EXCHANGE EXCHANGE Magazine for internationals Magazine for internationals 2017/2018 2017/2018
Content 04 Meet ESN What does ESN do? 05 Meet the board Who are the boardmembers
and what are their tasks?
06 Meet the committees of ESN Utrecht
What will they organize for you this year?
08 Story of an international and a Dutch committee member 5 questions about their
experiences with ESN.
10 ESN activities and projects A few
examples of what you can do when joining ESN. 12 ESN introduction Join the ESN-awesome
13 ESNcard for dummies What is it? What
can you do with it?
14 Thank you sponsors 17 ESN memories
25 Weird Dutch food Dutch food you won’t
understand... but will learn to love.
26 Utrecht student life We have gathered the
best spots to study, top culture spots, places to go out, where to have dinner and drinks, and where to do sports! 31 ESN memories 32 Student housing How to find a room as an
34 Bicycle tips How to master the skill of cycling
in the Netherlands?
36 Tips form a local Where to go in Utrecht’s
38 Top Dutch cities to visit The perfect getaway
destinations in the Netherlands.
40 Where to find internationals? Where do
19 About the Netherlands A short and
42 Recreational Holland Places to go when you
20 International’s experiences in Utrecht
44 How to date a Dutchie? The Do’s and
21 Dutch apps The apps you should download
46 Do’s and don’ts How to survive in Utrecht in
22 History of Utrecht Everything you want to
47 Notes for yourself
insightfull lesson about our lovely country.
A story from an international’s perspective. when you’re in the Netherlands!
know about Utrecht’s rich history.
24 Dutch for dummies How to conquer that
18 Dutch holidays Let’s introduce you to our
favourite holidays in the Netherlands!
your fellow international students live? have spare time!
Don’ts of dating a Dutchie. a handy bullet list
Editor-in-Chief Melodie Zöllner Design & Cover Willeke Geertsema Writers Annalise Garrett Beaudine Pieters Betti Csiba Carlijn Torenbeek Carlijn Verhagen Evelijn Hillebrand Farunya Bos Femke van der Meijs Kim Daamen Maaike Aans Marja Verberne Melodie Zöllner Nanda Bartelink Sammy Shawky Teo Potenza Tessa Vermeir Una Omeragic Vera Janssen Willeke Geertsema Contact: ESN UTRECHT Achter Sint Pieter 25, room 0.03 3512 HR Utrecht 030-2538781 firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/ esnxutrecht www.esn-utrecht.nl www.esnutrecht-blog.nl
Dear international student, Welcome to our beautiful, flat country: the Netherlands! If you read this, you’ve been so brave to decide to go on an exchange. I promise, it will be the best choice you’ve ever made! I suppose you have a lot of questions. Will I meet friends for life? Will I feel at home in Utrecht? How will I ever survive on a bike? No need to worry, we are here to help you with all these matters! This magazine is filled with tips and tricks about Utrecht, Dutch habits, experiences from previous international students and other useful information. It will be the first guidance provided by us, the Erasmus Student Network (ESN), but we will guide you throughout the whole semester and make sure you’ll have the time of your life! Although the Netherlands is one of the smallest countries in the world, there’s a lot to explore. But where do you begin? ESN would gladly help you to discover all the famous AND hidden spots in the Netherlands, but also in our neighbour countries. We will show you these spots during our daytrips and weekends away.
However, this is not only where ESN steps in. The main goal of ESN is to connect international students and create a social network for them. To achieve this, we organize different social, sportive, cultural and career-related events. You can think of International Kitchens, pubquizzes, cantuses, sailing, night canoeing and career workshops. The one thing you need to do is buying an ESNcard. For only 4 euros you can join all our activities! Don’t hesitate to come by at our office to ask us all the questions you have, get your ESNcard or just have a chat and get to know us! We hope to see you soon at the office or at one of our activities! On behalf of the 28th board, Beaudine Pieters – PR Coordinator
Meet the Board
By: Kim Daamen
By: Carlijn Torenbeek
When the Erasmus programme started back in 1987, going on an exchange became much easier than before: Universities were in contact with each other, credentials abroad were acknowledged, and Europe provided financial support by means of scholarships. ESN started when the first students to ever go on an Erasmus were asked to evaluate their exchange. Desiree Majoor was one of those people and she felt that going on an exchange could mean even more: she wanted the students to feel more at home and to have more contact with the local culture and community, so she started the Erasmus Student Network in Utrecht. Yes, in Utrecht we are really proud that we are the founding section of ESN! Now, 30 years later ESN is the biggest international student organization in the world, that nowadays exists of over 530 sections in 40 different countries. With a team of over 300 volunteers we do everything to make every
international student in Utrecht feel at home, and have the best exchange experience possible. We do this with our ‘students-helping-students’ principle. All the volunteers are students! We create a platform where international students can meet local and other international students, by organizing many cultural, social, career-related and sportive events. You can think of daytrips to different Dutch cities, career cafés, theme parties, Dutch classes but also sports days for example! Next to these events, we are also here to help new international students with all their questions and give advice when needed. For more information about ESN Utrecht and all our events, take a look at esn-utrecht.nl, like us on facebook (ESN Utrecht) or send an email to email@example.com. We are happy to answer your questions and provide you with more information!
As described on the previous page, ESN Utrecht has a lot of enthusiastic volunteers. Apart from them, there are also six people in Utrecht who are taking a year off to fully devote their time to ESN: the Board. Most likely, you will see our faces at a lot of ESN-events. However, before we meet in person, please allow me to introduce myself and my fellow board-members. To start off, my name is Carlijn Torenbeek (1) and I will be the President this year. This means that I will be the spokesperson for ESN Utrecht. I am responsible for the overall picture of ESN Utrecht, this includes making the policy paper and the year report and keeping track of our long-term vision. I will also take care of our volunteer policy by organizing activities for our volunteers throughout the year Lotte Klaassen (2) is our Secretary this year and she will take care of all our incoming and outgoing communication, our alumni policy and the pick-up service. She will be the person who will be answering all of your questions by e-mail. Besides that, Lotte will be the coordinator of the Activities Committee and the Archive Committee. Our Treasurer is Maarten Visser (3) and he is primarily responsible for all financial and budgetary matters and anything related to bookkeeping. Besides keeping track of our financial matters, Maarten will also coordinate the Pubquiz Committee and the Career Committee.
Beaudine Pieters (5) is our PR-Coordinator and she will be responsible for the overall promotion: our representation on social media, for all the banners and flyers and for our quarterly Abroad Magazine that you will receive in your letterbox. Every week, she will send you a newsletter via email about the upcoming events, to make sure you will stay up to date about what is going on at ESN Utrecht! Additionally, Beaudine will coordinate the PR Committee and the Journalism Committee. Last but definitely not least is our Integration Coordinator Willeke Geertsema (6). She is in charge of projects that are related to integration, such as the mentor programme, the Host-Family Programme and the Dutch language project. Furthermore, Willeke will be the coordinator of the Culture Committee and the Integration Committee. You can find us every weekday at our office (Achter Sint Pieter 25) or get in touch with us via either email or Facebook. You will also see our faces a lot at our events. We hope to see you very soon, until then. All the best, Carlijn Torenbeek
Jos van den End (4) is our Fundraiser. He will stay in touch with our sponsors and arranges the best discounts for you. We do have some very nice deals all around Utrecht – ranging from buying bikes to having lunch with discount. You can find some of them on page 14-16. Also, Jos will be coordinating the Introduction Committee and the Party Committee this year.
4 5 6 1
Meet the committees of ESN Utrecht The six board members of ESN Utrecht get the help of 12 different committees, run by local and international volunteers. All those volunteers are dedicated to give you the best exchange experience possible, whilst studying or working fulltime and maybe having a job on the side to pay for their studies. Most of them have been on exchange themselves, so they know what it is like to have to adapt to a whole different lifestyle. That is why they have joined one of the following committees to help easing your transition into Utrecht student life. By: Farunya Bos & Melodie Zöllner
The Activities Committee
The Culture Committee
This committee organizes all kinds of sportive and social activities where you get to totally forget about exams or studying and have a lot of fun! Bubble Football, Trampoline Dodgeball (which is as awesome as it sounds), Night Canoeing and Sailing are a few of the proposed activities. No need to go to the gym, just make sure you attend those activities if you want a good workout.
