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Utrecht: better than Amsterdam?

There is more to the Netherlands than just Amsterdam. Utrecht is the fourth biggest populated city in the Netherlands, right behind Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague and in my opinion one of the most beautiful. I would urge you to give Utrecht a go. Not only is it the most centrally located city, it's also a university town and bears close resemblance to cities such as Amsterdam.  I might be a bit biased mind you as Utrecht is my University town and where I live at the moment, but it's still it is one of the most beautiful cities I know. In some occasions I would even say it's better than Amsterdam.

When I mention to foreigners that I'm from the Netherlands, the reaction always is: Oh, Amsterdam, right? And then they look surprised when I mention that I don't live in Amsterdam. Obviously there is more to the Netherlands than that. And a bonus is that Utrecht won't be as packed as Amsterdam is. When you visit the main city centre on a week day in Utrecht, there won't be any tourists, just a few locals most likely. It's so much more peaceful.
I went into town yesterday to pick up a few things and I was again struck by how beautiful Utrecht is and I couldn't help but take a few pictures. It has a lot of the same things that Amsterdam has too: canals, bikes, lots of shops and beautiful old buildings. There are almost no tourists and compared to Amsterdam Utrecht feels much more like a small town instead of a bustling city. And that is one of the things I love most about this city. It has a very cosy feel.

Utrecht is mainly a university town. It hosts the largest university in the country and lots of other higher education schools. This means that everywhere you go you will see students and youth. You will also see people biking absolutely everywhere. The city has been known for their traffic of cyclers.

The city's origins date back to the Middle ages and you see that back in the structure of the city centre. Most of the buildings are from that area. The pictures below are taken in my favourite part of town. It's situated just behind the main shopping streets. I was there during the day, but when walking around there at night it feels like you've been transported right back to that era. I've always loved that. The Dom tower stretching out above the little houses gives it even more of a middle aged feel. Especially since there are some creepy stories surrounding it. I might post about that sometime if you'd like.

The city is very small. I wouldn't if you would be entertained for a few days by just visiting Utrecht, but because Utrecht is so centrally located in the Netherlands you could easily visit other cities, like Rotterdam or the Hague. Or you could even go on a day trip to Utrecht from Amsterdam. It's only 20 minutes by train and definitely worth a visit.

I'm curious have any of you ever been to Amsterdam and/or other places in the Netherlands? What did you think of it?

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