Utrecht has plenty of attractions to keep you occupied.
As a student here, you will have much more time to discover its hidden gems than the thousands of tourists who flock to its main sights: the Dom Tower, the old city and the museums. For example, you can relax in Wilhelminapark, Park Lepelenburg or the botanical garden, or admire the architecture of the old post office, the Rietveld Schröder House (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Stadsschouwburg theatre.
The surrounding countryside is beautiful and easy to reach, and dotted with picturesque villages, traditional windmills, castles, abandoned forts, country houses, lakes, recreational facilities and nature reserves. The nearby Utrechtse Heuvelrug national park is an unspoilt landscape full of wildlife.
Its central location also makes Utrecht an ideal base for exploring the rest of the Netherlands. Amsterdam’s world-famous canals, cultural attractions and vibrant nightlife are sure to entice you. Rotterdam is a dynamic modern city with a bustling, industrious atmosphere and a youthful feel. The Hague is stately yet cosmopolitan, and also offers a lively beach scene at Scheveningen. And you can reach any of them within an hour.
Further afield, Groningen in the north of the country is another student city that combines a young vibe with an historic setting. To the south, close to the Belgian and German borders, Maastricht is often described as “un-Dutch” for its relaxed attitude to life, gastronomic culture and international outlook. Both are just two hours away by train.
Stay here a while and you will discover that the Netherlands has some surprises, too. Take Volendam, not far from Amsterdam: a tiny, picture-postcard fishing village which is also the surprising creative powerhouse behind the local pop music industry. Or the Delta Works, the modern storm barriers south of Rotterdam: imposing industrial-scale monuments to the eternal Dutch battle against the sea.