The Culture Committee will make sure you get your dose of Dutch culture. Daytrips, a Discover Holland Weekend or a visit to the Dutch fraternities… It might even be that you will have seen more of the Dutch culture than the Dutch themselves! If you prefer having a good night rather than a busy weekend, they can also offer you the joys of International Kitchen and Culture Café.
The Archive Committee
The Finance Committee
You might not be aware of it, but a lot of work is being done behind the scenes to improve ESN every year. The Archive Committee organizes and stores ESN’s most important documents, manages the archives and sends out surveys every semester to see how we can improve the organization. You might never meet them, but they are very well aware of what you are up to during the semester and taking very serious notes. They are also responsible for the yearbook of each year’s volunteers.
The Finance Committee, along with the Treasurer, ensures that our finances are in order. It’s thanks to this committee that we get to enjoy all those activities at such a low price! The Supervisory Committee
This committee is composed of old board members who have made it their mission to advise the current board whenever needed (even when they don’t ask for it). Guidance is key, right.
The Introduction Committee
The Party Committee
This is probably one of the most important committees of ESN, since they organize your introduction day and week! During the introduction activities you get an overview of what you might expect of ESN during your stay. It’s also a change to establish long-lasting friendships and a great opportunity to get to know Utrecht a bit better.
Do you love a good party and aren’t you afraid to dress up for a nice themed one? Luckily we have a committee that makes that possible. Or join the ‘Special Tuesdays’ (think Beer Pong for instance) at Club Poema, our party destination every Tuesday night! This committee will spice up your nights with awesome decorations and props. You name it, they create it!
The Integration Committee
This committee is all about integration, charity and good work: they manage the SocialErasmus projects, the Host Family Programme and the Mentor Programme. The SocialErasmus projects are all possible because of the help that the international students want to give. All the projects are about getting to know the locals and the local community. A great chance to see life in Utrecht from another perspective! The Journalism Committee
You might find the product that this committee makes in your introduction bag (the Abroad magazine, published 4 times a year) and in the magazine you’re reading right now! This committee is composed of amazing writers and editors who spend a lot of time perfecting their funny/handy/interesting articles and magazines. But the committee also keeps you up to date about everything happening in Utrecht, the Netherlands and in ESN at the ESN Utrecht Blog. They make sure that you don’t miss out on any memorable event during your exchange!
The PR Committee
This committee is filled with creative masterminds that make you aware of everything that ESN offers. They create our awesome gadgets, banners, flyers and posters, capture all your memorable ESN moments on the camera and promote the awesome events that we organize for you, so you don’t miss out on anything! The Pubquiz Committee
Every second Monday of the month this committee organizes a Pubquiz at Café Hofman. Every week, the members of this committee come together to come up with yet another masterpiece in order to challenge you. It’s hard work, but it’s soooo much fun! The Career Committee
This is the newest committee of ESN Utrecht, created only last year. Their goal is to help those students who would like to start an international career in the Netherlands. They do this by organizing workshops, Q&A sessions and panel discussions, and connecting the students with recruiting agencies and companies through networking drinks.
Story of an international and
By: Betti Csiba & Maaike Aans
Why did you decide to join an ESN committee? M: When I was doing a study abroad in Montpellier, France I had my first ESN experience. When I came back to the Netherlands I wanted to remain a part of the ESN community, so I decided to join a committee and help internationals in Utrecht by writing funny and informative articles. B: I’ve come across ESN before but have never been a member. I decided to make the most of my Master in Utrecht while also dedicating more time for one of my passions: journalism. The JoCo turned out to be the perfect combination!
a Dutch committee member M: I agree with Betti. I kind of underestimated my Master’s programme which took up a lot of my time. On the other hand, I really enjoyed being so busy, and I learned a lot of time management skills over the last year.
The Exchange Committee interviewed two members of the Journalism Committee from last year, Maaike and Betti. Maaike is a fresh Intercultural Communication Master’s graduate from the Netherlands, and Betti came to Utrecht from Hungary to do a Master’s degree in International Management.
What was your favourite ESN activity last year? B: Even though I wasn’t as active as I wanted to be, I still managed to join a few events. My absolute favourite was the third Local Platform where all ESN committee members came together to bond and participate in exciting workshops! M: I really enjoyed the Pick-Up Service right at the beginning of last year. It was really nice to meet so many internationals coming from all around the world. I was happy to see that the internationals appreciated that there were people to welcome them and help them a little with their first steps on Dutch soil. What was the most challenging about being in a committee? B: At times, I found it hard to manage my time efficiently with my busy schedule so that there’s enough time for committee-related tasks. However, I always succeeded in the end and thoroughly enjoyed it, be it meetings, writing an article or preparing the Abroad Magazine!
Do you think that being a member of ESN Utrecht is different for internationals and Dutchies? B: In my opinion, a lot of international students join ESN for the activities and for the company of other internationals. I certainly had other motivations too: I really wanted to improve my writing and “give back” to an international community. M: I do think there is a small difference. I would say I joined primarily because I wanted to gain experience in journalism and writing in English, and secondarily I wanted to meet international people. In my experience, it could be the other way around for internationals.
What’s your advice for new committee members? M: Looking back, I didn’t participate in as many activities as I had imagined and I kind of regret that. So my advice would be: join every activity you’re interested in, even if you’re kind of scared to go alone, because you will make new friends easily during these activities. B: Indeed. Being a committee member does mean a commitment, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying yourself in as many ESN activities as possible. Learn to strike a balance and have a blast!
Activities and projects Are you someone who easily gets bored? Are you afraid you will spend too much time sitting and staring soberly in your student dorm? Let me get rid of these unnecessary worries. ESN Utrecht will entertain you at all times with activities of all kinds. So whether you are up for sports, highly in need of some Dutch culture, want to get away for the weekend or would like to give something back to the Dutch community in the form of charity, stop looking! ESN will provide it all. By: Femke van der Meijs & Kim Daamen
Participating in the Mentor Programme means you will get your very own little ESN family. You will be part of a group with around 10-15 international students and two mentors. Your mentors will set up all kinds of great activities and ESN will organize the famous Mentor ‘borrels’. Perfect if you want an even more personal guidance than with the regular ESN activities. It is completely up to the mentors and the group how often you all get together.
Day excursions and weekend trips
ESN daytrips and weekend trips are the best of all worlds: it gives you the opportunity to explore new cities and meet new people. All you need to do is hop in the bus and let ESN take care of everything. And how Dutch: ESN always fixes a super attractive price for the whole thing. The day excursions are visits to Dutch cities. There are weekend trips within the Netherlands and abroad.
During the monthly pubquizes ESN tests your knowledge on various subjects. Each quiz has its own theme. So be smart and create a team of friends with the right expertise! Well, besides all that it is a lot of fun due to the many hilarious questions and interactive rounds. Embrace your team spirit and go for gold!
ESN Student Night at Club Poema
No matter where you come from, food speaks an international language. Don’t you agree? The monthly International Kitchens form the perfect platform to share your culinary heritage with others and of course explore new delicious dishes yourselves. During this event everyone brings their specialty and all together you create an incredible international buffet. Also a great way to socialize. “Did you already try this todie-for tiramisu?” And well, besides all that it is just jummy for your tummy!
Dance the night away surrounded by all of your lovely ESN friends. Every Tuesday you can join the ESN Student Night in Club Poema. Have a drink, socialize and enjoy the music. Trust me, during your stay in Utrecht the expression ‘Poema tonight?’ will be frequently used. And do not forget: with your ESNcard you can skip the line if you enter before 00.30h via the VIP entrance and you will receive three coins for 50% discount on your drinks. Let’s party!!
