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1 Welcome to Utrecht

Welcome to Utrecht Living abroad and studying at a different university can be an adventure and a challenge. Utrecht University (UU), Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) and Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) are pleased to welcome you as our guest. We will do our best to make your stay here as rewarding and as pleasant as possible. ‘Welcome to Utrecht’ aims to answer questions that may arise during your stay in Utrecht. The guide discusses general matters relating to your study at the University or Hogeschool, but also regarding your day-to-day life in Utrecht: practical matters such as opening hours of shops, the Dutch healthcare system and entertainment in Utrecht. Of course, the information in this guide is not complete, but you can always request assistance from the staff of the International Office of the relevant institute, as well as from your student advisor or any of the other organisations named in this guide. Welcome to Utrecht! We hope you will find the information in this guide useful. If you have any suggestions or comments, please do not hesitate to let us know. We hope you will enjoy your stay!


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contentS 1 city and study Useful information & addresses Study Getting around Health Markets, shops and libraries Media and telephone

4 5 6 8 10 12 14

2 Resources for international students Finding information Organisations at UU, HKU and HU International student organisations Religious organisations

16 17 17 20 22

3 Leisure What to do & where to go Going out Sports & recreation

24 25 26 28


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5 Culture shock What is culture shock?

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6 leaving utrecht Preparing for your departure

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MAPS Map De Uithof Map city centre

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Content s

4 money matters Money Working in Utrecht Insurance


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Useful information & addresses Telephone ➽ The Netherlands country code, 31 ➽ Utrecht area code, 030 General emergency number ➽ Ambulance, fire brigade and police, (do not use an area code) 112 (only in case of emergency) ➽ Police (no emergency): 0900 – 8844 Dialling abroad from the Netherlands ➽ 00 + (country code) + (area code without the first 0) + (local subscriber number) ➽ International directory assistance, (do not use an area code) 0900 - 8418, www.kpn.com Information numbers in Utrecht ➽ City Hall (Burgerzaken), tel. (030) 286 0000, www.utrecht.nl Utrecht, Arthur van Schendelstraat 500, tel. (030) 286 0000, open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 09.00-17.00, Thursday 9.00-21.00 ➽ City Information Centre, tel. (030) 286 0000, www.utrecht.nl/informatiecentrum ➽ Tourist Information Office (VVV), (do not use an area code) (0900) 128 8732, www.12utrecht.nl Embassy or consulate To locate your country’s embassy or consulate, you can check the internet site of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, www.minbuza.nl. You can also call the In-


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ternational Office or Student Service Centre at your institute, or your own contact person in the relevant department or faculty. Utrecht University ➽ General number, tel. (030) 253 3550, www.uu.nl ➽ Student Services/International Office, tel. (030) 253 7000, FAQ and e-mail: www.qdesk.uu.nl/english ➽ www.studentenservice.uu.nl/english Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) ➽ General number, tel. (030) 233 2256, www.hku.nl ➽ Student Service Centre, tel. (030) 2349 440, http://sscweb.hku.nl Hogeschool Utrecht, University of Applied Sciences ➽ General number, tel. (030) 236 8040, www.international.hu.nl ➽ International Office, tel. (030) 275 8928, io@hu.nl Yellow Pages (Gouden Gids) Shops and services are listed alphabetically. In the Dutch index, many important listings are translated in other languages. You can also check www.goudengids.nl Accommodation The SSH Short Stay Housing offers to find (temporary) accommodation for international students. More information on www.shortstaysolutions.nl An overview of the conditions of the housing agreement can be found on www.uu.nl/housing and http://sscweb.hku.nl

Study Utrecht University Located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht University is one of Europe’s leading universities, recognised internationally for its high-quality, innovative approach to both research and teaching. In the international league table compiled by Jiao Tong University in Shanghai, Utrecht University was rated as the best university in


7 Administrative offices & faculties The central administrative offices are located in the Administration Building (Bestuursgebouw) in De Uithof: ➽ Office of the University, Bestuursgebouw, Heidelberglaan 8, 3584 CS Utrecht, P.O. Box 80.125, 3508 TC Utrecht, tel. (030) 253 3550 ➽ Information about Master’s programmes and Master’s co-ordinators: www.internationalmasters.uu.nl Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) offers each person with flair for and an interest in an art-oriented career the opportunity to develop themselves professionally. You too can choose from the many course options offered by the HKU. Whether you want to be a performing musician, designer, art and media manager, painter, actor, teacher, media technology expert or television programme maker, the HKU is the institute to help you realise your dreams. With around 3,500 students, the HKU is one of the largest art and culture-oriented universities of professional education in Europe. The HKU offers preparatory courses, Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes and research degrees. The courses are divided between 24 Schools, which are supported and led at an organisational level by 5 faculties. ➽ Central Office, Student Service Centre, P.O.Box 1520, 3500 BM Utrecht tel. (030) 234 9440, www.hku.nl, visiting address: Lange Viestraat 2, Utrecht Hogeschool Utrecht University of Applied sciences Hogeschool Utrecht (HU) was founded in January 1995 and is a merger of a large number of independent institutes. Hogeschool Utrecht is one of the largest educational institutions in the Netherlands and is grant-aided by the state. It has six faculties and more than 30,000 students with over 100 different nationalities. The faculties are located in the centre of Utrecht, on the campus De Uithof and in the town of Amersfoort (HU Amersfoort, 25 km from Utrecht).

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the Netherlands, the 6th best university in Europe and the 41th best in the world. Utrecht University has 7 faculties.


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➽ Central Organisation, PO Box 573, 3500 AN Utrecht, visiting address: Oudenoord 330, Utrecht, tel. (030) 230 8108, International Office, PO Box 13272, 3507 LG Utrecht, visiting address: F.C. Dondersstraat 65, Utrecht, tel. (030) 275 8928, www.international.hu.nl, io@hu.nl, Study information centre tel. (030) 236 8040.

