The Utrecht nightlife is fun and exciting! Whether you want to go for drinks, do some dancing, sing (bad) karaoke songs or listen to some live music, there are many nice places where you can have a good time with your friends. This article will hopefully help you to explore and discover the diversity of the Utrecht nightlife.
Good food and drinks
Are you looking for a place where you can go for dinner and after hang out to drink some beers? Then you should definitely visit Bar Walden,Beers & Barrels or Mick O’Connells. Bar Walden offers students a nice three course menu for only 15 euros! At Beers & Barrels the food is delicious, especially the burgers and pulled pork are very tasty. Mick O’Connells is an Irish Pub where you can hang out and watch live football or other sports. On the 27th of October they even organize a Halloween party! Besides these bars, Kafé België and Café Olivier are two other bars where you can hang out and enjoy special beers. These bars usually stay open until 2 am, so their final rounds mostly happen around 1:30 am.
‘t Oude Pothuys is the only bar in town where there is live music every night. Don’t miss out the rock and soul nights on Thursdays, these nights are always absolutely memorable. In the weekends you can go to Stathe where you can listen to live music of upcoming artists and singer/songwriters. If you’re a bit into alternative music, then you can enjoy small concerts of all kinds in ACU and EKKO.
Bars where you can stay for the party
Around de Neude, Janskerkhof and Nobelstraat there are many bars where you can go party after midnight. You don’t have to pay any entrance, so you can easily visit multiple bars in one night! The music in these bars is most of the time a mix between house, hiphop and pop hits. Nice places to go are for example: De Beurs, Hofman Café, ‘t Gras van de buren and Vrienden. Are you up for some karaoke? Then go to Café Ome Willem, the only karaoke bar in town.
Places to party
Tivoli, Stairway to Heaven, ACU and Ekko organize all different kinds of parties. Keep an eye on the Facebook event pages of these places to stay up to date when their parties will take place. For example, the famous straight friendly gay party PANN takes place in Tivoli. If you’re into techno music, you should definitely go to BASIS or WAS. And don’t forget about the ESN Student nights at Poema every Tuesday! With any student card you have free entrance and before midnight a beer only costs you €1,00.
So, what are your plans for next week? Let us know! We hopefully see you soon at the ESN student night!
What a week! From 11th to 14th of September, new internationals in Utrecht had a chance to participate in the Mentor Week, when they join two mentors and a group of other internationals to partake in several fun activities throughout the week. Since different groups did different things in different days, and the rain was a not welcomed guest, I will go through some of the highlights of the week. See if you can spot someone you know in the pictures!
Unfortunately, the rain didn’t allow for a nice canoeing activity on Monday. But that didn’t stop anyone! Instead, internationals and mentors were able to still get on a boat and enjoy a few drinks on water.
Also due to the rain on Wednesday, some groups had to go play bowling, but that was far from boring!
Everyone likes to play pool once in a while, and it makes you feel fancy! Some internationals went to poolcafé t’ Hart and experienced the competitive sides of their mentor group members, while enjoying a couple of drinks on the house.
In Lasergaming you have to shoot your opponent with – you guessed it – harmless lasers. At Ozebi the mentour groups could enjoy this activity, which helped with bonding, making some sort of exercise and having loads of fun!
In this activity everyone brought some food from their own countries to share with fellow internationals, so people could taste a little of somewhere else. Take a look at how delicious all of this food looks!
Personally, I find Karaoke one of the most fun, entertaining and ice-breaking activities, there is nothing like the impending public humiliation associated with it to make friends immediately! And I think internationals agree, because they seemed to have a great time, and didn’t have any voice left on the next day!
The Beer Cantus is a Dutch tradition that consists of making people drink and sing, and there is a series of rules that, if broken, have very special penalties. These penalties can be drinking more, or maybe go on stage and play a fun game (for the punishers, of course). It is one of the most expected activities. It took place in Club Poema, and it did not disappoint!
Reaching the end of the week and that heart breaking feeling that an amazing week is coming to an end, partying in Tivoli was the best way to let loose. People partied all night long, on the edge of starting what we hope will be a great semester!
For some, it will be just one more year. For us and for you, it will be an extraordinary year.