Some internationals celebrated Christmas with a Dutch family: ‘‘This was the best Christmas I ever had. I am going to ask my family to celebrate Christmas like this as well. And the food was delicious!’’ Lulü (Taiwan)
Host Family Project
Do you want to experience the real Dutch Family life during your exchange? Then the Host Family Project is definitely something for you! This project gives the international students the chance to spend a day or a weekend at a Dutch family. ESN matches the participating students with the families. It is a highly recommended project which gets you even more in touch with the Dutch culture. Because who knows more about this county than the Dutchies themselves?
ESN introduction So you made the journey all the way to the greatest city of the Netherlands: Utrecht. You unpacked your bags, settled in your new home and even got up early for the Orientation Day. But now what? By: Marja Verberne
Where can you find out all the fun stuff to do in Utrecht? How do you discover the nicest bars, the best places to get food and the greatest clubs? And how do you meet new people? No worries! The ESN Introduction Committee is here for you. We organised an amazing Introduction Day and Introduction Week for you to give you a great start of your adventure in the Netherlands.
The Introduction Day and Introduction Week are known as an amazing experience, the start of wonderful friendships and the beginning of an awesome semester in Utrecht! The spots are limited so sign up now and don’t miss out on this memorable experience!
The Introduction Day will be fully packed with all kinds of fun activities whereby you will get to know Utrecht and each other. But of course, one day is not nearly enough to see Utrecht. So following there will be an Introduction Week where we will show you all the amazing things Utrecht and ESN Utrecht have to offer throughout games, pub-crawls and awesome parties. And all this will be under the devoted guidance of ESN’s amazing (and crazy) locals.
‘‘the start of wonderful friendships’’
More up-to-date information on the Introduction Day and Introduction Week can be found at: esn-utrecht.nl/introduction-period.
By: Carlijn Verhagen
Every Tuesday it’s ESN Student Night at Club Poema! This is the biggest international party right in the centre of Utrecht . With any student card (Dutch or international) and ID you’re more than welcome at the club, but for ESN members there are many advantages. If you enter before 00.30h you can skip the line with your ESNcard by entering through the VIP entrance and you will receive three coins for 50% discount on your drinks. Wine beer and soda are only €1,80, so Club Poema is the place to be every Tuesday!
TivoliVredenburg is Utrecht’s main cultural venue, a unique venue built for all kinds of music and entertainment. The large modern music palace harbours halls with perfect acoustics for hip hop, reggae, pop music, jazz, chamber music and dance, as well as cafes, bars, lounges and a restaurant. International acts like Sam Smith, Lorde, Major Lazer and Placebo have rocked their House! And guess what: to them, you are not just anyone!
Address: Drieharingstraat 22, 3511BJ Utrecht
With your ESNcard you are in a privileged position: it grants you access to their weekly Pop-o-Matic student dance night on Thursdays and you get special deals throughout the year. Take a friend, roommate, ESN member... Whoever you like! Keep an eye out for these deals in your weekly ESN newsletter and on our Facebook page! Address: Vredenburgkade 11, 3511 WC Utrecht
Want a drink in a relaxed environment with a view at the Dom? Try Bar walden! Your ESNcard gets you 20% off any drink you order! But also for good food you are at the right place here., as they serve delicious and affordable dishes. Address: Domplein 16, 3512 JD Utrecht
Hart van Utrecht
If you want to play pool, there is no better place than Hart van Utrecht! This pool centre is located in the heart of Utrecht and is recently renovated. With your ESNcard you can get a beer or soda for only €2!
Address: Ganzenmarkt 16B, 3512 GD Utrecht
Address: Weg naar Rhijnauwen 2, 3584 AD Utrecht
Want to have fun on the water? Rent a boat at De Rijnstroom! With you ESNcard you always get 15% discount when you rent a canoe, Canadian, row boat or day tour. Experience the centre of Utrecht from a whole different perspective!
ESN memories Daytr
At Café Hofman you can find everything. Not only is it a bar and a restaurant, but they also organize little concerts, comedy nights and you can even dance here untill the late hours. Many ESN activities, like the monthly pubquizes take place at Café Hofman and with your ESNcard you receive 15% discount on your drinks!
Summer Vibes pubquiz
Address: Janskerkhof 17 A, 3512 BM Utrecht
qu es pub
er Vib Summ
The Dutch can’t celebrate a feast in one day!
About the Netherlands By: Evelijn Hillebrand
Everything you need to know about your new home
Just like every other country, the Netherlands have a couple of days a year where everyone – or at least the students - are free. Read this overview to always know when the next free days are coming up! By: Sammy Shawky
December 5th The evening of December 5th is called ‘Pakjesavond’, or gift night. It’s the night Saint Nicolas visits the Dutch houses to bring bags full of gifts and candy to the children. Even adults who don’t believe in Saint Nicholas anymore celebrate this night, with friends, poems and games.
1st of January Although some might say that there is nothing better to do after a night of watching fireworks, eating oliebollen (Dutch deep-fried dough balls) and partying than to lay in bed, the Dutch have a tradition of diving into the ocean on the first day of the year, and they call it the ‘Nieuwjaarsduik’.
December 25th & 26th The Dutch have always liked celebrating holidays, so they don’t have just one, but two Christmas days. These are called first and second Christmas day, and are usually spent with family. People will have elaborate lunches and dinners, go for a walk in the forest or just chill at home. (Tweede Kerstdag).
27th of April If you had to describe this day with one word, it would be orange! Koningsdag, or Kingsday in English, is when we celebrate the birthday of our king. It’s an important holiday in Holland. There are always festivals, music and flea markets, and the night before is usually very good for parties.
April 1st & 2nd Just like Christmas, the Dutch just can’t celebrate a feast in one day. Therefore, there is Eerste and Tweede Paasdag, or Easter and Easter Monday. Spend these days enjoying some spring sun, do some cleaning or try and find all the hidden eggs the Easter bunny, or ‘Paashaas’, has left for you.
5th of May Speaking of festivals, just one week after Kingsday it’s already time for another day full of music, festivals and hopefully nice weather. It’s liberation day, or Bevrijdingsdag, and the Dutch celebrate their freedom. All the big cities have free festivals, so you only need to choose which city to visit!
The Dutch landscape is flatter than flat, with the exception of some hills in the south of the country. The country is marked by the battle against the water and the land is protected by thousands of kilometres of dikes and big sand dunes. With 17 million inhabitants the Netherlands are highly urbanized and one of the most densely populated areas of Europe.
Government and monarchy
The Dutch parliament works together under the leadership of Prime Minister Mark Rutte. Besides that the Dutchies also have a king and queen from the House of Orange (hence the colour orange as our national colour) as nominal heads of state. The king Willem-Alexander has several – mostly ceremonial – functions in which he is assisted by his charming Argentinian-born wife, Máxima.
As a small country, the Netherlands has been dealing with a lot of foreign powers through history: the Romans, the French and the Spanish once called the Netherlands their own. Despite all these political tensions the Netherlands managed to become a successful trading power and live the Golden Age. In 1815, after years of French occupation by Napoleon, the Dutch Kingdom was formed.
Probably you did not choose the Netherlands as your new home because of the great stories you heard about the weather. Indeed, it can rain a lot and it can be quite windy, but just be sure to be prepared! The weather in the Netherlands is highly influenced by the North Sea, therefore you can expect mild winters and cool summers.
My Big Dutch Adventure:
Act like a local: try the Dutch apps!
What follows is a British international’s first experience of Utrecht!
Every country has its own particular set of mobile applications that people use to navigate their public transports, digital social interactions or weather predictions. The Dutch even master their texting-while-biking skills although it can be accident prone once in a while.
What was it like for an international here in Utrecht? By: Annalise Garrett
My experience in the Netherlands has been a whirlwind of learning and chances. I arrived just after Brexit, unsure of what the effects would be, and in the end I just ended up poorer than I thought. This was also a great topic starter for all the new people I met for the first few months, but that soon died out, not that I minded. So I guess this is the story of Brexit, my exit of the Netherlands, something that I also had to do as I need to finish my degree in England.