Getting around Public transport General information for all public transport is available at telephone number (0900) 9292 or www.9292ov.nl. If you do not want to cycle in Utrecht you can take the bus. The city buses are classified with numbers. Which bus you have to take depends on the district where you stay. For more information you can go to the Utrecht Central Station: Stationsplein, ‘Informatie Kiosk’. ➽ www.gvu.nl (not in English). Trains Information on the Netherlands Railways (Nederlandse Spoorwegen) and train schedules is available at 0900-9292 and www.ns.nl / www.9292ov.nl. Traintickets must be bought from the ticket office or a ticket vending machine at the train station. Buy a ticket before boarding the train. Various special offers are available. If you travel regularly: The Off-peak Discount Pass for one year (Voordeelurenkaart) gives a 40% reduction on Monday to Friday after 9 a.m., during the weekend and on public holidays. Price: € 55.- As Discount Pass holder you can travel with up to three people, who can enjoy the same 40% discount on the full fare. With a Railplus you can travel all over Europe with 25% discount. Price: € 15,➽ For special occasions or short periods of intensive use check www.ns.nl. Buses and trams Both city and regional buses depart from and arrive at the central bus station just outside Utrecht Central Station. The north side of the bus station is for the blue-and-white city buses. Buses 11, 12 and 12s travel frequently to and from the


9 A multiple-ride ticket (strippenkaart) is essential for travel on all buses, trams and underground systems in the Netherlands. This works on the basis that you pay one strip to board the bus plus one strip per zone crossed (one zone: two strips, two zones: three strips etc.). The bus driver stamps your strips as you get on the bus, and they remain valid for multiple rides within one hour. Ask at bus stations for information on the zone system. The strippenkaart is available at the post-office, bus and railway stations and news agents / tobacconists, where they are cheaper than on the bus or tram itself. In a tram and some buses you may have to stamp the ticket yourself in the yellow automatic machine. The most convenient card has 15 strips and costs € 6,90. An average journey in Utrecht costs 2 strips, a bus ride to De Uithof (the University campus) costs 3 strips. If you often travel by bus, it is worth inquiring about season tickets for reduced fares. The Netherlands by bicycle On arrival in this country, you will notice one thing very quickly: almost everybody in the Netherlands rides a bicycle (fiets). We recommend that you buy a used bicycle that does not look too new or expensive, as bicycle theft is rather common. Buying a very good lock (or two) is a must. Bicycle repairs can be done at almost any bicycle shop in the city centre, and in De Uithof. Bicycles can be rented at most railway stations. At secured bicycle-shelters, bicycles can be parked safely and cheaply. There are several of these in town, the ‘fietsenstallingen’ at Overvecht railway station and at Utrecht Central Station www.u-stal.nl The Netherlands by car Renting a car It is safer to stick to some well-established companies such as Avis than trying a cheap and obscure one. Parking In the city centre, either in public car parks or at a parking meter, parking always costs money. Yellow lines mean that parking is prohibited. The fine for illegal parking

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University campus De Uithof. The south side of the bus station is for the regional buses, which are yellow or green. For more information on the buses check www.gvu.nl / www.9292ov.nl


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is about € 50.- If you have parked your car at a very awkward place, the police may tow it away. To get it back, you must pay the fine plus the costs for the removal of your car. Driving through Utrecht is difficult because of the one streets. Traffic regulations Dutch traffic regulations are bound to be somewhat different from the system in your country of origin. Therefore, be sure to familiarise yourself with the basic rules: ➽ In general: traffic, including bicycles, coming from the right has right of way (unless indicated otherwise by shark’s teeth markings on the road) ➽ At roundabouts: traffic on the roundabout has right of way, except when the roundabout is marked otherwise by a traffic sign. ➽ If you turn your car off a main road, oncoming bicycles have right of way, as do oncoming pedestrians. ➽ The speed limit on motorways and highways is 120 km per hour except where a limit of 80 or 100 km is specially indicated. On secondary roads, the speed limit is 80 km per hour. Within city limits, the limit is generally 50 km per hour but often less. Watch the signs. ➽ Please pay special attention to bicycles, they are protected by Dutch traffic law. Cars are usually found at fault in case of accidents.

Health Health services Emergency service In case of accidents or sudden illness requiring immediate medical attention, call the general emergency number, dial 112, or the Emergency Service at the hospital nearest to your home (see list of hospitals on page 12). General Practitioner (GP) You can find a General Practitioner by looking in the Yellow Pages (Gouden Gids) under Artsen-huisartsen or check www.utrecht.nl. You can also go to the Symphony Health Center, Galgenwaard, Herculesplein 379, www.zorgingalgenwaard.nl. If you are insured through AON, Symphony will forward your bills automatically and you do not have to pay them yourself first. It is advisable to register with a GP.


11 Specialists You can only see a specialist after having consulted your General Practitioner. They will give you a letter of reference for the specialist. With this letter, you can claim reimbursement from your health insurance. Note: The eye-specialist can be visited without a reference from your General Practitioner. Weekend and night services A group of GP’s usually share these duties and take turns being on call. If you phone your own General Practitioner after hours you will probably hear a recorded message, in Dutch, telling you where the GP on call can be reached. You can find this information on the website of your GP as well if they have one. The local newspaper provides the names and addresses of General Practitioners, dentists and pharmacies on call. Prescriptions Prescriptions should be taken to the nearest pharmacy (apotheek). Insurance companies refund most of the cost of medicines prescribed by a General Practitioner, in which case the bills should be sent to them. If the pharmacy has an agreement with your insurance company, the prescription will be paid automatically. You can buy non-prescription medication such as painkillers and cough medicine at a drugstore (drogist) or pharmacy. Dentist In general, dental treatment is not covered by health insurance, but you can get special coverage. A dentist will always give you a cost-estimate on your first visit. Usually you will need to pay in cash. You can look in the Yellow Pages (Gouden Gids) under Tandartsen.

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The General Practitioner can be consulted after you have made an appointment by telephone or during their consulting hours. Approximately ten minutes are allowed per appointment but you may ask for a longer appointment in advance if you feel this will be necessary. House calls (visite) are kept to a minimum as they are more expensive. You will need to pay cash, unless you have a European Health Insurance Card. More on health insurance, see the chapter on money matters.


