Mysteries of Utrecht #3: The Wharf cellars

We all know Utrecht is ridiculously pretty. We gaze upon its beauty every single day. At a certain point you just get spoiled by the gorgeous canals and the beautiful houses. The world recognizes Utrecht by its canals. In 2015, the Australian website News.com.au said Utrecht has the most beautiful canals in the world. Utrecht beats Venice, Brugge, St. Petersburg and Amsterdam when it comes to the canals.

What makes the canals in Utrecht so special?

One thing in particular makes Utrecht stand out; their famous wharf cellars. Utrecht is the only city in the world who has these. These wharf cellars make Utrecht unique. But why are these cellars so special?

The first wharf cellars were made in 1150 and therefor extremely old. This day Utrecht counts 732 (!) of these cellars. Right now, you know them mainly as restaurants, shops, or if you’re very lucky, your house. But originally, they were used for storage. It was a very smart and easy way to supply Utrecht with its every need.

e5d5946d-4e90-415d-a783-aba6e7a7221c.c10

The first cellar was made by an unknown businessman who originally wanted to create a tunnel from his home cellar to the canals of Utrecht. Others took over this idea and the tunnels were getting wider and wider and that’s how the cellars turned into storages. The cellars were very convenient and saved a lot of carrying and lifting.

These cellars and canals created the middle-aged city harbour of Utrecht.

Why did no other city used this concept??

The water level in Utrecht is exceptionally low. This is because of a dam in the river Rijn close to Wijk van Duurstede (A neighbourhood in Utrecht).

wharf-cellar-at-the-new-canal-in-utrecht-124-merijn-van-der-vliet

The evolution of the canals and wharfs

‘Till the end of the nineteenth century, the wharfs in Utrecht were extremely important. But when the traffic on land became more evolved and more important, the wharfs were of no use anymore and became neglected. This happened because all the cellars had different owners. The cellars were part of the home and renovating them was very hard and really expensive. This was because you would have to work the wharfs too.

After the second world war, in 1948, the city of Utrecht got ownership of the wharfs and started renovating the wharfs, which made it much more attractive for owners to clean up the cellars. This is how Utrecht’s canals became the most beautiful in the world.

The renovation of today

You might have noticed that they’re still working on the canals. In 2009, Utrecht decided to renovate the canals once more. They had to be restored, but remain the same feeling of the good ol’ days. The City council decided to put 35 million euros into the renovation, but right now the costs have gone up to 47,5 million (!). That seems excessive, but hey… If you want to be and stay the beautiful canal city in the world, you have to be willing to pay a little…

560ab9b3-af35-4ac0-923b-e241e62495e6.c10
Modern use of a wharf cellar, on the inside. The canal can be seen on the outside.
Advertisements

Desperately in need of a great present? These are the 10 best giftshops in Utrecht

When we get older it’s harder to find a gift for someone. What to give? Booze, a book or a giant birthday card (including sounds) – admit it, it’s a challenge every time. When we were kids it was so much easier. Just buy us some toys and cake and it was the Best. Birthday. Ever. But now? The only things we really need are money, a good night’s sleep and some comfort food. But unfortunately, these things are not so easy to wrap. Luckily for you we selected the top 10 of best giftshops in Utrecht when you’re totally out of inspiration.

We know, the official gift season is over. But the cold winter months always seem to be that time of the year when it suddenly is everyone’s birthday. So in case you also have a lot of those birthdays to celebrate: now you know where to shop the perfect gift.

The top 10 giftshops in Utrecht

1. It’s a present

Looking for an original birthday gift including a funny birthday card? This is the place to be. This small store is located in the city center of Utrecht and they sell the funniest and weirdest presents that put a smile on your face. Or even better: on the face of the birthday boy/girl.

It’s a present, Lijnmarkt 16.

24774749_1790412950977617_142615450714571858_n

2. Keck & Lisa

This is also a small store, located at the Zadelstraat near Mariaplaats. They sell the best gifts: from travel books till the cutest home decorations. You just want to buy everything.

Keck & Lisa, Zadelstraat 38.

3. Flying Tiger

You’ve probably already payed a visit to this amazing store. They have literally everything you need. Or things you didn’t think you needed, but hey, now you do. Wander through this store and you’ll find the perfect gift. Promise.

Flying Tiger, Oudegracht 118.

