Whenever I talk with some friends about my life in Netherlands, the first questions they ask me are all about Amsterdam and why, despite the fact that I work in Amsterdam, I decided to live in Utrecht. It seems that many people can just “recognize” Netherlands in Amsterdam. With this post I am going to explain you the reasons why Utrecht is better than Amsterdam for living, I am writing about the most important 5, but I could list much more reasons 😀
1 – The canals.
Photo credit : Flickr
The canals of Utrecht are the most beautiful in Europe. If happens to be here on a sunny day, just take a walk trough the city centre around the canals and see how awesome it is. Something that Amsterdam definitely does not have are all the restaurants and bars just on the side of the canals. It is amazing enjoying a fresh drink while sitting near by the canals. Seriously if you have never walked there, you are missing one of the most beautiful part of Netherlands.
2 – Utrecht is dutch, Amsterdam not.
Yes, I repeat it loudly, Utrecht is dutch Amsterdam is not. 85% of people living in Amsterdam do not speak dutch. But it’s not only the language, is about the culture and lifestyle. Most of the people in Amsterdam are expat and so the city is pretty much influenced with all the international environment. This does not happens in Utrecht where you can still enjoy the full dutch lifestyle while still being able to be in a very international environment.
3 – Bars, Terraces, Cafe’.
Photo Credit : Flickr
Yes, all of these. Sitting on a terrace in a Bar in Neude is one of my favorite things to do. It resemble the classic European cafe’ culture with car free centre and a lot of terraces and good drinks. (Hint : Try warme wijn in winter :D)
4 – Speaking about the centre, is beautiful.
Leidseplein, Dam Square? They are big and full of tourists, in the evening most of them are drunk or stoned. The city often looks dirty too. The centre of Utrecht is beautiful, historical an easy to do it by walk. There are plenty of small bars where you can enjoy the real dutch atmosphere, sit down with your friends and have a beer. The city is also full of students and so parties are common in many places. Several bars organise expat events and many dutch enjoy hanging out with expats.
5 – Hoog Caterijne and the station.
Photo credit: Flickr
Hoog Caterijne is a huge indoor shopping mall righ in the hearth of the station. And speaking about the station, all the trains “must stop” in Utrecht. Is very easy to move by public transport from Utrecht everywhere in Netherlands. Amsterdam is about 25 minutes by train, several people do this every day to go to work, I do the same. Often the companies here pay the transport if living a certain distance from work, so it won’t cost you money. And when it’s very cold you can stay in the station and shopping! 😀
So, what about you? Have you ever been to Utrecht? What do you think? 😀