I still remember trying my first stroopwafel, riding my first bike in the middle of the city, the first time I ran away from the rain when just five minutes before I was bathing in the sun; it was September of 2015 and it was the premonition of a great year, a complete contrast with what my life had been so far in Portugal. Now I am almost finished with my Master’s degree in Theoretical Physics. But as with you, the new international students starting right now, I am too just embarking in a new journey.
This year I am President of the Journalism Committee of ESN, responsible for bringing you great content in this blog! Last year I was also part of ESN, in the Pubquiz Committee, and was in the Project Committe the year before that. When I am not “sciencing”, I am a bookworm and you will always find me with my Kindle. Two of my favorite books are The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera, and Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brönte. I also love TV-shows, and this past year one of my favorites was This is Us (highly recommended if you are in need of a soul-cleaning roller-coaster of emotions).
In our committee we are excited to help make your life in the Low-Lands a little bit easier: we will give you tips, report on ESN events, tell you interesting facts from the city and the Netherlands, explore current themes in Dutch culture, and so much more!
Let us have a sneak peek at the other committee members:
Marjolein is the responsible for the Abroad Magazine, and what a job that is! She is always enthusiastic and ready to get the next great story, which is why she just started her Master’s degree in Journalism and New Media at Leiden University. She was in exchange in Viena in 2016 so she is excited to give back to the exchange community. She loves travelling, food (sushiiii), dancing, fashion, writing, Gossip Girl, James Bond and Phil Dunphy from Modern Family.
Next we have Robin, the lively secretary of the committee! She is our student life expert. Born and raised in Rotterdam, she moved to Utrecht three years ago and has now completed her Bachelor’s in Information and Communication Studies. She also spent some time in exchange, more precisely in Belfast. She is a die-hard fan of Harry-Potter, and I’m not exaggerating: her room even has a secret closet under the stairs where she sometimes goes to and, she swears, closing her eyes hard enough, she is even able to do some magic!
Now we have Iris, the PR of our committee. She is sometimes a little shy, but she is fearless! She has been in Utrecht for three and a half years and just finished her Bachelor’s in Corporate Communication. She is now going to start a traineeship in Digital Content Creation, in Amsterdam. She attended a summer school “Cambridge English” in Manchester. Her guilty pleasure: 80’s music, because who can resist a good disco ball ?
Uff, so many committee members! Let me have a little rest and let Lara describe herself:
“Hello there! My name is Lara. I am 20 years old, which makes me the puppy of the Journalism Committee this year. I was born and raised in Frankfurt (Germany) and moved to Utrecht last year to study ‘International Communication and Media’ at the HU. Besides my studies I am working as a Content Marketer for a Start Up in Utrecht. I am absolutely passionate about writing, photography, travelling and exploring new cultures. One of my favourite destinations, however, will remain Australia where I lived and worked for over 8 months, closely followed by New Zealand and Bali. I also consider myself as a serious foodie and coffee addict. Honestly, it feels like I am sponsoring half of the cafés in Utrecht. So stay tuned because I am going to share my secret spots and favourite recipes with you! I am mainly responsible for the layout and design of the Abroad Magazine but, on top of that, I will take you with me to all sorts of exhibitions throughout the Netherlands and show you Utrecht out of the eyes of an International on the ESN blog.“
Now for our boys. Jeroen is pursuing his Master’s degree in Economic Geography, and he is also pursuing the World! He just got back from a seven-month trip to the Asia-Pacific region (up until a week ago he was helping us out directly from the jungle) and previous that he did an internship in Australia. He did a semester abroad in Nebraska, USA, and he loves to meet people from various parts of the world to get inspired by the cultural differences and the (unexpected) similarities.
Our second gentleman is Jelle, whose birthday is today! He studies Journalism in Utrecht, and, like myself, is not new to the backstage of ESN Utrecht, having been part of the Activities Committee last year. He is a virtuoso saxophone and piano player, and you might just find him at his favorite place, ‘t Oude Pothuys, where he likes to perform at the jam sessions. He enjoys the simple pleasures of life, and he can’t say no if you invite him for a beer (wink wink).
I also want to mention our coordinating Board Member, Beaudine, who came back as well from a long South-Asia trip, with an enviable amount of tan and fun stories to tell. She won’t be writing with us, but without her none of this would be possible.
