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Accommodation in Utrecht

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Utrecht is unique amongst the Randstad cities because it is not near the coast.  However, as with all Dutch things, that does not mean it is far from water. Although the city centre is small, Utrecht itself has grown over the last few years to overtake some of the smaller villages just outside. If you are looking for accommodation in Utrecht, you can rest assured that the city center has the historical charm of Amsterdam, but without the tourists.  

The heart of the Netherlands

Utrecht is central to the country – literally. Utrecht’s central station, recently renovated after nearly eight years of construction, reflects this: there are two dozen train lines that converge on the station, which is situated between the Hoog Catherine, one of the biggest indoor shopping malls in the Netherlands, and the Jaarbeurs Utrecht, which is the venue of many commercial conventions.

As such, despite being the smallest of the Randstand cities in terms of population, Utrecht has an incredible amount of diversity for its size. The city centre is fun to explore, both by bicycle and by boat – for there are canals in Utrecht as well. The Hoge Veluwe, which is the largest national wildlife preserve in the country, is just a short ride away, and makes for a delightful day trip as well.  

Nightlife and culture

Utrecht’s night life is not as club-oriented as Rotterdam’s; it is more pub and bar-based, though there are a lot of smaller clubs in the city centre. Student bars are numerous and varied as well.  

In terms of culture Utrecht strikes a good balance between preserving the history and culture of the city and making room for new things. The arts are well-represented in the nine museums around the city centre, and the city is large enough to have major artists come by to perform.  

University life

Utrecht is, more than most cities, a university city. The student population in Utrecht is more prevalent than in Amsterdam. For this reason, accommodation can be difficult to find and it is advised that, it you are moving to Utrecht, to begin networking and preferably arrange your living space before you arrive.  

Neighborhoods and Rental prices

Utrecht is relatively unique amongst the Randstad cities because over the years, the city has expanded and added several tracts of new housing to its surrounding neighborhoods. Given how popular the city is, though, expect to pay a premium if you’re renting here.

  • Binnentstad - In the middle of the city, in the middle of it all - the shopping, the canals, and all the history and culture of Amsterdam, but without any of the tourists. Within Utrecht fun, quirky stores and shops sit next to modern and and familiar names like HEMA. The only downside is that a studio will set you back close to €1200 here, and rental prices only go up from there.
  • Overvecht - Utrecht Overvecht is almost universally panned as an undesirable neighborhood.  HIstorically, it has been a Muslim-majority neighborhood, and it remains that today. However, the city has recently been renewing and improving the buildings and the neighborhood, so if you are feeling a bit brave, you can try this out. A two-bedroom apartment will set you back €1300/month, although some of the newer buildings have substantially lower prices (around €750/month) to entice people to move in.
  • Leidische Rijn - This neighborhood consists mostly of the former village of Vleuten and De Meern; 30,000 new houses have been/are being built and there are plans to build an underground motorway through the neighborhood. It is geared towards families, so shopping, schools, and small businesses are situated there as well, and there are numerous green spaces and parks as well. Apartments start at around €1000/month for a one-bedroom apartment, and so do houses.
  • IJsselstei - This is a brand-new neighborhood that was recently completed in 2012. It is almost purely a residential neighborhood, meaning that there is a small shopping street in the heart of the community, and schools, doctors’ offices, etc. as well. There are apartments, but it is also possible to rent a house there starting at around €900/month. 

 Useful links:

Funda
Pararius
Gabino Home
Apartments Apart
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See also

Amsterdam offers a wide range of accommodation options for expatriates. Unsurprisingly, you can expect rent prices to be higher closer to the city centre.
Known as the Netherlands' industrial hub, Rotterdam also offers a wide range of housing units for expatriates at affordable prices.
Expats in the Netherlands will find all kinds of housing at varying prices, though it all depends on where you to choose to live and if you rent or buy.

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