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Hospitals (ziekenhuizen) in Utrecht ➽ UMC-Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100 (De Uithof), tel. (030) 250 9111 ➽ Diakonessenhuis Utrecht, Bosboomstraat 1, tel. (030) 256 6566 ➽ Mesos Medisch Centrum Ouderijn, Van Heuven Goedhartlaan 1, tel. (030) 2953953

Markets, shops and libraries Markets General markets ➽ Utrecht, Vredenburg, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday ➽ Utrecht, Overvecht, Thursday morning ➽ Utrecht, Kanaleneiland, Friday morning ➽ Utrecht, Smaragdplein, Tuesday ➽ Zeist, Belcour, Thursday Biological market Utrecht, Vredenburg, Friday Textile market Utrecht, Breedstraat, Saturday morning Flower market Utrecht, Janskerkhof, Saturday Shops Types of shops Here is a short guide to Dutch words for different types of shop: barber / hairdresser kapper / kapsalon bicycle (repair) shop fietsen(maker) / -winkel bookshop boekenwinkel butcher slager clothes shop kledingzaak drugstore (no prescription) drogisterij florist bloemist


13 meubelzaak groenteboer apotheek platenzaak, cd-winkel schoenenwinkel

Note: The words reclame, aanbieding and voordeel all indicate a genuine or supposed bargain. Opruiming and uitverkoop mean sale. When to do your shopping Opening hours of shops are as follows: Monday to Friday 09.00-18.00 and Saturday 09.00-17.00 (some supermarkets 08.00 to 20.00 or 22.00). Note that many shops stay closed on Monday morning. Many shops in Utrecht, especially those in the city centre, are open on Thursday evening (koopavond or late night shopping, usually 19.00-21.00) and the first Sunday of the month. Shops in the villages and some of the smaller shopping centres in the suburbs of Utrecht have their koopavond on Friday evening (usually 19.00-21.00). Bookshops ➽ Selexyz Broese, Stadhuisbrug 5 (city centre, opposite Town Hall), Minrebroeder straat 13, Heidelberglaan 2 (De Uithof) www.broese.net ➽ Cut-price and second-hand books: De Slegte, Oudegracht 121; Hinderickx en Winderickx, Oude Gracht 234 Buying food Most likely there are all kinds of shops, grocers, bakeries, butchers, etc. close to your home. If you wish to do most of your shopping in one go, you may find an Albert Heijn, Spar, Aldi, C1000, Super de Boer or other supermarket close by. Second-hand shops ➽ Salvation Army (Leger des Heils), Oudwijkerdwarsstraat 120 www.legerdesheils.nl ➽ Emmaus, Mgr. van de Weteringstraat 1 or Makassarstraat 36, www.emmaus-utrecht.nl ➽ De Alternatieve Renovatie Maatschappij (A.R.M.), Oudegracht 247, Verlengde Hoogravenseweg 69a / b / c, 71

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furniture shop greengrocer pharmacy (prescription) record shop shoe shop


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Libraries University Library Utrecht The University Library Utrecht (UBU) consists of various individual libraries, located in the centre of Utrecht and at De Uithof. The University Library Utrecht has an online catalogue www.library.uu.nl which can be used to search the collection, request or renew books. You have to be registered as library user in order to borrow books. A registered user can borrow books from all the libraries of Utrecht University. Students can use their student card as library card. Hogeschool students and students from Utrecht School of the Arts can also use The University Library Utrecht. Libraries at Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) All faculties have specialised libraries, which are situated near the relevant instruction areas. All libraries have several computer workstations, complete with internet hook-up, which are at the disposal of students. Most students theses are incorporated into the library’s collection. For more information on the libraries and their online catalogues see http://bid.hku.nl. Faculty libraries at the Hogeschool Utrecht All locations of Hogeschool Utrecht are equiped with a media library. Check www.hu.nl/mediatheek for more information and online library. Public libraries There are quite a number of public libraries for books and music in Utrecht. After paying subscription to any branch of the public library, you can borrow books and music (sheet music, cassettes, CD’s, DVD’s, CD-Rom’s, video) from all the other branches. Each library also has books in many foreign languages (English, German, French, Turkish, Arabic). The annual membership for adults costs around € 34.The main city library, including the music library, is: ➽ Gemeente Bibliotheek Utrecht, Oudegracht 167, tel. (030) 286 1800, www.utrecht.nl/bibliotheek


15 Newspapers & magazines International newspapers and magazines can be bought at a number of bookshops, tobacconists and Utrecht Central Station. The reading rooms of the public library and the University library, as well as Parnassos in De Uithof also have a selection of the most important international papers (not for sale). The University U-blad is published every week, free of charge, and available at all university buildings. The Hogeschool Utrecht Trajectum is published every two weeks. Free of charge and available in all hogeschool buildings. Telephone For country codes and time-differences check the telephone directory. For international calls dial 00, then the country code, the area code omitting the first zero and then the subscriber number. Phone numbers in the Netherlands starting with 0900 cost a variable amount per minute, those starting with 0800 are free of charge. Mobile phone It may be very expensive to use your foreign mobile phone in the Netherlands. The best solution is to buy one here. The Netherlands offers a wide range of telephone providers. Check www.bellen.com for more information. Most large media stores offer good deals.

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Media and telephone


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FINDING INFORMATION General information concerning your stay in Utrecht may be obtained from the Student Services International Office of Utrecht University or the Student Service Center of Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU), or from the International Relations Offices of Hogeschool Utrecht (University of Applied Sciences). Specific information concerning your study at the University or institute may be obtained from the international or administration office of the relevant department or faculty. Specific information concerning your residence permit, or work permit can be obtained from the International Office. For addresses and telephone numbers see the section on the University or relevant institute in brief. There are also student organisations, which help students from abroad.