Our most heartfelt hope is that you make the best out of your time abroad in Utrecht and we wish you all of the luck.
Do you have suggestions for the Blog or the Abroad? Please let us know in the comments, we are always receptive to your ideas!
Time’s a bitch and your days abroad are numbered, so it’s time for some reminiscing!
Your bank balance hit a new low
Ouch yup, checking your bank balance during your time abroad is no fun. You’ve had so much to see and do and eat and explore and what not … Still at the same time hardly any money came in. Make sure to find a good summer job when you return home, because you did learn one thing from this experience: money can buy you amazing experiences! So make sure to save some money so you’ll be able to say yes to new adventures. Oh and maybe a lesson in budgeting is also a good idea. 😉
The world is bigger than you thought
Some people say the it’s a small world we’re living in. Well, it is when you stay at home. But when you travel abroad you’ll meet so many different people from different cultures and countries that you’ll soon realize that there’s so much left to discover in this world! The world counts almost 200 countries and once you get caught with the travel bug you can’t wait to discover them all. And since you have made friends all over the world, you’ve got a good excuse to do so!
Friends can be found everywhere
A few months ago Utrecht was a just a dot on the map, an empty concept ready to be filled with new experiences. You might have arrived in Utrecht all on your own, but I’m sure that you’ll leave town with a ton of new memories and friends. Living abroad teaches you that there are friends to be made everywhere. At ESN, at university, at your student house. People love to connect and to share experiences. Some of the friendships are there to stay and others you’ll leave behind in Utrecht. Never be afraid to start an adventure on your own, because you’ll meet other people who want to share their adventure with you.
Say yes to everything!
Do you remember that one night when you were sitting on your couch watching a replay of How I Met Your Mother? Nope, didn’t think so either. The most amazing things happen when you don’t expect them to happen. You just have to be flexible and be there at the right time and moment. Whilst studying abroad you’ve got all the time, you’re not bound to a job a or other obligations. So whenever one of your Utrecht-buddies asks whether you’ve got time to come and visit them in their home country, say yes and just do it!
You’re a survivor
Leaving behind the familiar for the big unknown is always a big step. How are you gonna survive without your besties around the corner and your mum and dad nearby? Well, congratulations, because you just did it! You went to a city where you didn’t know anyone and you’re gonna leave this city with new confidence. Studying abroad teaches you that you can always count on yourself and that you’re able to survive!
Whether you like it or not, your stay in Utrecht is slowly but surely coming to an end. It’s time to say your goodbyes and pack your bags for moving back home. Don’t you just wish you could stuff everything in your suitcase, from those delicious bitterballen to the millions of tulips to your new best friends? Unfortunately, no matter how advanced the JoCo-team is, even we cannot advise you on how to do so. What we can do, however, is tell you which are the best souvenirs you can take home for yourself and your loved ones!
Of course, this typical Dutch food is the first on our list. Cheese for the Dutch is like tea for the English; it’s the bread and butter of the nation. Why not take home a few blocks of this heavenly goodness? We highly recommend paying a visit to Cheese & More in the centre, but there are several other huge cheese shops further away, such as Morty’s Kaas en Delicatessen or the Pakhuis Utrecht Kaas Boter Eieren. Be careful; it’s easy to spend a fortune in these stores because everything is just so tasty! As for transportation: there are no longer restrictions in place regarding animal products in the EU, so pack up! If you’re travelling to a non-EU country, however, we advise to check the specific requirements before you stock up on cheese only to be stopped by a hungry airport controller.
Tacky typical souvenirs
Yes, we know that this sounds cheesy and slightly dated, but those souvenir shops all around the centre of Utrecht sell lots of cute little bits and bobs that you and your family will appreciate. Just think about it: in a few weeks or months, you’ll miss Utrecht and your friends so much that you’ll have a hard time coping with their absence. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a key ring with a miniature version of the Dom Tower attached always with you? It’s like carrying a piece of Utrecht with you at all times. How about some T-shirts with bikes or other typical Dutch icons (Miffy and the like) on them? You can show your old-new home how proud you are of having lived abroad in such a cool place. Don’t forget the amazing Delfware pottery – you could even purchase a Delftware-decorated cheeseboard! That way, anywhere you look you’ll be reminded of the great times you’ve spent here.