4. Beadies

If the person you need to buy a gift for is a girl, go to Beadies. Well, only if she really likes jewelry. They sell beautiful jewelry and accessories of good quality. Is she more into creating her own gems? Choose from all the different beads, chains, pendants, charms, stones and jewels to put together an original piece of jewelry.

Schermafbeelding 2018-01-26 om 19.42.47

Beadies, Oudegracht 193.

5. Sissy Boy

Sissy Boy sells clothes and beautiful stuff for your home. Or 12 square meter room. They have all sorts of decorations which will make your friend really happy. Plants, photo frames, candles, jewelry boxes, vases – you name it.

Sissy Boy, Oudegracht 124-126.

6. All the Luck in the World

This concept store will steal your heart: you can buy here the most beautiful necklaces, bracelets and other accessoires. And hopefully this gift will bring your friend ‘all the luck in the world’.

All the Luck in the World, Zadelstraat 15.

7. Things I Like Things I Love

Another concept store. You could never have enough of those. Beautiful clothes, pretty accessoires and cool interior items, that’s what they sell here. Literally all the things you like and love.

Things I Like Things I Love, Oudegracht 364.

Schermafbeelding 2018-01-26 om 20.07.01

8. Urban Outfitters

Not a very unknown brand, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be in this list. Urban Outfitters sells the coolest and quirkiest gear for your wardrobe, interior and overall lifestyle. And for your lucky friend, of course.

Urban Outfitters, Oudegracht 152-156.

9. Hema

Another famous store, but this place is as Dutch as you can get, so it needs to be in this list. Hema is the place you go for whatever it is you need. They. Have. Everything. That’s why finding a gift is an easy job around here.

Hema, Steenweg 59 (but there are many more).

10. Bijenkorf

Want a fancier gift? Go to the giant building of the Bijenkorf. You could wander around for hours and find a beautiful gift for your special someone. Especially during sales.

Bijenkorf, Sint Jacobsstraat 1A.

And the cheapest supermarket in Utrecht is…

We all want to spend the least amount of money possible while we do our grocery shopping, right? But it is not always the easiest task. You are bounded by what are the closest supermarkets, prices change all the time, and just one supermarket might have some products that are cheaper and some that are more expensive, when compared to others. To complicate things further, since lots of times supermarkets are franchises (they use the main house name and follow some rules, but each store is run independently and can decide on some prices), the prices can vary across stores of the same chain; usually things will be more expensive outside of the city, where competition is less fierce. On top of this, sometimes the absolute cheapest things are of really terrible quality, so, if you are like me and want to have a good price-quality balance, it can really be puzzling.

Chain supermarkets, like Jumbo and Albert Heijn, are nice because you can buy all your food in one go, both the fresh food, like meat and vegetables, and the dried and canned food, like rice and tomato. You can also find the brands you are used to. So, while markets and Turkish shops are sometimes better and, oftentimes, cheaper options, we will compare some chain supermarkets so you can make an informed decision the next time you have to decide where to go!

kai-oberhauser-224745

How can we compare supermarket prices?

When we compare prices across supermarkets, the easiest strategy is to compare branded products of the same size and type, for example how much a 33cl. can of Pepsi costs, and this can be a good indicator of how supermarkets fare against each other. However, there are a few caveats that we must look at. Firstly, most chains have the same big brand suppliers, and, since these are the products that are easiest to compare, they might cost the same across all stores where they are placed. Secondly, because not all chains, or even stores, sell the same branded products, it can get hard to compare them. For example, in one store you might find only Coke, and on another only Pepsi.

Finally, because these are usually the cheapest, the most interesting and difficult products to compare are house brands. This is hard for several reasons: since the producers and suppliers of house brands are usually different across chains, the quality and cost of production is different and how it translated into the final price is very unpredictable,  and it can also depend on how much the big brands are priced. For example, if there is a house branded rice and a rice of a big brand, even if the house brand is much cheaper for the supermarket, they cannot put their price much distinct from the big brand one, since people would either only buy the cheapest one because of that, or not buy it all because they would think it is of very bad quality. However, all chains face this problem and solve it in the same way, but my point is that it is very hard to assess the value of these sort of products.

Something that makes it extra hard to access how products from house brands compare between chains relates with what role these products play compared with big brand products, and there are three main roles. The first is to have one house brand and sensibly one alternative house product for each product, which is usually of medium quality, and is what happens, for example, at Jumbo (mostly) and Plus. You will find one Jumbo or Plus alternative to a specific type of rice, and by its side you will find the branded alternatives.