By: Vera Janssen & Evelijn Hillebrand
Even though the trains between Utrecht and Amsterdam are easy to find, navigating your way to remote places might be challenging. Interchanging is unavoidable and travel times are less frequent. The 9292ov application is the solution, it detects your location and calculates your way to your destination while informing about delays.
‘‘My time in the Netherlands has been excellent and I wouldn’t trade it for another one.’’
When I arrived in the Netherlands it was really sunny, some say the hottest it has been in years, I was delighted. But shall we say my introduction to the Netherlands was not the best. A large group of taxi drivers were arguing, in a language I of course could not understand, because no one wanted to take me and my four suitcases to Johanna so I could collect my keys. I had no method of calling, no data, and no idea how to pronounce anything. I may had cried. Eventually a young driver saw me, a damsel in distress, and took me to my destination. I did not have the pleasure to book the pick up by ESN as I do not trust British transport being accurate to arrive on time, but this should have saved a lot. They did, however, take me to my accommodation so that helped me a great deal! Other than the first day being a memorable explosion of emotion, excitement, fear and happiness, the rest was welcoming and lovely. My ESN introduction day and week really put the pieces of the puzzle together. We got to learn
about all the benefits of the ESN card as well as walk around the city which helped me orientate myself for my future adventures. My tutors were interested in the students and would get us to introduce ourself and this also helped me gage who were Dutch and who were also international. This was a great way to meet my Dutch classmates!
My time in the Netherlands has been excellent and I wouldn’t trade it for another one. I travelled to many countries and truly felt like a European for the last time. Never has it been so easy to just pop to another country! I had always needed to fly and show my passport at least 4 times! These last moments of being European had been joyfully spent in the Netherlands and I hope I can return one day to this beautiful and peaceful land. This time away has even made me realise how much beauty my home country has to offer and how little I travelled in it. My eyes have opened for all the opportunities around me and I am grateful for having the privilege to live in your country for one year. Thank you, and tot ziens!
The Dutch weather can be quite unpredictable. One moment the sun is shining, whilst the next rain is falling on the street. If you are on your way to school, or want to keep your party outfit as dry as you can before entering a club, you might consider using Buienradar, or Buienalarm. These apps predict the upcoming rain showers, indicating their length and severity. Specify your location and the app does the rest!
Lastly, as we more often talk to our friends online than in person, you might need to consider using Whatsapp. Whatsapp is the most used free instant messaging service in the Netherlands. So if you want to stay in touch with all the new Dutch friends you’re going to make during and after your time abroad it’s a pretty good way of using up your phone space.
Hello Utrecht! Get to know your wonderful new home Let me introduce to you your new home and hopefully your new big love: Utrecht. Allow me to tell you the stories behind the cobblestoned streets and get a grasp of Utrecht’s history. By: Evelijn Hillebrand
A bit of history Maybe you already noticed the illuminated path through Utrecht. This path is called ‘Trajectum Lumen’ and is a reminder of the Roman borders which ran through Utrecht. In the Middle Ages the city expanded and became the cultural and religious centre of the Northern Netherlands. Already at the end of the 10th century the first canals have been dug which form the Urban myths current northern side of the Oude Gracht. Just like every city with an interesting past, The business was going so well that in the 14th Utrecht has some urban myths. Two of them century Utrecht started building one of the which are especially worth telling concern the biggest towers of that time: the prestigious Dom Tower. The first story tells Dom Tower. In 1636 anothe tragic event of when a member ther marker of Utrecht was ‘‘the city expanded of the fraternity of Veritas jumped found: Utrecht University, which grew to be one of the and transformed into off the Dom Tower and landed biggest universities of the the vibrant student on a member of the Utrechtse Studenten Corps (USC). Tragically, Netherlands. That history is city’ the latter died due to his injuries, a part of daily life in Utrecht but the Veritijn (the name for a is demonstrated by the Unimember of Veritas) who initially jumped off versity Library City Centre. This library is a rethe tower survived. Ever since this incident minder of the French period, where it was built to serve as a city palace for Lodewijk Napoleon. USC-members are by tradition not allowed to be under the Dom Tower. This led to comical In the 20th century the city of Utrecht kept on situations when bus 2 used to drive underneath growing, and so did the number of students in the Dom Tower; the students had to get off the the city. After the Second World War the city bus and run around the tower in order to keep expanded and transformed into the vibrant promise. student city we know Utrecht to be nowadays!
The second myth dates back to earlier times when a tornado tore down the nave connecting the Dom Church and its tower in 1674. The destroyed part of the church could not be restored and was left in ruins which became a meeting place for homosexuals. When the church found out about these illegal homosexu-
al practices, back then, convicts were sentenced to death. Still when you call a person a ‘Utrechtenaar’ nowadays, you actually call them a homosexual. When you really do want to designate a resident of Utrecht you’d better call him or her an ‘Utrechter’ to avoid any misunderstandings.
Dutch for dummies!
Weird Dutch Food
When the weather is once again being typically Dutch; windy and rainy, getting into bed all alone can be a struggle. You can’t help but wonder how much nicer this might be with some companionship. The solution? Dutch pickup lines! So go out and find that hot Dutchie to warm your bed!
Although there are many quirks about the Dutchies that surprise internationals, from cycling everywhere to wearing orange on Kingsday, the oddities you will most often come across during your stay in the Netherlands are food-related. Funnies!
Get to know some of our funny Dutch pickup lines
Dutch food you won’t understand… but will learn to love
By: Betti Csiba
By: Sammy Shawky
“Het is wel warm hier hè, of ben jij dat?” “It’s so hot in here, or is that just you?” “Ik ben mijn telefoonnummer kwijt; zou ik misschien die van jou mogen hebben?” “I have lost my phone number; could I maybe have yours?” “Je komt mij heel bekend voor, kom je hier vaker?” “You seem very familiar, do you come here often?”
“Ik wil in jouw schoenen wonen zodat ik bij elke stap die je neemt bij je kan zijn” “I want to live in your shoes so I can be with you every step you take.” “Geloof je in liefde op het eerste gezicht, of moet ik nog een keer langslopen?” “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by another time?”
“Ik heb een tweepersoonsbed, heb jij misschien zin om de andere helft op te warmen?” “I have a double bed, so are you interested in warming up the other side?”
Upon entering the breakfast section of a Dutch supermarket, you might be surprised about the range (and type) of bread toppings. In the Netherlands, you have a wide variety of chocolate- and anise-flavoured sprinkles and peanut butter which isn’t the kind you might be used to. A typical Dutch breakfast would put the people of any other nation into a diabetic coma, but once you’ve tried it, it’ll grow on you!
Lunchtime might also hold a few more surprises, depending on your home country’s eating habits. Official or not, we can all agree that the Netherlands is the kingdom of sandwiches. These can range from the simplest ones (a slice of cheese in a bread roll) to the most creative combinations (shrimps and fruit). Different types of hot sandwiches are also common, offering Dutchies a filling lunch in their break time.
Even though there are countless peculiarities about Dutch eating habits (Hollandse Nieuwe haring, pannenkoeken, stroopwafels, friet, oliebollen… you’ll have more than enough time to discover these), the last thing to mention is the obsession to deep-fry everything. This craze resulted in the invention of delicious delicacies like kroketten and frikandellen, not to mention the legendary snack that is bitterballen, the meat-filled round pieces of heaven. Go and taste the Netherlands!
Student life in Utrecht As a new exchange student in Utrecht, we are sure you are super excited and can’t wait to discover all the amazing places this cute city has to offer! We have gathered the best spots to study, to do sports, places to go out, explore culture and where to have dinner and drinks! The best places to... sit down and study Coffee Company
The Coffee Company is a cozy coffee bar, with a long table to work on, and cozy seats and tables to do some teamwork with a classmate. One is located at Vismarkt and the other one at Nachtegaalstraat, and both are usually packed with students! Study and enjoy the great coffee at the same time!
big carpets on the floor. The only downside: you’ll have to make do with the coffee from the vending machines (or get a take-away coffee and bring it with you).