Pictures, pictures, pictures
Nowadays, we store everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, on our smartphones. Of course, it is extremely convenient to keep all your pictures on your phone: it’s easy to access and you always carry it around, right? However, printed pictures still have their charm. Can’t you just see a picture of you with your new besties posing at the canals with a funky frame, hanging on your wall? After all, this has probably been one of the most fun and eventful experiences of your life, and seeing it in your home will not only bring back fond memories but also serve as proof of how much you have learnt and achieved during this time. There are plenty of stores such as Color Utrecht and MultiCopy where you can get those awesome photos of yours printed, and you can find frames almost anywhere, from HEMA to souvenir shops to IKEA.
Naturally, this list is far from being finished. Are you curious of what other international students take with themselves (literally and figuratively) from Utrecht? Keep an eye on your mailbox in the next weeks and read all about it in our final Abroad magazine of the year!
As summer is approaching, so is the time for many of you to say goodbye to your new friends, Utrecht and perhaps even a Dutch lover. Saying goodbye can be hard, especially when you’ve fallen for a special someone from another country. Nobody says it’s gonna be easy; that’s why we’re providing you with some tips to help you maintain a long distance relationship with your Dutch lover or just your Dutch friends!
Make sure to bring home frozen bitterballen
This snack is one of the most typical Dutch foods. A yummy fried meatball with some mayonnaise, accompanied by some cold drinks on a terrace… That’s the image that pops into my mind when I think of Dutch summer. So what better way to bring home a bit of the Netherlands than bringing some frozen bitterballen? Of course, this tip is only for those of you who don’t have to travel home too far. You can easily fry them at home and share them with your family and friends. This way, your family and friends at home will fall in love with the Netherlands immediately (and indirectly with your newly found lover or friends). The old saying ‘the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’ is definitely applicable here.
Communication is key
As you might have noticed, the Dutch are not known for their communication skills. We’re famous for our directness and don’t share our emotions and feelings too easily. That makes communicating with your Dutch partner or friends even more important. In today’s world it’s easy to stay in touch via Facebook or Skype, but in order to truly make your friendship or relationship work, you have to dig a bit deeper. Try talking to each other on a regular basis, talk about your expectations and don’t be afraid to tell the other how you feel. However, be careful to not overdo it since too much planned talking or texting can take the spontaneity out of your relation and ruin it.
Seize the opportunity to travel
Having friends abroad is the perfect excuse to travel more often. Plan visits to each other, so that your Dutch friends can also see your home country. But visiting each other shouldn’t be the only travelling for you; try to explore new countries together, so you can create long-lasting memories and make the times you see each other even more special. Check out the new Abroad magazine (arriving on your doorstep within two weeks) for more information on travelling with Erasmus friends.
Keep up your Dutch vocabulary
As said above, communication is key. Even though many Dutchies have an excellent level of speaking English, you can easily charm us if you’re able to speak some Dutch tous. You might have learned a few words or sentences here and there, but try keeping up your Dutch skills even when you’ve returned home. But how can one do that when no one around you speaks Dutch? Try watching Dutch movies with subtitles on Netflix, or practice your Dutch using the DuoLingo app.
Believe in your relationship
You might enjoy the idea of staying together despite the distance, but after a few months apart you will probably both start to realize the difficulty of a long distance relationship or friendship. If you want to make it work, it’s crucial to keep reminding each other of your love for one another. Confirmation of your commitment to each other can make or break your relationship. Both parties have to be willing to work through the problems that inevitably will arise, instead of dropping the relationship at the first sign of difficulties. Believe in your relationship or friendship, and I assure you: everything will work out eventually.
For more tips on saying goodbye, check out the coming edition of the Abroad magazine, filled with must see’s and do’s for your final weeks in the Netherlands.
This video is made by Allison Young, who is studying abroad here in Utrecht. Since the start of the semester, she’s been part of a mentor group which did a lot of cool stuff together in and around Utrecht. Allison is studying media and has always enjoyed editing and watching videos. The JoCo asked Allie what her motivation was for making this video..
Allison: ‘Making a video was a good way to really think about what the impactful moments were for me. I knew that time was going to go by fast here and that I would cherish having something so visual and personal to reflect on back home. It’s also a great way to show my family and friends what I’ve been up to since being abroad.’
