Every student might know the best places to go out or get a late-night snack, but the city has so much culture to offer as well. I want to highlight some of my favorite places to you that I think every student in Utrecht should have visited in their time here!
- The Dom Tower and church
The Dom Tower is the symbol of the city (really??). With a height of 112.5 meters it’s the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. It is really a must for every student to climb our beautiful tower! It is a tough climb, with 465 steps going up. The view you get of the city is totally worth the climb though. You can walk around the tower and see the city from 360 degrees. You can watch people walk past the grachten and see how cute the small houses look. Don’t forget to visit the church which you can see in this picture below. You have to pay a small fee to climb the tower, but the church and the church gardens are free of entry.
- Rietveld Schröderhuis
Many people have probably seen this house as they biked from the University to the city through Wilhelminapark. The house was built in 1924 by Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld for Mrs. Truus Schröder-Schräder and her children. Even if you’re not into architecture or anything, this house is really special. It was designed to have panels that can be opened to create an open space or closed to separate the rooms when desired. It’s no wonder that the World Heritage Committee inscribed the House on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2000. They described the house as: “The Rietveld Schröderhuis in Utrecht is an icon of the Modern Movement in architecture and an outstanding expression of human creative genius in its purity of ideas and concepts as developed by the De Stijl movement. (...) With its radical approach to design and the use of space, the Rietveld Schröderhuis occupies a seminal position in the development of architecture in the modern age.”
The Centraal Museum is the main museum in Utrecht. The museum has a wide-ranging collection, mainly of works produced locally. What I love about this museum is that they display art related to the city. The paintings show Utrecht hundreds of years ago, but you can still recognize many of the sites that are still intact today. They always have a few exhibitions, so you can check out what they have on display right now.
- Louis Hartloopercomplex / Springhaver
I really love going to the movies! However, I prefer small movie theatres that show other films than the blockbusters. Springhaver and LHC are my favorites. Don’t be scared that they only show weird artsy movies. They show movies that range from foreign, to movies that matter, to Oscar winning/nominated movies. Furthermore, you can have a delicious lunch/dinner/snack (made by Sake) there or drink a craft beer (served by Marieke) which you can also take with you during the film. Ideal!
The Botanic Gardens are one of those spots that many people know of, have visited once or twice, but never think of again. What’s so perfect about them is that it’s next to the university and as a student you can enter it for free. Take a break from studying and walk around for some fresh air and beautiful scenery. There is also a small café where you can have lunch or drink some coffee/tea with pie. Recommended!
I hope I gave you some inspiration of what the city has to offer and what you can do on a free day/night other than going out. Let me know if you have already done one of these things or what you would like to try. If you have other tips (I couldn’t write everything down of course) let me know as well!