Ludwig Coffeebar isn’t that hard to find when you know where to look. It’s at Drift 9, in the same building as the gym Train & More. There’s free Wi-Fi, with plenty power outlets and the bar is never too crowded. With a view on the Janskerkhof and the Dom tower, this is a great place to study.
Maybe you’ve already discovered this great hidden place in one of the university buildings: Drift 23. On the highest level of this building, you’ll find a lounge with long wooden benches, topped with enormous colorful pillows and
The best places to do... sports
By: Una Omeragic & Melodie Zöllner
The Netherlands is like jogging paradise for beginners at least. It’s flat and especially safe for runners. Utrecht has a lot of beautiful parks to take a run, but there are also a lot of neighborhoods with beautiful sceneries that will make the moment even more pleasant. You can either have a run around the school campus at the Uithof or enjoy the nature side of Utrecht in Lunetten. If you’re into straight walks, then try the stunning walking path at Kanaleneiland which borders the Amsterdamse Rijnkanaal. The neighborhood of Oog in Al has some nice sceneries as well. Bootcamps
The final study spot is Bar Beton, a fairly new café on the Korte Jansstraat 13-15. You can get a small espresso for €2,15, but they have plenty of other food and drinks (especially a wide variety of teas). There is plenty of space to work, from long tables to small bars with a great view of the street. Wi-Fi and power outlets are of course included.
During Spring/Summer boot camps are the IT-activity. Utrecht has tons of boot camps and you can find groups in basically every parc in the city, but also more towards the countryside. You have some just for women, just for men, just for students and so on. Almost every gym in Utrecht offers boot camp classes outside, but you can also join The Bootcamp Club (a bit more expensive though). When you become a member of this ‘club’ you can join boot camp groups at different levels at over 200 training locations throughout the Netherlands and many of them are located in Utrecht. Just bring your sports clothes wherever you go and you’ll be able to do some boot camping! Group activities
Each neighborhood has a neighborhood meeting place where they organize different sports activities like kickboxing, Zumba etcetera. If you don’t know where this place is then just google the name ‘buurthuis’ followed by your neighborhood. One address should pop up.
The best is to swing by and see on their announcement board what kind of activities they offer and if there is one where English speaking people can join. The Gym
Here in the Netherlands you have mainly two different gym-types. The expensive ones with personal touch and the super cheap ones that have something for everyone. Popular inexpensive gym studios are Basic Fit and Fit for Free though most of the time you have a one year contract if you want to pay the cheap price. However, The Workout gym offers to exchange students a special four months ESN gym subscription or a 20x check-in card! Olympos is probably one of the most popular gyms, since it is located at the Uithof, offers many sport activities for students of the HU and UU and costs only €14.5 a month with a student ID. Student Sport Associations
“Mens sana in corpore sano” – in other words: you get a healthy mind in a healthy body. And we all need that healthy mind in our studies! To bring together students in sport, many student sport associations have risen and most of them have gathered in sports complex Olympos. Name a sport and you’ll be able to do it here, from acrobatic dancing to wind surfing. Next to these student associations, Olympos offers small courses and group lessons, but you can also make use of their sport facilities by yourself. When you become a member of one of the 26 student sport association you get the double fun of doing sports at different levels, while enjoying all the fun of a student association with its ‘borrels’, activities and parties! For an overview of all the different sports, take a look at www.olympos.nl.
The best places to... explore culture
The best places to... go out
EKKO is a cool place if you want something a bit more different, yet in the city centre. They organise different nights ranging from crazy punk concerts to disco and house parties. Ticket prices can be a bit steep, especially if you’re planning to buy yours at the door, so you might want to book in advance. Tivoli Vredenburg
With a sophisticated bar at the ground floor and a huge dance floor upstairs, this place is ideal if you want to party in style! The club organises different events varying from live music to themed-parties like Halloween, so make sure you check out their website and find the event that suits you best. Stairway
Stairway has a stylish bar, lounge areas to chill and a huge dancing space. Different DJs provide the best beats so you’ll only be sitting down if you get too tired. Stairway also hosts weekly salsa, bachata and kizomba nights in cooperation with Salsa Project Utrecht, so you have no excuse to stay at home. Poema
Poema is the favourite spot of most internationals! Even though it is open on several nights during the week, the best day to go is Tuesday – there are some awesome ESNnights where you can get cheap drinks and party hard with all your friends! Nobelstraat bars
Ever heard of a black piste? If your goal is to pass as many bars as quickly as possible, this is
the street where you’ll start. The Nobelstraat is filled with small, cozy student bars where you can party until the early morning. One of the most popular bars is De Kneus. Open every day till 5am with the best (or worst) sing-along songs, this is the perfect place to end your night. But De Vrienden is also a must-visit. In the weekend they have live music and on Wednesday you can even roll the dice to win free drinks!
Miffy is definitely a recognized symbol of Utrecht - a little white bunny, the main character of picture books published by Dick Bruna. The interior of the museum is specially designed for families with young children, but is a very cute place to visit, and forget about your serious studies and grown up world!
Janskerkhof is a great meeting spot. Not only is it located super central, next to the university library, but it is also a great square for clubbing. Try Filemon to enjoy some steady dance- and house beats or its neighbor ‘t Pakhuis for some good sing-a-long songs and ultimate Dutch ‘gezelligheid’. Looking for a fancy night out with a bit older audience? Then Hofman Café is your place to be. On Thursdays it’s 18+, on Fridays 21+ and on Saturdays even 23+.
The Dom Tower The Dom Tower (or Domtoren in Dutch) is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, and is one of the main symbols of the city. At 112,5 metres in height, you should climb the tower and enjoy the beautiful view it offers!
The Netherlands is known for its top DJs, so it’s no wonder that you can enjoy many great festivals in this tiny country as well. For the same reason, most of them play house or techno music, but you can basically find festivals in any music genre you like. Lucky for you Utrecht also hosts quite a few. Some of the popular ones are Lief festival, Smeerboel, Into the Woods, Soenda and Le Guess Who. The Dutch love music, so you can always expect quite a few festivals on national holidays, with the most popular one of course on Kingsday, but don’t underestimate Liberation Day, Easter and Pentecost! Picture by: Tivoli Vredenburg
Utrecht definitely has the most beautiful canals in the Netherlands with their wharves and wharf cellars are unique in the world. It is a great place to just sit with your friends and enjoy the view or have a great dinner at one of the many restaurants located here!
The Centraal Museum is the oldest municipal museum of the country, and is the place where you will find the paintings by old Dutch masters, illustrations by Dick Bruna and many other artists! It is the main museum of Utrecht, and is a must for all the newbies if you want to know a bit more about the culture of Utrecht!
The best places to... have a drink and a bite Meneer Smakers
At the best burger bar in town you can enjoy a delicious hamburger, with homemade fries and even a local beer on the side for around ten euros. And when you’re feeling you could support the animals somewhat more it is no punishment at all to order one of the delicious vegetarian or even vegan burgers. Café Olivier
Located Achter Clarenburg 6, it is in the middle of the city centre. If you like to just drink ´a´ beer, then make sure to stay very far away from Café Olivier as they have an immense choice in special Dutch and Belgian beers with matching glasses for each option you pick! Café ´t Neutje
You definitely can’t miss Café ´t Neutje since it is located at the Neude square. It is a great place to enjoy a coffee during the day with your friends or get ready for a night out with some beers. Neude is the common meeting place, so you can just sit in your chair and watch the crowd! Lebowski Café
Lebowski Cafe is a unique cafe located at the Dom Square. The bar has a specific, and a bit weird, look with English top hats as lamps and a real-life giraffe against the wall. It is a great place to enjoy an evening beer with your friends!
‘t Oude Pothuys
Ready yourself for a great evening with live band performances, jam sessions and all other types of live music. ‘T Oude Pothuys can serve all your desired drinks and radically change the way you look at music. It is located at Oudegracht and there is a gig every night of the week. Varying from jazz to open mic and DJs, ‘t Oude Pothuys offers a unique atmosphere you must check out!