Don’t wait to watch this amazing video of Allie’s experience!
Want so see more of Allie? A new video: Utrecht: part 2 is coming up soon at her channel!
Do you like food? Do you like music? Do you like wine? If the answer to at least one of these questions is ‘Yes!’, then I have good news for you! Food Truck Festival Trek is coming to Utrecht this weekend!
If you are a food or music enthusiast, make sure you check it out, taste some bites, drink a glass of wine or beer and enjoy the atmosphere and music. Trek is a food truck festival, which means there will be lots of different food trucks offering a variety of foods from sushi to fries, falafel and ribs. So, no matter your taste, you will always find something yummy!
But despite Trek being a food truck festival, they have more to offer than just lunch or dinner. The entrance to the festival is free, and you can come from 16h on Thursday and Friday, or from 14h on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Spending a whole day at Trek is definitely not a punishment, since besides food they also have a craft beer bus, a cocktail bar and a wine bar!
When your stomach is full and you just want to sit back and relax a bit, the live music will help you get in the right mood. Utrecht’s best musical talent will be performing at the festival, along with a theatre caravan and old-school fair classics that for sure will give you a good laugh. And when the sun sets, dance the night away with the best funk, soul and dance hits from the eighties!
The festival will take place in Griftpark from Thursday the 1st till Monday the 5th of June. So, if you are still wondering how to spend the long Pentecost weekend, make sure to check it out and let us know how you liked it. We are definitely going, so see you there?
Now that the sun is out, everyone seems to be out! Being indoors to cook food doesn’t always seem so pleasing when you also want to be outdoors enjoying the sun. So what yummy alternatives are there to grab and go here in Utrecht?
Italian Sandwich Huts!
Do you have lessons on Janskerkhofand wonder which hut to choose to buy a sandwich in-between your lessons? Or have you simply cycled past and noticed two huts standing in the square with outdoor seating and ever wonder what there was to offer? Well, don’t wonder anymore! They both offer Italian themed food, especially sandwiches. Do you fancy calzone, pastie, pizza, or a homemade sandwich? These dedicated sandwich artists wake up at 4am (as was informed) to begin baking the bread and pastries in order to bring you the best quality sandwich eating you could ever imagine! And just look at the size of them!
Right Hut – Described to have ‘true Italian’ ingredients as told by Italian sources. Dutch + Italian preference.
Left Hut – Described to be fuller with various ingredients and variety. International preference (you will hear them chant Italiaanse Broodjes from their homes – they will come in herds).
So which will you prefer? There is a silent war between the two, yet, overall they both provide food at a similar price and just as excellent quality.
Noodles – Eazie
Are you at the Neude and cannot be bothered to walk towards Janskershof for an Italian sandwich? Why not try Eazie, where you can create a box of your preference filled with a pick-and-mix choice of healthy goods? On the board above the staffs head you are guided on how to fill these snack boxes – rice or noodle – thin or thick – and how many veggies or meat you would prefer. Within 5 minutes, boom, your beautifully crafted and well thought out concoction of healthy goodies in your box and ready to go. Eazie – aye? Get it… easy… haha.. No? Ok. How about if I tell you ESN have a deal with Eazie! So bring your ESN card! Here is a photo of a small choice!
So, you have made your own sandwich or noodle/pasta at home or went to Jumbo/Plus/AH for snacks, but you want something cold? Well, there are many options for you! Of course, look out for Mr Icecream Bike man. He will most likely come and find you if you are in a very populated destination.
Of course, if you are in Utrecht town you can find the ice-cream shops and stationary vans where you can get your cold goodies. These are dotted around everywhere, especially around the Dom area where you can get a Frozen Yoghurt, or a Fro Yo if you’re hip and down with the kids. Here is an example of a small Fro Yo located next to the Dom Tower neatly placed in a cute traditionally Dutch designed cup. This is small, the larger options did not come in this cute cup.
Before you leave Utrecht, as an international that is, you should definitely try each of these above. The guy on the bike selling ice-cream will see your desperate eyes and want for ice-cream. Once one person greets him, suddenly a group of people will come and more and more!
Keep cool over summer, hydrated and fed during those study breaks! There are snacks and food for all