The second is to have more than one house brand for each product, of different quantities. This is what happens for example in Albert Heijn, where you find AH Basic products, normal AH products, and AH Excellent products. Although not all products have AH produce all three alternatives, many products will have at least two house options of different qualities, next to branded products. One example of a product that has all of them in AH is pizza. In Jumbo there are also some products that have two of them in Jumbo brand, and, looking at the difference in price, we assume that there are also two levels of quality, since it is not straightforward from the marketing.

The third is to have almost exclusively house products, like in Lidl, or unknown brands, like Aldi. These products tend to be a bit more expensive than medium quality house brands in other chains, because they are the only ones on sale, but also because of this they are usually of better quality.

This problem between chains is also very presents in fresh fruits, vegetables and meat, which might have different origins and there might be more than one option for each product.

There are particular ways in which you can get better prices from time to time: look at the promotions, which here are called “acties” or “aanbieding”. And in AH you can use your Bonus card to have those discounts.

This can be a good guideline for you if you wish to compare products and prices the next time you go shopping. We will give a small example to try to get an idea about which one, between Jumbo, Albert Heijn and Plus, is the best bet!

neonbrand-394688

Let’s compare prices!!

We will compare house and branded products from different chain stores that can be found around the center of Utrecht, but we will look at the online prices (these prices were consulted on 06/01/2018). Of course we can’t compare all of them in store, so this is just a taste, and prices can vary per store! We will keep in mind that, for the house brands, we will use the middle quality brand in the case of Albert Heijn, an in Jumbo as well when applicable. For the fresh vegetables, fruits and meat, we will always choose the cheapest one available. We will not compare Lidl and Alsi because their prices are not online.

Let’s look at the following shopping list:

  • 1L Coke
  • Spaghetti
  • 6 medium eggs
  • 1Kg Tomato
  • 1 Lettuce
  • 1 Loaf Brown Bread
  • Frozen 4 Cheese pizza
  • 1L Skimmed Milk (fridge)
  • 1kg Chicken Breast

For the spaghetti, we will look at the house brand and at “Grand’Itallia” as an example of a branded product. For the 4 Cheese pizza, we will do the same but use “Casa di Mama”.

The coke costs 1,56€ in Jumbo, and 1,62€ both in AH and Plus.

The house brand spaghetti costs 0,61€, 0,74€ and 0,7€ in Jumbo, AH and Plus, respectively. From “Grand’Itallia”, it costs 1,13 in the first, and 1,2€ in the last two.

Now for a fresh salad. The kilo of tomatoes costs 2,16€, 2,18€ and 2,38, in the same order. The lettuce costs 0,95€ in the first, and 0,99€ in the last two.

For your breakfast, the loaf of bruin bread costs 1,09€ in AH, and 1€ in the other two, and the liter of skimmed milk costs 1,04€ in Jumbo, 1,07€ in AH and 1,06€ in Plus.

If you like that quick frozen pizza, this is for you. In the house brand, it costs 1,99€ both in Jumbo and Plus, and 2,15 in AH, whereas for the one from “Casa di Mama” costs 2,72€ in Jumbo, and 2,89€ in the other two.

Finally, for you dinner with friends, the cheapest kilo of chicken costs 8,49€ in Jumbo, 7,76€ in AH and 7,5€ in Plus.

The total shopping list would have cost you 23,2€ in Jumbo, 23,54€ in AH, and 22,98€ in Plus.

So, what is the cheapest supermarket??

If you look at how the prices of the products compare individually, Jumbo did better in all fronts. Albert Heijn seems to be consistently the most expensive supermarket. Plus seems to fluctuate between both, being sometimes as cheap as Jumbo, and sometimes as expensive as AH, only beating both on the meat.

It is very interesting though that the cheapest in the final bill was Plus. The key is the price difference in the meat, so beware of how supermarkets compensate the lower prices in some products on other products!

So, now you have some objective comparisons between these supermarkets. If I am being honest, this matches my own experience with these supermarkets, and I still believe that Jumbo is a good choice, but mixing them if you can is of course the best.

If you want other tips to save money during your stay, check out Robin’s article.

What do you find to be the best supermarket in Utrecht? Do you agree that Jumbo is the overall cheapest supermarket? Do you have other tips to compare prices between supermarkets? Share your thoughts in the comments!