Mick O’Connells is the biggest Irish Bar in the heart of Utrecht. With multiple widescreen televisions, it is the ultimate place to drink a good beer and watch live football and other sports. But also for dinner this is a place to keep in mind as they serve great pub-food and even have special student dishes.
BBQ Bonfire Bash
The neighbor of Lebowski Café is not to be underestimated. For food you’re definitely at the right place with delicious three-course dinners for only €15 and two-course lunches for €6. If you want to come by for ‘just a drink’, remember to show your ESNcard. It gives you 20% discount on any drink!
Broodje Mario vs Broodje Ben
These two bread stalls are well known to every student in Utrecht. They are big competitors for the title of best sandwich stall in Utrecht and are the perfect solution if you just need to grab some lunch on the way. Which one’s the best? Well, try for yourself and decide!
iking Hitch H Picture by: Meneer Smakers
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[This article is earlier published
Finding a room in Utrecht:
As if moving to another country weren’t scary and exciting enough, you have probably noticed that finding a room in Utrecht as an international is quite the quest. Unfortunately, student houses for internationals are scarce. But not to worry! It may take some effort, but eventually there’s a room for everyone. Read the following tips on how and where to find a place to stay during your time here in Utrecht!
‘‘The struggle of finding yourself a place to stay’’ Since I’ve been forced to leave my apartment, I’m one of the hundreds of other homeless students in Utrecht. The last couple of weeks I reacted to many advertisements, which passed by on the Internet, but till the moment of writing this article I didn’t find a new place yet. Maybe you feel the same inner frustration about this topic; you are clearly not the only student right now searching for a new home.
By: Maaike Aans
on the ESN-Utrecht Blog. Interested in more articles? Take a look at esnutrecht-blog.com]
By: Willeke Geertsema
The most important thing to do if you’re still without a room is to sign up with SSH Utrecht. This organization offers student housing for affordable prices and has numerous buildings across the city centre and the Uithof campus. It has a fixed number of rooms available for exchange students and internationals and the system works on a first come, first serve basis. You should definitely sign up anyway since the longer you are registered, the bigger the chance you find a nice room.
A third option is to start following Facebook pages that show adverts for rooms in Utrecht. The most important ones to follow are: kamer in Utrecht, rooms/kamer/zimmer in Utrecht, kamers gezocht/aangeboden. Also try to creatively use your own network to find a room. Post a message on Facebook and ask your fellow Dutch students to help you.
If you have tried all of the above and are still without a room, there is another solution. You could start looking at accommodations outside Next to signing up with SSH, there are a of Utrecht. There are a couple of villages and number of websites that host housing adverts. cities that are absolutely lovely to live in, more They mostly work according the same principle; affordable and have a lot more rooms available. you will have to buy credit (around 10 euros) I would recommend starting to search for a which gives you the possibility to react on room in Zeist. This village is so close to the rooms. Make sure you give a clear description Uithof that it practically is part of Utrecht. of yourself, your hobbies etc. when leaving From here, it will take you about a 15-minute a comment for a room. Due to the huge gap bike ride to your uni. Another great option between supply and demand, you is Amersfoort; this city is really have to make sure your profile beautiful, a bit smaller than Utrecht ‘‘ Make sure but has the same characteristics. You stands out. If they like your message, you will probably be invited to a your profile can be in Utrecht within 15 minutes ‘hospiteeravond’ which is a viewing stands out’’ by train. of the room with several others that are interested. Hopefully each and every one of you will find a place that suits you. Finding The current residents will then choose someone a room in Utrecht can be a hassle, but don’t who can move into the room. The best websites let that get you down! Once you’ve found an to use are: www.kamernet.nl, www.kamertje.nl, accommodation you will feel right at home. www.kamerutrecht.nl and www.rooming.nl. More information can be found at www.esnutrecht.nl/housing
Every day spending hours scrolling down new experience. But when you succeeded on Facebook and posting some desperate in finding a room and get an invitation for words as; ‘I WANT A ROOM NOW’ in your a viewing, you might need to know some timeline and managing accounts at 5 different things before you actually go. We, Dutchies have the strange tradition of organizing a websites, which like to help you searching a ‘hospiteeravond’. This basically new room can be very discouraging. The moment ‘‘ We, Dutchies have means that a group of students, are all looking for a room, your environment starts the strange tradition who meet each other at a certain asking; ‘are you okay?’ you of organizing a ‘hospi- moment in the house were they realise; this has to change! are interested in. At this evening Even more when you teeravond’’ they introduce themselves to their notice you are not the only ‘future roommates’. So, how do one who is searching for you successfully survive a ‘hospiteeravond’ and the perfect place. Is it realistic to think about a even get the room in the end of the evening? ‘perfect’ place? I don’t think so. And when you finally find a place on the Internet, which isn’t These personal tips might help you to experience a expensive, too small or far from the centre, you successful ‘hospiteeravond’! might not meet all the requirements to get the 1. Be yourself. Make some casual jokes if you room. are this kind of person. 2. Don’t talk too much if you are nervous, most For instance, this article popped up in my of the time people get annoyed or you look timeline this week: sillier then you actually are. ‘We are looking for a new roommate, 18-20 3. You might score points if you bring them years old, in the beginning of his/her study, beer, wine or chocolate. who likes to hang out with us, join date diners, 4. Bring something with you that characterizes barbeque sessions and watch series together. It you or your country. would also be nice if you are a tidy person.’ 5. Smile! Nothing better then looking at a happy face. Nowadays, with this awful lot of students looking for a room, it’s normal to have many Good luck with finding yourself a ‘perfect requirements for finding a new roomie. For place’! And remember.. People make the place. some of you living on your own it’s alreadya
Beginner’s guide to cycling When you move to another country the first step to integrate into a new culture is to get used to different habits and behaviours. So when you move to the Netherlands you can’t ignore the fact that everyone has got a bike.
Lastly for the girls: make-up and clothes. Make-up is pretty easy: choose waterproof versions for rainy days. And if you use powder on your skin, try applying a foundation or primer first. That way, the loose powder won’t fly off your face whilst cycling. Regarding clothes, only skirts and dresses are a bit of a challenge. Here I can offer two tips: ride slowly, to avoid the wind getting underneath the skirt, and wear a pair of seamless (black) boy shorts underneath your dress or skirt, so you won’t be that exposed when your dress or skirt goes flapping in the wind.off your face whilst cycling.
are famous for their preferred way of transport: bikes. So naturally, we Dutchies have mastered the skill of cycling under the most hazardous conditions. But to be honest: no one will look dashing after cycling through a storm.
By: Teo Potenza & Nanda Bartelink
Because bikes are that popular in this beautiful country, they are obviously much more likely to get stolen. You can use one, two or twenty lockers, you can lock it together with another bike, or around a tree or a railing. Forget it, surrender, they are going to find a way. If your bike survives for more than 5 months you are considered lucky and if nobody steals your lights, well, it’s just a miracle. Let’s continue to the next step: if you manage to keep your bike, how do you manage to cycle and cope with the Dutch weather at the same time? We all know the Dutch weather is famous for its wind and rain. And the Dutch
The next step is your hair. Long and loose locks will turn into a tangled mess while riding a bike on a windy day. If it is windy, just tie your hair up in a low ponytail, and untie it when you get off your bike. Easy as that. Or just opt for hairstyles that are more resilient against the wind: pick a hairstyle that will require nonchalance, and you’re good. Other elements, like a sharp wind or just a tiny bit of rain, don’t prove to be such a challenge for Dutchies. Why? We come prepared. The fact that we’ve been riding our bikes since we were little kids, gives us the needed experience to avoid looking like a dishevelled heap of misery. There are a few easy ways to avoid the ‘dishevelled’ look. First of all: use modern technologies. Download the Buienalarm app, which will tell you exactly at what time it’ll rain on your location. You can even decide to get notifications shortly before it’ll rain. So if you’ve got class or a meeting, just check your phone in advance to see if you should leave a little earlier to avoid getting soaked.
