When it comes to relocating and moving to a new city, everything is a blur of excitement. At least, that’s how it goes in your head. In reality, there are bureaucratic tasks that need to be dealt with before you really start enjoying your care-free exchange life!
At Housing Anywhere, we’re committed to helping students land on - and stay on - their feet while abroad. We tell what you need to know about health insurance and finding cheap accommodation in Utrecht, as well as an estimate of the cost of living and a bunch of other useful stuff.
The bottom line is that this guide can help you get settled quickly, without a hundred different Google searches trying to find out what’s going on in your new city. Have a great time in Utrecht!
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands and has been known internationally as the religious capital of the nation for over 1300 years. The city is filled with the canals and beautifully traditional housing that you probably associate with the Netherlands, and the centre is dominated by Dom Tower, the tallest belfry (belltower) in the country.
The old town is quite well-preserved, and retains a lot of its medieval charm and design. There’s the Oudegracht, a long, curving canal which rolls through this part of town, and a series of different churches through the municipal and suburban areas. It’s a picturesque city, and almost every street corner could be on a postcard.
The language is Dutch, which is similar in origins to German. There are places by the German border where the languages overlap considerably, but in general you should just stick to practising your Dutch. English is fairly well spoken here, and generally everyone is happy to use as much English as they need. However, you can’t expect everyone to speak English like you can in Sweden, for example.
The weather in the Utrecht is pretty grey, overcast and quite rainy. There are really gorgeous days over summer and autumn for sure, but you’re also probably looking at at least a little rain 19-20 days per month, and more in winter.
The temperature can reach the early 20’s in summer (which is more than enough for shorts and shades) but it’s not the kind of city you’d move to for the beach lifestyle.
Public holidays in the Netherlands are fairly common, and they mean a day off from work and university - woohoo! Make sure to mark them on your calendar so you can make the most of your long weekends.