First date? These are the most perfect places to go for a drink

Aahh Utrecht, the city of love! Well, not really actually. But when you’re here for a while and you’re single… then it’s not that strange if you have a date once in a while. First dates are always a bit awkward in some sort of way. You’ve never met or maybe you did once and you don’t really know each other (through texting perhaps, but that’s not ‘the real deal’ of course). Maybe he or she picks his nose, has a really loud voice or – worst case scenario – doesn’t know where to go! Don’t worry, you got that one covered by using our tips for the best places to go on a first date.

First date: these are the best places to go to

To avoid not knowing where you two should go in this city, we selected the best places to go to on your first date:

Lebowksi

Lebowski is the perfect setting for your first date. It’s always ‘gezellig’, the lightening is flattering and the music is great!

Grand Cafe Lebowski, Domplein 17.

foto1

Stan & Co

This industrial looking restaurant and cafe is the best place to go for a drink! Take a seat and enjoy one (or more) of their very tasty wines while having a conversation with your maybe future lover.

Stan & Co, Ganzenmarkt 16A.

940804_886843504765889_8787379378018912798_n

Lewis Book Cafe

This (a bit hidden) cafe has it all: books, coffee and some crazy extravagant milkshakes! If you both crave sugar and cosiness, this is the place to be.

Lewis Book Cafe, Achter Clarenburg 39.

23132083_1879016445745752_2311772256944430134_n

Klein Berlijn

What is a better setting for a first date than a trendy looking cafe with a laid-back atmosphere? Our German neighbors know very well how to create the perfect place for you and your date in the urban-cool Berlin style.

Klein Berlijn, Helling 22.

14907584_1164021907014845_5536445880111595403_n

Luc

If you really dig the cosy-living-room kind of style – including a lot of plants – Luc is the place where you should go. Grap dinner or have a drink (don’t forget to order the amazing bar food!).

Luc Utrecht, Voor Clarenburg 8.

home1

Hofman

Hofman is a cosy cafe where you can enjoy a special beer or a tasty glass of wine. And did you know you receive a 15% discount on all your drinks with your ESN card? Win-win, I would say.

Cafe Hofman, Janskerkhof 17A.

1555319_912090602149484_3340038426387505981_n

VinVin

Are you both wine lovers? Enjoy a mini wine tasting at this cute little wine bar. Just tell the waiter/waitress what you like and they will serve you the perfect wine.

Wijnbar VinVin Utrecht, Predikherenstraat 19.

b31541_img3f

Walden

Walden is the perfect place for a first date – this cafe has a relaxed environment, a great (and cheap!) menu and a view at the Dom! Plus: your ESN card gets you 20% off any drink you order.

Bar Walden, Domplein 16.

bar-restaurant-walden-restaurant-48034

New Year’s Eve in Utrecht!

It’s definitely holiday time now! Most students have at least two weeks off, we’ve been hearing Christmas songs on the radio for weeks and we even had some snow! While Christmas and New Year’s Eve are coming closer, some internationals are traveling back home to celebrate these days with their families. But for those who decided to spend the Christmas break here in Utrecht, we’ll make sure you won’t be bored. We already wrote about what to do during Christmas in Utrecht and now we’ll make sure you know where to party on New Year’s Eve!

Vliegend het nieuwe jaar in!
In Bar Walden you can ‘catch a flight to 2018’. The dancing starts at 23:00 and won’t end before early in the first morning of 2018. The entrance fee is €12,50, which is not expensive for a Dutch NYE party. In addition, you can win prizes with your ‘boarding pass’.

Huisfeest NYE
Another place to celebrate the start of 2018 is the Poema. You probably know this place from the many ESN Student Nights you’ve spent there already, but it’s also famous because of the themed Huisfeesten. Huisfeest is Dutch for ‘house party’ and it’s named like this because you don’t have to pay for every drink separately. Just pay for your ticket and you can drink beer, wine and soda without searching your pockets for change the whole night. The theme of this year’s party is ‘Masquerade ball’ so make sure you’ll wear your finest mask!

House parties
Speaking of ‘house parties’, you don’t have to celebrate New Year’s Eve in a club or a bar if you don’t feel like it. In the Netherlands, a lot of people also like to throw (real) house parties to start the new year as festive as possible. It might be a bit different than a big party, but it’s much more cosy. So, contact that friend who’s throwing a house party on NYE, buy a bottle of sparkles, and celebrate!

