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Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Located in my favorite Dutch city, Utrecht University dates back to 1636 and is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands.


It has three sites: the city centre of Utrecht, Science Park and the Utrecht University College -- all of which are within short tram rides of each other.


Utrecht itself could not be more charming though, with small streets lined with canals, cafes and cultural venues.


Here are some of the highlights from my visit to the city centre campus!


Main building of Utrecht University
Main building of Utrecht University

Utrecht city


Located just 30 minutes on the train from Amsterdam, Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands (360,000 people).


It's a dynamic and fast-growing city with a rich cultural heritage.


In fact, Utrecht itself is the central hub of the Dutch railway network and is one of the greenest cities in the country.


Utrecht train station
Utrecht train station from above

Below the train station is actually the largest bike parking garage in the world, with 12,500 spaces!


The largest bike parking in the world

I absolutely loved wandering the narrow, winding streets, following the canals and having a meal or two right by the water.


Utrecht canals
Poke bowl at the canal!
Poke bowl at the canal!
Dinner on the water
Dinner on the water

There is also some really amazing architecture to explore, such as the converted church that is now a Belgian bar called 'Olivier', the converted church that is now 'Bunk' and the converted post office that is now a library!

Bunk bar and hostel
Bunk bar and hostel
Entrance to the old post office
Entrance to the old post office
My favorite place to work! Inside the old post office
My favorite place to work! Inside the old post office

Found my favorite coffee spot, too.


30ml Cafe
30ml Cafe

Utrecht is also a UNESCO City of Literature.


It's home to Dick Bruna’s world-famous character Miffy and the Miffy Museum, celebrated by the below traffic light.


Miffy traffic light!
Miffy traffic light!
Miffy traffic crossing
Miffy traffic crossing

And since 1980, Utrecht has hosted the largest annual poetry event of the Netherlands, the Dutch Poetry Night.


Outside the large music venue
Outside the large music venue
Watch out for bikes
Watch out for bikes

I just love how there are two levels of bars and restaurants along the canals.


So charming!
So charming!
Dom Tower (you can climb to the top!)
Dom Tower (you can climb to the top!)
Busy Saturday
Busy Saturday
Dom Tower
Dom Tower

Campus and academics


For almost the last 15 years, Utrecht University has been ranked as the top Dutch research university and within the top 60 universities in the world (Academic Ranking of World Universities).


It has 38,000 students (5,800 international) with 12 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni and faculty.


City centre classroom
City centre classroom

It offers 13 English-taught bachelor's programs, from linguistics to history to PPE to life sciences, as well as an AVMA-accredited vet school (if you speak Dutch).


Gorgeous centre library
Gorgeous centre library
Gorgeous centre library

Most of the courses at taught at Science Park; however, the language, law, economics and business economics degrees are located in the old centre of Utrecht.


Beautiful and historic facilities
Beautiful and historic facilities
Look at that ceiling!
Look at that ceiling!

The university has done a great job preserving the historical elements of its buildings whist offering modern amenities inside.


City centre facilities
City centre facilities
City centre facilities

Utrecht also has two honors colleges: University College Roosevelt (located in Middelburg) and University College Utrecht.


Summary: Utrecht University


Whether it was the city's unique architecture or its picturesque canals, this vibrant place really drew me in.


With lots of live music gigs, a number of museums and many ties to literature, Utrecht is bursting with culture.


I just loved the canal life -- as well as how close it is to Amsterdam (in case you wanted an even faster pace).


And Utrecht University's city centre campus fits in perfectly, with its beautiful, historic buildings from centuries past and highly-regarded degrees.


Dom Tower
Utrecht campus in the city

 

Interested in applying for college or grad school in the Netherlands?


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G'day! My name is Sara, and I'm the founder of College Apps Abroad and a Certified Educational Planner (CEP), one of only 40 CEP's in California and 300 worldwide. I have more than 10 years of experience working in international recruitment and admissions, and I've studied and lived overseas myself in the UK, Ireland, Australia and Brazil for almost a decade. I've also worked for some of the world's top institutions, including The University of Edinburgh, the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and The University of Western Australia (UWA)!

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