Regarding clothes, only skirts and dresses are a bit of a challenge. Here I can offer two tips: ride slowly, to avoid the wind getting underneath the skirt, and wear a pair of seamless (black) boy shorts underneath your dress or skirt, so you won’t be that exposed when your dress or skirt goes flapping in the wind. [This article is a compilation of two posts on the ESN-Utrecht Blog. Interested in more articles? Take a look at esnutrechtblog.com]
Illustrative map by: Rob van Barneveld commissioned by Spot Utrecht
and the fairtrade shop ‘WAAR’ where you can –amongst many other items- find all the possible tastes of Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars. Talking about chocolate, the bonbon shop Leonidas is also located on this street. But there is more. There is this little bakery which sells typical famous Utrecht’s sweets and cookies, Domtower-shaped cookies! These form a great souvenir. Well, if you can resist the temptation to eat them all yourself. And for all the guys getting sick about this chocolate and sweets talk: a little bit further down the street (the name changes into Oudegracht there) you will find this crazy game shop with games of all possible kind to free the little boy in you.
Getting to know all these awesome places took me around five years. I am happy to spare you this time and share Utrecht’s true treasures with all of you. In my opinion, enjoying a city to the fullest lies in exploring those great spots far beyond all the obvious touristic highlights. By: Femke van der Meijs & Willeke Geertsema Lombok – For your daily vitamin-bomb
Lombok is an area located close by the Central Station at the Jaarbeurs-side. It is a multicultural area with a mosque as its signature. Along the central route Kanaalstraat through Lombok you will find a great amount of foreign shops. Most of them sell fruit, veggies and spices. All super fresh, delicious and for super low prices. It used to be a bit of a ‘bad neighborhood’ of Utrecht, but over the past years it slowly transformed into a new hip area where plenty of student houses popped up. Maybe it is just me missing my time abroad but I just love the fact the people spend most of their time out on the street. Chit-chatting, having coffee, selling their goods.
Voorstraat – For good food and much more
Ledig Erf – For a hint of hipster
Ledig Erf is an area at the south-end of the Oudegracht. It is a small second city center by itself. In the street Twijnstraat which is leading you to this area you will find various fruit-andveggie shops, bio and fairtrade coffee places and some cozy bars. A coffee place you cannot miss is Keek. ‘Keek’ is a popularly use of the word ‘cake’. In this case, ‘Keek’ also forms the abbreviation of ‘koffie en eerlijke keek’ which means: coffee and fair cake. At Ledig Erf itself you will find many many bars with relaxing terraces along with a great vibe. If you want a
good topic to talk about with your date over a drink you might consider watching a movie at the film house ‘Louis Hardlooper Complex’ beforehand which is also located there. The less mainstream, more arty movies can be viewed here. And if your date goes very well, you might want to add a dinner to it!
Lijnmarkt – For particular unique shops
If we head back from Ledig Erf to the main city center we come across the street called Lijnmarkt. It is a small street connected to the Oudegracht. This street is filled with those particular unique little shops. For example the shop ‘It’s a Present!’ for the most original gifts
The Voorstraat is located across from Neude Square behind the bunny statue. The Voorstraat is loaded with shops (including old fashioned record shops!), affordable hairdressers, coffee/ lunch places and even two supermarkets (Albert Heijn and Plus). Three of my favorite coffee/lunch places are: The Village, Gys and De Ontdekking (in English: The Discovery). The Village is an ultimate hipster place, Gys makes the best (bio!) lunches and dinners and De Ontdekking serves the most delicious tea and pastries. De Ontdekking is located in the crossing with the street called Drift –the street where the University Library is located. Which means it makes it the perfect place for a study break. The place is situated in a building of a former travel agency and they continued with this theme: they have products from all over the world. From Thai Chang beer to British scones with clotted cream. And always good to know: all the hot drinks are served with Tiny Tony’s Chocolonely’s. Cannot find an empty spot at De Ontdekking? Try the neighbors: De Bakkerswinkel (in English: Bakery Shop), they sure will not disappoint you either.
Top Dutch cities to visit
The perfect getaway destinations in the Netherlands As awesome as Utrecht is (as you will soon discover just how versatile the city is), it would fail to give you a complete overview of the Netherlands. So, here’s our short guide to the best Dutch destinations beside Utrecht! By: Betti Sciba Amsterdam Haarlem
History & Architecture: Utrecht isn’t the only city that will entice you with its history and architecture. In Maastricht, you can visit amazing pieces of architecture such as the Basilica of Our Lady and the Basilica of Saint Servatius, while taking in the exotic mixture of Dutch, Belgian and German cultures. The Hague, a city with historical importance in governance, is equally impressive with the unique combination of the historical city centre and the modern district with futuristic innovative buildings. Delft, a famous university town close to The Hague, offers wonderful sights like the New Church, the Old Church and the enchanting Gemeenlandshuis; you can witness breath-taking architecture just by walking down the street. The Hague
Shopping: If you want to find the best places to shop till you drop, the Netherlands is ideal for you. Amsterdam is the city with the most diversity to shop; not only it has the extremely long Kalverstraat, filled with all the well-known shops, it also has some other great shopping areas: check out 9 straatjes for vintage shops. Don’t worry, you can find everything from luxury brands to local food and fabric markets in the capital. If you’re looking for a more cosy and charming shopping experience, you should definitely visit Den Bosch, not far from Utrecht. The city is famous for its little streets filled with specialty shops, little boutiques and other extraordinary shops!
Dutch life: Get a taste of the traditional Netherlands and go to Haarlem, a city that has a charming medieval character to it. Soak up the city’s vibe and take a long walk around the Grote Markt, the heart of the city where many festivals and markets are organised, or go on a canal cruise to see all the sights! If you want to see someplace fascinating (and have access to a car to get there – the otherwise great public transportation system isn’t your friend now), Giethoorn is worth a visit. The only way to get around in the old quarter of the village is on the water; the Venice of the Netherlands is waiting for you!
Partying: As a student, you probably want to know about the best cities to party and dance the night away. Rotterdam is mostly known as a clubbing city because of places like Toffler, a club in a former metro tunnel and Rotown, a restaurant that transforms into a kick-ass concert/party venue. However, the city also offers a mix of awesome cocktail bars, pubs and great concert venues! Eindhoven is also a great place to blow off some steam. It’s an incredibly diverse city with spots like Stratumseind, the longest pub street in the Netherlands filled with different venues playing anything from rock to salsa and Bermuda, a club that offers themed parties and great tunes!
Where to find your fellow Arriving alone in a strange city might seem scary, but luckily youâ€™re not the only one in this position. Utrecht has the pleasure to welcome over 3000 international students every year and this number is increasing! But where do you find all these excited internationals, ready to explore this gorgeous city with you? Let us give you a small overview of the student complexes in Utrecht with the greatest amount of international students.
international students?! Achter de Dom
Utrecht University Campus
By: Willeke Geertsema
Rooms in Student Complex Tuindorp West Complex
Enny Vredelaan Casa Confetti
Rooms in Student Houses
Places to go when you have spare time! We have gathered only a few inside and outside of Utrecht for your recreational needs and we hope you enjoy. By: Annalise Garrett, Betti Csiba & Sammy Shawky
tely free of charge and you can stay till 4.30 pm to make the most of your afternoon. And since the garden officially belongs to the university, you have eduroam WiFi! Park Bloeyendael
Kasteel de Haar Utrecht
This is a perfect location if you want to make a day trip! Kasteel de Haar is situated in a beautiful location and the cycle there is just as breathtaking as the final destination itself. The castle has been described like something from a fairytale and the grounds are full of flowers and trees to add to the majestic feeling. Tienhoven
If the weather is nice you should cycle to this beautiful lake! Especially in Autumn when the sunset is breathtaking! The cycle there is only 30 minutes from the Neude and you’ll see lovely little streams and fields on the way. Bring your friends and have a dip in the water, sunbathe or revise in peace! People have BBQ’s on the grass and even fish in this lake, some went off on their little boat into the sunset. There are a few parks that are situated inside of Utrecht that you can get to on your bike on your way to or from class! Betti has suggested some as followed!