TIKTAK NYE
TIKTAK NYE is an event that takes place in several cities. The Utrecht edition will be held in Central Studios, a very big party venue. The party starts at 22:00 and during the night, there will be several Dutch artists to entertain you. So if you can’t get enough from Dutch rappers like Broederliefde, you should definitely buy a ticket!

The best study spots in Utrecht

During the holidays, studying is probably one of the last things you want to think of. Unfortunately, the upcoming Christmas break won’t last forever, and you have to go back to your books sometime. Besides the sad prospect of reading all day, you’re probably not looking forward to getting up early for a spot in the University Library. Especially during exam time, the library is packed with busy students. To make your hard study days a little easier, I made a list of alternative study spots. Hopefully, now you can sleep in a little bit before you start.

Café de Zaak
You can find Café de Zaak at the Korte Minrebroerstraat. If you’re someone who has to study in complete silence, this place won’t be perfect for you. However, if you don’t mind a little bit of background noise while you plough through your books, you should definitely check it out! What makes this café so great? You can eat your own food there! You don’t have to spend your money on way too expensive sandwiches to be allowed to stay there for a few hours. Maybe this is my Dutch state of mind, but I love this concept!

Openbare Bibliotheek Utrecht
If you prefer a more quiet environment the Openbare Bibliotheek (Public Library) might be a good spot for you. It’s not as popular as the University Library, which means there are more spots available. There is free WiFi and if you’re a member, you can use one of the library computers.

Het Gegeven Paard
Het Gegeven Paard is a café in TivoliVredenburg. It is a great place to meet up with some study buddies. The tables, especially the long one in the middle, are suitable for meetings. Especially, when you have to work on a group project. There are enough power sockets and the WiFi is free (and pretty fast). Also, it’s open until midnight or later, so you can stay and work for a long time.

Studyspot
As I said earlier, the University Library is often packed with students. However, there are a lot of other study spots in university buildings throughout the city. With ‘Studyspot’ you can check which places are free. In addition, it’s possible to rent a study room for you and your study buddies. Most rooms are available for four hours.

Time Space
At Vredenburg, you can find Time Space. What makes this place different from the other spots I mentioned, is that you have to book your study spot in advance. This way, you’ll be sure there is a place for you. Booking a spot for a day is €6. Are you wondering if that’s worth it? It sure is! In addition to the assured study spot, you can drink free tea and coffee the whole time!

5 tips to cure homesickness

Moving anywhere on your own is always daunting, especially if it’s your first time. If this is you, you probably have many unanswered questions. Can I live on microwave meals? Will I make friends in my new town? Will I survive on the roads between the cars and bleeping cyclists? The answer is yes! If you’ve just moved to Utrecht, you’ll soon find it is an amazing place to live, study and play. Just take a walk along the canals, check out international student nights at Club Poema or tuck into a fresh stroopwafel- you’ll see what I mean. But there’s a chance you won’t be immune to homesickness and you won’t be alone. Luckily, there are multiple ways to cure the home blues.

TIP #1- Make your place your own

room deco

Now that you’ve arrived at your dorm, you’re probably wishing you were back in the comfort of your own home. Oh, how I miss not having to line up for the shower in the morning. Never take small luxuries for granted! Anyway, the good news is you can bring home to your new home. Hang photos, posters or art of your liking on your wall or anything reminding you that you are indeed still you, no matter where you live. Buy some cheap supermarket flowers to brighten your room, some candles of familiar scent and a bed cover that will make you jump on it after a long day. Make it YOUR space. After all, it is yours for a few months at least. Write yourself corny self-love letters and stick them on your mirror so you wake up to some lovin’ every morning (this sounds crazy but don’t diss it until you try it). Not only will this little enterprise keep you busy but by the end of it, you’ll have a nice slice of home in your new home.

TIP#2- Stay in touch

social media

There’s no denying it- we live in a tech world and in your case, that’s good news! You can keep in touch with your friends and family virtually for free. There are several apps you can download so you can make calls and send messages free of charge. Whatsapp, Viber, Skype and Messenger are most popular. Keeping in touch with everyone can be time consuming and tricky if you come from a far-flung place with a different zone, but luckily social media keeps people around the world connected 24/7. Tag your friends in memes, posts and old photos just as you did back home and keep the banter alive. When it comes to keeping in touch with family, nothing replaces a good old-fashioned phone call or facetime with your mum, dad, sister or brother. Hey, even your dog might get in on it! Whichever way you want to do it is up to you, but remember that consistency is key when keeping in touch.