Organisations at UU, HKU and HU Utrecht University Student Services Student Services provides information and advice on all kinds of matters for students, such as admissions and enrolment, registration and tuition fees, financial matters, VISA residence permit and student financial assistance. But also matters such as complaints procedures and activities of student organisations. Also see below which services are offered. ➽ Student Services Bestuursgebouw, Heidelberglaan 8, De Uithof Monday – Friday 11.00 – 16.00


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Tel. (030) 253 7000, Monday - Friday, 10.00-12.00 and 13.00-15.00 www.studentenservice.uu.nl/english or www.Qdesk.uu.nl/english Registration with the University International students coming to the University as full-time degree students (that is, not under an exchange programme) can go to Student Services for help with admission and enrolment, or with any other problems they may encounter. International Office/exchange Exchange students should contact their coordinator at the International Office or the Erasmus coordinator of their specific programme. Student counselling In case of illness, special family circumstances, pregnancy, disability, RSI, studyrelated problems or personal problems, first contact your student advisor at the faculty. If they are unable to help you, they will refer you to the student counsellors, academic support counsellor or student psychologists of Student Services. You can also contact Student Services for matters such as education or career orientation, or outstanding athletic performances. Complaints and appeals Student Services assists students who want to file a complaint or an appeal, but don’t know how to start or whom to address. Complaints about sexual harassment, discrimination, aggression or violence can be left on the answering machine of the confidential counsellor, tel. (030) 253 9977. Your phone call will be returned as soon as possible. Faculty Student Advisor Student advisors have the specific role of helping you whenever possible, to prevent and/or find solutions to problems relating to your study and stay in Utrecht. The student advisor works in the faculty and therefore has excellent insight into the possibilities and problems of studying in your particular discipline. Furthermore, they have good contacts with the lecturers in the faculty and can therefore act as a link between teaching staff and students. Some faculties have more than one student advisor.


19 Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) Student Service Centre The Student Service Centre (SSC) is the main helpdesk for all (international) students. Please contact the SSC for information and help in all matters: accommodation, language courses, insurance, financing, practical aspects, application and admission registration as well as student counsellors. ➽ Student Service Centre, P.O.Box 1520, 3500 BM Utrecht, tel. (030) 234 9440, visiting address: Lange Viestraat 2, Utrecht, info@ssc.hku.nl, http://sscweb.hku.nl The student advisors give information and advice on Dutch student financing (studiefinanciering), credits, visa, work and official regulations. In case your study is not as successful as you planned, you can discuss this with one of the student counsellors. They can assist you in finding the cause of the problem and help you to diminish the (financial) consequences. In disputes with a teacher or the board of the Faculty, the student counsellor can function as an intermediary, and (if necessary) can advise you about the steps to take in a legal procedure. In short, the student counsellor can help or advise you in almost all situations outside the classroom. Of course, the student counsellors understand the secrecy of your problems. They have an independent position. In case of sexual harassment you can contact one of the special contact persons for students. Appointments with student counsellors should be made through the Student Service Centre. Hogeschool Utrecht, University of Applied sciences International Office The International Office coordinates the international relations of Hogeschool Utrecht. It provides services to foreign students (registration, grants, advice for housing), information and service about studying abroad/international internship for HU students, service and organisation of staff exchange (staff mobility), advise to faculties and courses concerning international activities.

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James Boswell Instituut This centre provides Dutch and English language courses at several levels. Especially for exchange students a ‘Boswell Welkom Course’ is provided. See ‘courses’ in the chapter on leisure. ➽ www.jbi.uu.nl


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It also provides the faculty offices with information on institutions abroad, financial matters, scholarships, etc. The International Office of Hogeschool Utrecht has an international desk at three locations. Walk-in hours are: ➽ Faculty of Economics and Management, open daily Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 09.00-12.00, location Blue Desk (0.111) ➽ Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology, open Monday and Thursday from 09.00-12.00, location: Student Desk. ➽ HU Amersfoort, open Wednesday 09.00-12.00, location: Student Desk Facility Management 6th floor. ➽ International Office, P.O. Box 13272, 3507 LG Utrecht, tel. (030) 275 8928, visiting address: F.C. Dondersstraat 65, Utrecht. ➽ For information on the other faculties: www.international.hu.nl Student advisor Each faculty also has a special student advisor to help you solve problems relating to your study or sexual harassment complaints. All consultations are treated confidentially. Please contact our international relations officers, they will give you the name of your faculty’s student advisor: ➽ Ms. Inge Sanders, inge.sanders@hu.nl, tel. (030) 275 8926 or ➽ Ms. Liliana Castillo, liliana.castillo@hu.nl, tel.(030) 275 8923. Registration Office If you are a regular student you can contact the Registration Office for information about registration matters, official statements and so on. ➽ Registration Office, P.O. Box 8218, 3503 RE Utrecht, tel. (030) 273 9111, visiting address: Oudenoord 330, 3513 EX Utrecht.

International student organisations Apart from the above-mentioned departments, faculties, offices and officers, you can also request information or help from a number of enthusiastic Dutch students and University-related volunteers, who are organized in various student organisations. The student organisations aim to provide all kinds of social activities, including counselling, for the benefit of students from abroad. Activities for foreign students organized by any of these organisations are announced in the University weekly, the U-blad.


21 Student Association for International Relations (SIB) The Dutch United Nations Student Associations (DUNSA) is the English name for SIB. This non-political association is aligned with the United Nations. DUNSA (SIB) is structured in various societies dedicated to one international topic, as Human Rights, International Cabaret, Zaibatsu, Cooking, Cultura Mondiale a.o. Members of SIB are usually Dutch students who are interested in international relations and topics in a broad sense. ➽ SIB-Utrecht, Kruisstraat 201, room 2.04, 3581 GK Utrecht, tel. (030)253 2884, info@sib-utrecht.nl, www.sib-utrecht.nl AEGEE (Association des Etats Généraux des Etudiants de l’Europe) AEGEE is a European Student Organisation with 260 departments all over Europe – including Utrecht. They organise conferences, cultural exchanges, parties, dinners, and many more activities. Through these activities AEGEE wants to accomplish European integration. AEGEE-Utrecht is a very active local branch with more than 500 members, who meet every Monday for a social drink. These meetings are open for members of AEGEE-Utrecht and everyone who wants to know more about AEGEE-Utrecht.