This wonderful spot halfway between the city centre and the Uithof is a heaven for those wanting to escape the nerve-racking closed spaces of the library. There’s a huge grass-covered area where you can lay down on your favourite blanket with some snacks and focus on your studies. Caution: if the weather is extra nice, the park can get overcrowded with students playing football and young families! The Botanic Garden
If you have many classes on the Uithof campus, spending another minute there might feel like punishment. That shouldn’t be the case when you think of the Botanic Garden filled with rare species. If you’re a student or an employee at Utrecht University, entry is comple
If you live at Pythagoraslaan this is a bonus! Located near Rijnsweerd-Noord, this natural park is a short cycle away from the centre of Utrecht. Instead of neatly trimmed lawns and designated picnic areas, you’ll find wildflower meadows, a water lily pond and a varied flora and fauna here. If you come here to revise be careful to remain focused on your studies: the numerous hiking trails and the local botanical garden will lure you into leaving your books and discovering nature instead! Rhijnauwen
Rhijnauwen - Our writer Sammy suggested this location and it is on the three estates, together with Amelisweerd and Oud-Amelisweerd that make up the closest forest near Utrecht. The estates date back to the 13th century and also still have some lovely manors and other buildings, of which some you can actually enter. After you have had a stroll around the forest go to one of the three little restaurants that the forest has.
Find out more locations and in more depth in our ESN blog at: https://esnutrecht-blog.com/
How to date a Dutchie? If you’ve come to the Netherlands as a lucky single and you intend to score a Dutchie, you should definitely read these tips and tricks! Because getting it on with a Dutch girl or guy might not be as easy as it seems… (Beware though that these are generalisations; not every girl is exactly the same, nor is every guy. When dating someone, just go with the flow and see where it takes you!) By: Nanda Bartelink & Tessa Vermeir
For the guys: Dating a Dutch girl can be a different experience than what you’re used to. Generally, the Dutch are quite pragmatic, a characteristic that is reflected in their behaviour as well. An example from my personal experience: when I told my international friends I wasn’t sure about a dress I’d bought, because it was a bit too tight to cycle in, they all laughed at me for thinking about a dress that way… you get the gist. Most Dutch girls, without maybe even being aware of it, prefer to dress practically, or at least not too chic, so don’t be surprised when she shows up at your date in her favourite comfy jeans! Especially if you’re meeting in a café for coffee or in a bar in the early evening; in the minds of most Dutch girls, it is just not the kind of occasion to dress up for (we’ll save our dresses and heels for special occasions, like weddings… just kidding!).
can be quite emancipated and won’t be shy to speak their mind. This means for example that after a few dates (or maybe already after the second) she’ll want to split the bill, or even pay for you both. This is not because she doesn’t appreciate you taking her out or wanting to pick up the bill, it’s just a sign saying that she too is making money and able to spend it on something fun. Refusing to split can turn into an awkward situation; the easiest solution is to just go with it.
Another thing you might want to know: most girls do like romance, but in a distant, not-onthe-first- ten-dates way. Sure, when you’ve been boyfriend-girlfriend for a while, you can go all-out with flowers, candles and chocolate, but try to contain yourselves in the beginning, guys! Nothing will make ‘‘ most girls do a Dutch girl feel more uncomfortable than making like romance, a romantic gesture in public, but in a distant, however sweet or good the not-on- the-firstintention. However, if you get lucky enough and she invites ten-dates way’’ you to her place, flowers or a good bottle of wine will only put you in her good favour. Last thing to keep in mind: Dutch girls
For the girls: Some of the above also applies to Dutch guys, for example the not-too- romantic part. Gender roles are not very strict in the Netherlands – the women can be quite feministic, and the men don’t generally feel the need to be super-manly all the time – and while some guys like to be romantic with their bae’s, they won’t show it in the beginning. For all of you girls who come from a country where the roles are more traditional in the sense that guys actively court girls: beware, because Dutch guys are not really used to that. This doesn’t mean of course that they won’t (try to) chase you, but just don’t expect any romantic gestures from the start on: Dutch girls get uncomfortable when a guy brings flowers on the first date, so this is something that Dutch guys simply don’t think of doing. Even later on, when you’ve been dating for a while and he comes to your place for the first time, don’t expect him to bring anything special – but when he does bring flowers or wine, you know you’ve found yourself a good one! Dutch girls can be rather emancipated: they split the bill and sometimes make the first move. And because Dutch guys are used to this, they will definitely not be too surprised when you make the first move: for them too, just like for girls, it is very flattering. So if you’ve been making eye contact with a cutie in a club the whole
evening, but he doesn’t come over, be courageous and go for it yourself! Nothing is sexier than an independent woman who knows what she wants, and who’ll do what she needs to do to get it – guys included. Don’t overdo it though: boys will be boys, and most boys still like to feel they’re in charge and have to do some of the conquering. As you’ll notice, or maybe already know, Dutchies are rather tall. The average for girls is 1.70 meters, for guys it’s around 1.80 meters. This can be a bit intimidating, but you’ll probably get used to it. And you can even turn it into an advantage when you’re a bit shorter! Even though Dutch girls prefer to dress comfortably, a lot of guys love to see heels. With you being shorter than the average, you won’t have to worry about being taller than your date – there’s a very small chance that will happen. So go out and pick up a Dutch guy or girl!
‘‘ Dutch girls get uncomfortable when a guy brings flowers on the first date’’
[This article was published on the ESN-Utrecht Blog. Interested in more articles? Take a look at esnutrechtblog.com]
Do’s and Don’ts How to survive in Utrecht in a handy bullet list. There is no better way than to get the do’s and don’ts to survive in Utrecht from both the help of Dutch residents and an international student! By: Annalise Garrett Do’s
1. Get a bike as soon as possible: Public transportation is quite expensive (and often takes more time than traveling by bike) and taking a taxi is almost unaffordable, so learn to ride the bike! 2. Check the ESN Blog: https://esnutrechtblog.com/. This is a handy and informative way to figure out how to get the best of your time in the Netherlands! They offer so many interesting tips and places to go a few times a week! If you want to know something and think it will benefit the rest of the internationals, let the JoCo team know! 3. Go out when the sun is shining: Unfortunately the sun does not visit our tiny country that often, so when the sun is shining you should enjoy it as much as possible. And if you are planning to get a drink on the terrace, make sure to go early because chances are you will not find any place to sit since everybody will want to enjoy that little bit of sunshine. 4. Start your memory building now: It is important to start right now building photographs or taking videos for your collection of memories at the end. There is a neat blog on the ESN Blog page where you can find all the information you need, but a few ideas might be to start a journal, take photographs or collect souvenirs everywhere you go (something little like a beer coaster). 5. Sign up for the ESN activities: The ESN activities are amazing. It is the perfect way to
meet new people. And the trips are the cheapest and most enjoyable way to see as much as possible of The Netherlands. Do it quick though, as places get fully booked within an hour! Don’ts
1. Buy your bike from a hobo: He might be an undercover policeman and you will have to pay a fine! This already happened to a couple of Erasmus students. 2. Let the weather get to you: If you are going to stay inside because it is raining, you might never leave your house. So get an umbrella, maybe even a raincoat and out you go. You will see people even cycling with an umbrella! 3. Forget where you left your bike: Remember where you put your bike exactly, because you may have trouble finding it back between all the other bikes. Especially in the middle of the night! You can also paint your bike in a happy bright color. 4. Expect the bus driver to stop for you: If you miss the bus, you missed the bus. Even if the driver sees you running, he will not wait and he will not stop. They have a pretty strict schedule and they like to keep up with it. 5. Pay too many rounds of drinks: When you are in Dutch company, a treat means a treat. If you buy someone a drink it does not automatically mean they will buy you a drink as well. He or she will be very appreciative though. Now you understand why.
Notes to yourself Your first few days here are sure to be very hectic. ESN Utrecht provided you with this magazine to get you started, but if it so happens that you got some information that you didn’t get in this booklet, make sure you write it down here to remember it!