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 "recognise" Netherlands in Amsterdam. With this post I am going to explain you the reasons why I think that Utrecht is better than Amsterdam for living. And of course this is my personal opinions, but I am not the only one who thinks that Utrecht is much way better than Amsterdam.
The canals of Utrecht are the most beautiful in Europe. If it happens to you 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.
Yes, I repeat it loudly, Utrecht is dutch Amsterdam is not. A lot of the people living in Amsterdam are expats who do not speak dutch. It's not only the language, is about the culture and lifestyle. Since the city hosts so many expats, 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.
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. (Tip : Try warme wijn in winter :D)
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. The centre of Utrecht is beautiful, historical, and 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 people enjoy hanging out with expats.
A station? How can a station can make Utrecht better than Amsterdam? Well... Hoog Caterijne is a huge indoor shopping mall right in the hearth of the station. All the trains "stop" in Utrecht. Is very easy to move by public transport from Utrecht everywhere in Netherlands. If you are wondering how far is Amsterdam from Utrecht, it 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 transports costs, 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? 😀