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Erasmus Student Network (ESN) ESN is an international student organisation with over a hundred divisions throughout Europe. ESN-Utrecht exists of about 40 very enthusiastic committee members, all students, and a seven member daily board. The most important goal of ESN is to help international students integrate smoothly within the Utrecht student life. ESN organises activities such as excursions, city trips, theme and international parties and sporting events. Furthermore every Tuesday night ESN Utrecht organises an international drink from 22h at Club Storm, Mariaplaats 50. Moreover, ESN has an ESN-mentor system. This mentor system links two Dutch student mentors to a group of 10 to 12 foreign students. The mentors give you practical information about living and staying in the Netherlands and studying in Utrecht, but they can also help you to get acquainted with the city and fellow students, both Dutch and international. For more information you can contact ESN at Parnassos, every Monday until Friday from 15.00 until 18.00 or at Club Storm every Tuesday night. ➽ Erasmus Student Network Utrecht, Cultural and International Centre Parnassos, Kruisstraat 201, room 2.03, 3581 GK Utrecht, tel. (030) 253 8781, info@esn-utrecht.nl, www.esn-utrecht.nl


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➽ AEGEE-Utrecht, Kruisstraat 201, room 2.04, 3581 GK Utrecht, tel. (030) 253 4417, info@aegee-utrecht.nl, www.aegee-utrecht.nl International Neighbour Group (ING) The International Neighbour Group (ING) is an organisation run by volunteers working at or affiliated with the University and it offers assistance and friendship to international staff, post docs and PhD students from abroad so that they will feel at home in their new surroundings as quickly as possible. All visiting staff, post docs and graduate students automatically become members of the ING. The social activities of the ING give guests the chance to meet fellow international visitors as well as Dutch people. Activities take place regularly. ➽ www.phys.uu.nl/~ing/. NUFFIC Nuffic, the Netherlands organisation for international co-operation in higher education informs and advises on studying in the Netherlands. It also controls scholarship programmes and is specialised in international diploma certifications. ➽ Nuffic, P.O.Box 29777, 2502 LT Den Haag, tel. (070) 426 0260, nuffic@nuffic.nl, www.nuffic.nl

Religious organisations Utrecht University has several sanctuaries where you can pray, meditate, or just contemplate. Please check www.qdesk.uu.nl/english. Information on many religious groups and places of worship can be found in the city guidebook (Gemeentegids) under the heading Religie and, if that fails, by contacting: ➽ Multicultural Institute Utrecht, Bemuurde Weerd WZ 4, tel. (030) 231 3833, www.alleato.nl Christianity Oecumenical Student Congregation (EUG) In Utrecht, the Oecumenical Student Congregation (Oekumenische Studentengemeente Utrecht, EUG), in which various churches participate, holds its services for


23 Services in other languages The following congregations hold services in languages other than Dutch. For times of all services, please contact the church concerned. ➽ English (Anglican), Holy Trinity Anglican Church, van Hogendorpstraat 26, tel. (030) 251 3424, www.holytrinityutrecht.nl ➽ English (Roman Catholic), Service on Sunday 12.30 pm, Saint Augustine Church, Oudegracht 69, www.englishmassutrecht.nl ➽ French Belgian (Reformed), Eglise Reformee Wallonne, Pieterskerk, Pieters kerkhof 3, tel. (030) 231 1485 ➽ Nieuwe kerk (Reformed), Service in Dutch but headphones in English, French and German available, Bollenhofsestraat 138, tel. (030) 271 9015 ➽ Christian Union, International Bible discussions in English, www.cu-utrecht.studver.uu.nl ➽ Greek (Orthodox), Springweg 89, tel. (030) 233 1489 Islam There are two organisations for Moslems in Utrecht which can help you with information on mosques in the city. ➽ Islamic Centre Foundation, (Stichting Islamitisch Centrum), van Lieflandlaan 3, tel. (030) 273 4086, www.sicn.nl ➽ Turkish Islamic Youth Association, (Turkse Islamitische Jongerenvereniging), R. v.d. Hamkade 18, tel. (030) 244 2430 Jewish faith Synagogue (Orthodox), Springweg 164, tel. (030) 273 2453, www.joodsutrecht.nl

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all Christian denominations in the Janskerk on Sunday at 11.00 (exegesis, liturgy celebration). The services are held in Dutch. You can find information about the activities of the Oecumenical Student Congregation every week in the U-blad. ➽ Oecumenical Student Congregation, Nieuwegracht 32, tel. (030) 231 8775, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 09.00-14.00, www.eug.studver.uu.nl


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WHAT TO DO & WHERE TO GO International Student Identity Card (ISIC) You can purchase an International Student Identity Card (ISIC). All you need is a passport-size photo, a proof of enrolment and a student card. The ISIC card costs € 10.-. You can enjoy various discounts and other benefits, such as reductions on travel arrangements, youth hostels, museums, cultural events and entertainment. It also provides emergency help line services including legal and medical assistance and access to a world wide telecommunications package. You can purchase the ISIC at Kilroy Travels Utrecht, Vinkenburgstraat 15. If you are a UU student, you can apply for the card on www.uu.nl/isic. ➽ More information on www.isic.org International students of Hogeschool Utrecht (University of Applied Sciences) can obtain an International Student ID Card. With this card students will receive reductions on several activities and transportation. Costs € 8.- + photo. Tourist information In the Netherlands, the Tourist Information Office is known as the VVV. This is the place to go to if you need any practical information on the city, the region or the rest of the country. The VVV publishes a brochure ‘Whats on in Utrecht’ (Uit in Utrecht), every month and the Uitloper, weekly available in cafés, restaurants and theaters. ➽ VVV (Tourist information), Domplein 9, tel. (0900) 128 8732, info@vvvutrecht.nl, www.12utrecht.nl. The ‘Uitloper’ This long brochure lists everything that is happening downtown, such as live music,


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theatre performances, movies and art exhibitions. The Uitloper can be picked up for free at most pubs and cinemas. ➽ www.uitloper.nl

