Even though Utrecht is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor Amsterdam (remember, even Beyoncé has a sister), it’s a can’t-miss stop for students who love the relaxed and honest Dutch culture, beautiful canals, and fun cafés, but don’t care for the tourist-filled madness.
This medieval city was once considered the most important city in the Netherlands, and continues to be a religious center as well as the host of countless cultural events. It holds the tallest church tower in the country, nice shopping areas and markets, boats gliding over flat water, and canal-side restaurants accessed by stairs. It has small-town charm and can be easily navigated on foot, and the relative scarcity of tourists makes it feel traditional and authentic. Yet the presence of Utrecht University also means there are always plenty of young people biking through town and packing the popular bars.
MEET THE RW
Emily is a junior in Mather House. This summer, she traveled throughout the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg. She prepared for her travels in a Rocky-esque training montage: speed-eating croissants, running up hills wearing comfortable walking sandals, and bench pressing her 30-liter Osprey travel backpack. However, she realized the intense training may be getting to her when she drop-kicked a box of macarons off the Eiffel Tower, injuring three. She recovered by playing chess with nice Flemish people, eating, frites, and taking a silly yet endearing picture intentionally missing the point of the Louvre pyramid with her finger. She is now fully rehabilitated.