Utrecht: The New Amsterdam

Alara Benlier | Live the World

November 23, 2022

This amazing city's history dates back to 47 AD when the Roman Empire Claudius wanted to build a defensive line over Rhine river. Nowadays, Utrecht is a student city, which is famous for its fun nightlife and of course dramatic canals and unique architecture. You can reach the city from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and then by taking a 30 min train trip or simply by a bus. To get to know the city better, I always prefer walking the city center and in Utrecht, it is even more possible to have a delightful walk since the city center is not that big. But of course, you can always rent a bike or get an anonymous or disposable OV-chipkaart from every stop of the tram stop. With this card, you can travel by tram, bus, and train after loading the card with money.

In the center of this old city, the old church, the Dom, will welcome you. This lovely gothic church's architecture will mesmerize you. The Dom was built between 1284 and 1520 and it is the major religious building which is one of the historical landmarks of the city.

In 1674, the city was wrecked by a tornado, that's why the church's tower was separated from the building. Today, you can see the Domtoren or the Dom Church's Tower with its 112-metre tall glory. It is the perfect place to climb up to see the breathtaking view of Utrecht AND if it is a clear day, you can even be able to see Amsterdam and Rotterdam from the top of this amazing tower!

If you want to check out the Neo-Gothic Castle, you have to check Kasteel de Haar which is an amazing castle located in Haarzuilens. This castle dates way back to 1391 and today the castle is owned by the foundation of Kasteel de Haar. After checking out the wood carved decorations and amazing interior, you can take a walk in the castles park. The park has many waterworks and it is a copy of one of the French gardens of Versailles.

Another amazing town with its rich history is Breukelen! This amazing town is located in the north-west of Utrecht and it is one of the top tourist attractions. In Breukelen, you can get to see charming mansions along the river near Breukelen which was owned by many wealthy Amsterdam merchant families in the 17th Century.

For the museums, Utrecht offers various of possibilities! "The museum quarter" is located 10-minute walking distance from the central station. The first stop for a museum must be the MOA which is Museum Oud Amelisweerd! This museum is a house of art set in a country park and exhibits three different collections of Armando, Oud Amelisweerd and a collection of unique Chinese and other historic wall coverings.

If you like historic Christian items, you have to check out the Museum Catharijneconvent! This museum is open from 11 till 17 and the entry is 11.50 Euro. Another must-visit museum is the Centraal Museum, which is the oldest municipal museum in the Netherlands. Inside this museum, you can get to see an art collection including the world’s largest collection of Rietveld designs and many more permanent exhibitions!

Nederlands Spoorwegmuseum is the best museum if you are like the history of railways. This Dutch railway museum reopened in 2005 and you can go to this museum by taking a special train from the central station. And the last but not least, you have to check out Museum Speelklok, which is a museum of all kinds of mechanical music, carillon clocks, musical boxes, pianolas, belly organs and many more!

Oudegracht, which is the main canal of Utrecht, is the heart of the city! You can get to shop or have an amazing lunch/dinner on both sides. This picturesque canal has many unique and beautiful cellars on the water level. You can also take a canoe trip in this amazing canal.

If you want to shop like there is no tomorrow, you can make the money rain in the Hoog Catharijne! This shopping centers architecture is also very unique. But if you want to feel like a local, you have to check out the street markets of Utrecht! In the street markets, you can buy meats, cheese, vegetables, fruits, fresh flowers, plants, fish and many more! It is open every Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

And after dark, the city gets even more interesting! After sunset, you have to take the Trajectum Lumen Tour which is a light tour. As the site said; "Trajectum Lumen is an exploration after dark, which follows artistically lit locations throughout Utrecht’s historical city center. When night falls, Trajectum Lumen leads from centrally located Vredenburg past a growing number of installations by (inter)nationally renowned light artists. 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."

Another interesting event to attend is the Rietveld-Schröderhuis, which starts with traveling from Centraal Museum, entry to the museum, the tour of house and Rietveld designed apartment and a tea/coffee at the museum! Rietveld Schröder House was built between 1923 and 1924. It was designed and built for Truus Schröder-Schräder with the ideas of the art movement De Stijl. This house is placed on UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002. Definitely, a must visit!

AND people who love nature like me! For me, being in nature is one of the most effective discharging methods since I hate the concrete jungle. If you feel the same and want to enjoy every shade of green, you have to check out the Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug. This national park was founded in 2003 and consist of 15,000 acres of heathlands, shifting sands, forests, grasslands and floodplains which date from the next-to-last ice age.

If you want to surround yourself with beautiful gardens, you have to go to Botanische Tuinen. In this lovely botanical garden, you can check out huge collections of flower species, a tropical greenhouse, butterfly room, a large rock garden, a bamboo forest, a vegetable garden and many more!

If you want to visit Utrecht, find your inspiration on Itinari now!

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