Going out Music & dancing & clubbing For general information on all sorts of concerts from classic to jazz and pop, and places to dance the night away, check www.uitloper.nl and www.uit-in-utrecht.nl Utrecht Festivals March-April: Impakt festival, www.impakt.nl, sounds and images May: Festival aan de Werf, www.festivalaandewerf.nl, theatre May: Latin American Film festival, www.laff.nl June: Midzomergracht, www.midzomergracht.nl, (gay) music, art, theatre, literature, film July: The Parade, www.deparade.nl, (outdoor) theatre, music, dance, film, carnival August-September: Festival Oude Muziek, www.oudemuziek.nl, ancient Music September: Nederlands Filmfestival, www.filmfestival.nl, movie September: De Beschaving, www.debeschaving.nl, music, dance performances, theatre, movie October: Springdance, www.springdance.nl, dance performances November: Smartlappenfestival, www.smartlappenfestival.nl, Dutch folkloristic music (‘tear-jerkers’) Every month: Culturele Zondagen, www.culturelezondagen.nl, music, dance, theatre, movie Year round: The 7th heaven, film, party, photographs, stories, poetry, lounging, fashion and music Museums ➽ Centraal Museum, Nicolaaskerkhof 10, tel. (030) 236 2362, www.centraalmuseum.nl, open Tuesday to Sunday 12.00-17.00, Friday 12.00 – 21.00. The Central Museum is a genuine Utrecht museum, with works by Utrecht painters up to the 19th century.


27 A national Museum Pass (museumjaarkaart), which can be bought at most museums € 35.-, provides admission to 440 museums all over the country. It is valid for one year, and could save you quite a lot of money. See www.museumjaarkaart.nl for more information. There is also a Youth Cultural Passport for discounts: www.cjp.nl. Theatre & cinema Utrecht has a City Theatre, several smaller theatres and seven cinemas and cinema clubs. For information on films and the numerous theatrical productions, check the local newspapers or pick up a copy of Uitloper, available at most Utrecht cafés. ➽ Uitloper online: www.uitloper.nl Foreign films are usually shown in their original language with Dutch subtitles. Eating & drinking Utrecht has a wide variety of pubs (usually referred to as a café or kroeg) and restaurants. For more information check the Yellow Pages (Gouden Gids) under Café’s, Restaurants and Koffieshops or ask your fellow students about the most popular venues. Note that a particular kind of coffeeshop is more dedicated to the sale and consumption of hashish and marijuana than coffee! Pubs Pubs are usually open until 01.00 or 02.00, on Thursday to Saturday until 03.00 or 04.00. Alcohol is served as well as coffee, tea and soft drinks. Some pubs have special features like temporary art exhibitions, theatre performances or live music

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➽ Rietveld Schröderhuis, Prins Hendriklaan 50, tel. (030) 236 2310, www.rietveldschroderhuis.nl, architecture and furniture by Gerrit Rietveld. ➽ National Museum Van Speelklok tot Pierement, Steenweg 6, tel. (030) 231 2789, www.museumspeelklok.nl, open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-17.00. A unique museum with music boxes, barrel organs, dance organs, etc. ➽ Spoorweg Museum, Maliebaanstation, tel. (030) 230 6206, www.spoorweg museum.nl, open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-17.00. The railway museum lovingly presents the history of railway transport with old steam engines, trains and trams. ➽ University Museum, Lange Nieuwstraat 106, tel. (030) 253 8008, www.museum.uu.nl, open Tuesday to Sunday 11.00-17.00. The University also has its own museum, which shows the history of science in Utrecht. Students can visit the University Museum for free.


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on certain evenings. Check the information in the ‘Uitloper’, the local papers or contact Information (VVV). Restaurants In Utrecht’s large diversity of restaurants, you can have a simple and cheap meal or enjoy a more expensive cuisine. Apart from Dutch food which although filling and unpretentious, is not famous internationally, there is ample opportunity to taste more exotic dishes. Check the yellow pages for a complete list of restaurants and www.iens.nl for reviews and addresses.

Sports & recreation University sports centre Olympos The University offers, in cooporation with Hogeschool Utrecht and Utrecht School of the Arts, its students and staff a wide range of possibilities for sports and recreation. Sportcentrum Olympos is situated at De Uithof and has several football fields, a rugby pitch, hockey fields, a golf practising course, (outdoor) tennis courts, squash courts, a fitness room and three sports halls. ➽ www.olympos.nl Other sports facilities in Utrecht Of course, Utrecht has many more sports facilities, both indoor and outdoor, recreational or more achievement-oriented. Information on the various facilities in Utrecht can be obtained from www.utrecht.nl/sport. Courses Cultural Centre Parnassos Parnassos is the Cultural Centre of Utrecht University. Twice a year Parnassos offers a large number of creative, informative and skill-enhancing courses in music, theatre, photography, and dance, for students and staff at very reasonable prices. Naturally most of these courses are in Dutch, but a considerable number of them are (optionally) in English. The English courses offered include painting, drawing, photography and yoga, as well as seasonal specials. Parnassos is situated in the city of Utrecht and at De Uithof. Parnassos City has a lot of practice rooms, with a piano in each one and a cosy bar. In addition, Parnassos is


29 Languages ➽ James Boswell Institute organises Dutch language courses as well as other languages. The courses are given at several levels and are quite intensive. They start several times a year. www.jbi.uu.nl ➽ The Peoples University (literally translated: Volksuniversiteit) is a large organisation for adult education. It offers Dutch language courses for guests from abroad who speak English, French, German or Spanish. www.volksuniversiteit.nl ➽ ROC Utrecht, Department Education, www.rocmn.nl Meeting places For gays and lesbians ➽ COC, Oudegracht 221, tel. (030) 231 8841, www.cocmiddennederland.nl, open Monday to Wednesday 13.30-16.30 and Thursday 20.00-22.00 ➽ Stichting PANN, www.pann.nl, info@pann.nl, parties in Tivoli popvenue every month. Organisations for friendly / cultural links In Utrecht, there are a number of organisations for friendly and / or cultural links between the Netherlands and other countries. Contact your embassy or consulate to find out if there is such a link between your country and the Netherlands and if so, where the relevant organisation is based.

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home to nine student music groups. The USConcert (Utrechtsch Studenten Concert), for instance, is the oldest symphony orchestra in the Netherlands and the closeharmony choir Dekoor has been recognised with numerous international awards. Parnassos De Uithof also has the ‘Salon’ where you can find newspapers and magazines, various games and a piano. Twice a year Parnassos De Uithof offers a film programme. For a small contribution you can join the film club and enjoy films for a year. www.parnassos.uu.nl for more information and addresses.


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Money Currency The official currency in the Netherlands is the Euro, just as in fourteen other European countries. Note that a comma is used to separate the decimals, e.g. â‚Ź 1,50 is one Euro and fifty cents. Budget For the most up-to-date information, please visit www.uu.nl/studentenservice > English. Only for students of University Utrecht. Banks and currency exchange You may need a Dutch bank account while studying in the Netherlands, for example if you wish to pay the tuition fees in instalments. UU has an agreement with the Rabobank to open accounts for students at no cost, on the condition that the student will study at the university for at least one academic year. For students staying less than a whole academic year it is harder to open a Dutch bank account. You may still be able to open an account with another bank, but this is less clear-cut. Some banks may charge a fee to open and maintain an account and you may also be required to have a Burgerservice number (BSN). You will receive your BSN upon registration with the city. HKU has also an arrangement with a bank to open a bank account, please contact the HKU Student Service Centre for information, http://sscweb.hku.nl/english It is highly recommended to bring a credit card, and to check with your bank at home whether you can withdraw cash from Automated Teller Machines in the


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Netherlands. Traveller’s checks can also be used, but must first be changed for actual cash at a bank or change office, which usually charge a small fee for the service. Banks are usually open Monday to Friday, 09.00-17.00, some smaller branches are closed on Monday morning. A few banks are also open on Thursday evening until 20.00 (Friday evening in the villages surrounding Utrecht). You can change money at any bank, at change offices and at the larger post-offices. They can also give a cash advance on a Visa or Mastercard, but this is expensive; 3-4% of the amount you change. There is a change office in the main hall of the Central Station, the Grenswisselkantoor. An extra service, in case of emergency, is the Moneygram: send and receive money anywhere in the world with only your valid identification. Chipknip When you open a bank account you can choose to have a chip-card or ‘chipknip’. With this card you can pay at many shops, the railway station and use the telephone booths. The university cafeterias, copy machines and coffee & sweet machines only accept the chipknip. You can also buy a prepaid chipknip, which allows you the same service as the bank-chipknip. This prepaid card can be bought at shops with a prepaid chipknip logo in the window and at several locations at Utrecht University. It is possible to add value to your chipknip at the University. In total, there are 16 add-value machines in the University buildings: nine in the Uithof and seven in town. Postoffice Postoffices in the Netherlands offer a variety of services: stamps, foreign currency exchange, long-distance telecommunications, licences, insurance and banking. Letter boxes, which you can find on the street, are red and have two slots: one is for local mail (postcodes ... tot ...), the other is for all other destinations, in the Netherlands and abroad (overige postcodes). Postoffice opening hours vary, but as a rule they are open from Monday to Friday between 09.00-17.00. The main postoffice on the Neude square is also open on Thursday evening until 20.00 and on Saturday from 10.00-16.00. There are also some sub-postoffices (agentschappen) in certain types of shops, for example tobacconists. Sub-postoffices often have the same opening hours as the shops that run them.


33 Job agencies In Utrecht, there are many commercial Job Agencies (uitzendbureaus), most of them you can find at the Biltstraat. Work permit Non-EEA citizens who would like to work need a work permit (tewerkstellingsvergunning). Citizens of the EU member states do not need a work permit, with the exception of the new EU-member states: if you are from Bulgaria or Romania, you still need a work permit before you are allowed to work in the Netherlands. You can find more information on www.uu.nl/visa -> work permit or www.nuffic.nl. Everybody who plans to work in the Netherlands will need a Burgerservice number (BSN). You receive this upon registration with the city.

Insurance Health insurance It is absolutely necessary and required by Dutch law to carry health insurance throughout your stay in the Netherlands. Medical costs are high, so make sure that your health insurance covers the Dutch fees. To obtain a residence permit you must provide proof of adequate health insurance. If you are insured through social security or welfare in your own country, you should ask whether there is a reciprocal agreement between your country and the Netherlands with regard to health insurance. If this is the case you should ask for a Health Card from the social security or welfare department in your country before you leave for the Netherlands. This form indicates that you are insured against medical costs in the Netherlands. If you have a private health insurance, you should ask whether it covers your stay in the Netherlands. Please note that some insurance companies only extend foreign coverage for a few months. Make sure that your health insurance covers the entire length of your stay in the Netherlands. Students can also arrange private health insurance in the Netherlands. AON offers a comprehensive student insurance package that includes healthcare,

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Working in Utrecht


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liability, household contents, and more. For more information visit www.studentsinsurance.eu. Make sure you always carry proof of health insurance with you, because you will need it whenever you use one of the health services in The Netherlands. The Dutch health insurance system Dutch nationals have a legal obligation to be insured through a basisverzekering (basic healthcare insurance), and have the option to extend this coverage with additional packages. Dental care and prescription glasses are usually not covered in a standard Dutch policy, nor does it cover all costs incurred during pregnancy, childbirth and postnatal care. This basisverzekering is also required for certain international guests: ➽ Guests of all ages who have a (part-time) job ➽ Guests over 30 years old who plan to stay for more than one year For more information about the basisverzekering and the regulations surrounding it, visit the Nuffic website at www.nuffic.nl, and read the fact sheet on ‘health insurance for foreign students in the Netherlands’. Please note that if you are required to have a basisverzekering but you do not apply for it, you may be fined. Personal liability insurance Personal liability insurance is not compulsory but strongly recommended. It insures you against costs incurred if you cause damage to someone else or to someone elses possessions (for example: if you cause a traffic accident with your bicycle or as a pedestrian). You may be able to arrange such insurance prior to arrival in the Netherlands (in combination with your health insurance). Otherwise it will have to wait until you are here. Personal liability is included in the private insurance package offered by AON. Don’t forget a good travel insurance and check your car insurance if applicable.


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5 culture shock


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What is culture shock? Culture Shock refers to a feeling of disorientation or confusion that often occurs when a person leaves a familiar place and moves to an unfamiliar place. The reaction may be both physical and psychological, and some students may at some point wonder why they chose to leave their familiar surroundings. It is important to remember that living in a different culture is a learning process, and that most students return with greater self-confidence and the ability to manage in an intercultural environment. Why you may experience culture shock When you arrive in the Netherlands, you will no doubt encounter a multitude of new things. The food is not the same as it is at home, and familiar greetings such as ‘hello’ and ‘good day’, ‘thanks’ and ‘how are you doing’, may suddenly elicit completely different responses than the ones you are used to. People talk in a strange language and look different. University rules are different, and the way of studying may appear strange and difficult. Even if things seem very similar, they may not be, and suddenly everyday routine and simple actions become difficult and frustrating. It is often small differences that are most frustrating, as you think you know how to behave/do things, but you get a strange response. Your family and friends seem very far away. Symptoms To minimise the effect of culture shock it is important to acknowledge the existence of it, and to know and pay attention to the symptoms. Keep in mind that it is occurring as part of a learning process. Some of the typical symptoms of culture shock are:


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➽ Boredom, loneliness ➽ Allergies, pain ➽ Obsession with own health ➽ Insomnia, excessive need of sleep ➽ Mood changes, depression, feeling powerless ➽ Anger, animosity towards other people ➽ Identification with and idealisation of home culture ➽ Trying to absorb everything within the new culture too fast ➽ Difficulty solving even the most simple problems ➽ Feeling insecure ➽ Development of stereo-types in the new culture ➽ Strong longing for family and friends back home ➽ Feeling overlooked Dealing with culture shock If you experience some of the above symptoms and experience feelings of loneliness or sadness, here are some ideas that may be helpful in dealing with culture shock: ➽ Accept that you cannot know everything about the new country and the language, and if it is overwhelming, take a break ➽ Keep an open mind – people in the Netherlands may say or do things that people at home would not do or say. But the people in the Netherlands act according to their own set of values, not yours. Try to avoid evaluating their behaviour by the standards you would use in your own country ➽ Try to do things that you did at home, listen to your favourite music and/or eat familiar food ➽ Stay in touch with family and friends at home ➽ Talk to a friend about your feelings ➽ Stay active – physical activity often helps! ➽ Learn from experience – moving to a new culture can be the most fascinating and educational experience of your life. There is no better way to become aware of your own values and attitudes or to broaden your point of view. Where to seek help However, this may not be enough, and you are always welcome to come and talk to a study advisor. Talking things through with one of the advisors can help in achieving a perspective on culture shock, and the learning possibilities it implies.


39 You can also contact your personal General Practitioner and set up an appointment. For contact details, please refer to the chapter on Health services.

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Another possibility is to contact the university psychologists. You can make an appointment by contacting the Student Services desk. Please be aware that the waiting time for a consultation is up to 2-3 weeks but you can always get a consultation in a critical situation. Hogeschool Utrecht offers help through the Student Counselor of your faculty. You can also check www.studentzaken.hu.nl (only for HU-students). At Utrecht School of the Arts you can contact the Student Service Centre.


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6 leaving utrecht


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PREPARING FOR YOUR DEPARTURE Please read the information below carefully before you leave. If you are not returning to the Utrecht University / Utrecht School of the Arts / Hogeschool Utrecht, there are several important things that need to be taken care of before you leave: ➽ Your finances. Please take the time to check whether all your bills are paid. ➽ Your residence permit. If you have a residence permit, please note that it is usually linked to your purpose of stay. If you are no longer registered as a student your right to reside in the Netherlands ends as well. You have to leave the country within 28 days. If you are continuing elsewhere, you will have to apply for a new permit through the institution. ➽ Return all library books. Failure to do so may result in huge fines, so make sure you return them in time. Do not give the books to someone else to hand them in for you! ➽ Registration with the city. If you are moving to a new address, you are required to inform the department of Burgerzaken of this within 5 days of your move. If you move within Utrecht, you can do this in person or in writing (don’t forget to include a copy of your passport or ID and a copy of your new rental agreement) with Burgerzaken, Arthur van Schendelstraat 500. You can find their form on their site www.utrecht.nl . If you are moving to a different town, you need to inform the department of Burgerzaken


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in your new place of residence. Please do not forget to do this, as a number of organisations use the city registration database for mailings (IND, Belastingdienst, Studiefinanciering, election information, etc.). ➽ Change of Address. Please inform the postal service of your change of address as soon as possible – they will forward your mail for a small fee € 3,80 for the first month). You can pick up a change-of-address form at the post office (‘verhuispakket’) – or register online: www.tntpost.nl/voorthuis/post-op-orde/post-verhuizen/uw-post-verhuizen Unfortunately the information is in Dutch, but perhaps a fellow student can help you. ➽ Change of Address for UU/HKU/HU Please change your mailing address, so that any mail the University / Hogeschool sends you will be sent to your new or home address. UU Students can change their address online at www.myuu.nl. HKU students can change their address in Osiris by themselves or contact the Student Service Centre by e-mail info@ssc.hku.nl ➽ Notify others of your new address. Inform family and friends of your new address as soon as possible, as well as organisations and people you regularly receive mail from. If you are moving to another city, you should also notify your doctor and dentist in Utrecht (you can ask them to forward your file to your new doctor / dentist). ➽ IB-Group / Studiefinanciering / OV-kaart. Students who are registered with the Informatie Beheer Groep (IBG), should inform them of their change of address, and whether or not they are continuing their studies elsewhere. Forms are available online at www.ib-groep.nl If you are leaving the Netherlands, please also make sure you: ➽ Close your bank account here. If you leave debts behind this may influence future attempts to enter the country! ➽ Cancel your (health) insurance if you have it in the Netherlands. ➽ Cancel any subscriptions well in advance: telephone, magazines, clubs, etc. We hope you have enjoyed your stay in Utrecht!


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Welcome to Utrecht