TIP#3- Join local social clubs

social club

It sounds corny, but you’ll feel less homesick if you surround yourself with good, fun and interesting people. And there’s no better way to do that than by joining local social clubs. ESN (Erasmus Student Network Utrecht) is obviously the best in town! Call it what you want, shameless self-promotion or genuine advice, but ESN does hold various student open days, events, day trips and social gatherings for international students all year round. Signing up is free and super easy. If you came here for the real Dutch experience, then BuddyGoDutch is for you. At the beginning of each semester you will be matched with an international or Dutch student with similar interests and hobbies. Think of it as speed dating for friends without the awkward small talk about what you like to do in your spare time. Yarn! In no time, you’ll have a new friend to run amuck with and who knows where this friendship will take you! Your university probably also has several student committees and groups that are worth checking out.

TIP#4- Keep busy

keep busy

I’m not going to lie; the weather in Utrecht can be woeful. There will be days you’ll be tempted to hibernate and binge watch series on Netflix all day, and there’s nothing wrong in indulging in a little guilty pleasure. Shout out to fellow Games of Thrones fans! But there’s a fine line between enjoying some “me time” and avoiding reality. After all, you came here to live the Dutch experience and for that, you’ll need to actually go out of the house. If you have a day off, read a book at a café, go to a museum, take a walk by the canals or take a quick train to Amsterdam for the day. If you can afford it, go out to eat once a week even if it’s just you. There’s something therapeutic about enjoying a nice meal out and food always tastes better when someone else makes it. Whatever you do, don’t self loathe and keep busy, homesickness is always temporary.

TIP#5- Talk to someone

talk

You must think well duh?! But the best medicine for homesickness is simply to talk about it. Honesty is the best policy here- with yourself and others. If you’re at university, talk about it with other students in your class, at your social club, with your roommates. Most likely, you’ll find you are not alone and that many other international students miss home as much as you do. They also moved to Utrecht, they have family and friends back home just like you and just like you, they at times feel nostalgic. These are the commonalities people really bond over and in time, real friendships blossom. You’re probably wondering how will this cure homesickness? It won’t. But it will help you manage it, knowing that what you are feeling is utterly natural and that at the end of the day- we’re all on this crazy journey together!

By Megan

Mysteries of Utrecht #2: who is graffiti hero KBTR?

When I’m leaving Utrecht by train I always look around (well, only when I’m not looking at my phone) and I notice the graffiti on the walls. Every time, there is one image that caught my eye and I always wonder what it means – an image of a sort of gnome. And it’s not just one artwork, there are a lot more of them. I found out that this ‘graffiti hero’ is called KBTR and that it’s part of Utrecht, just like the Dom.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-29 om 10.57.18
KBTR in the streets of Utrecht. Photo: Instagram @dekbtr

Who is KBTR?

Ok, maybe a bit different than the Dom, but it seems like KBTR is an initiative of an artist from Utrecht and that there’s a whole history to it. The name of the cartoon is KBTR, which stands for the Dutch word ‘kabouter’, but then only the consonants. On the website of KBTR (yes, there’s a whole website!) they explain the name: “KBTR is based on a type of gnome typical for the Netherlands that looks like garden gnomes.” Just a typical gnome, but then, eh, a bit different.

It was around 2004 when KBTR appeared on the streets of Utrecht. First, the gnome was only part of graffiti artworks, but later he also appeared solo. That didn’t go unnoticed. People took pictures of the graffiti hero and posted them on the internet. His appearance has also changed through the years. In the beginning, it was just a simple drawing, but the gnome became more complex and also expresses a certain thought or message.

Now, KBTR has its own Facebook page and Instagram account where you can see all sorts of artworks of the gnome: from artistic to political, and from a bit weird (sorry, my opinion) to really explicit and sexual.

21687808_1447380178676303_6215470004819394782_n
KBTR as Donald Trump. Photo: Facebook KBTR

Not only in Utrecht

KBTR became so famous that he didn’t stay within the borders of our beautiful Utrecht. You can also spot him in different cities, such as Rotterdam, The Hague and Leiden. In 2012, there even appeared a book about the graffiti gnome, a collaboration between the anonymous artist of KBTR and Dutch visual artist Remko Koopman.

Did you already spotted one of the graffiti gnomes?

 

Sinterklaas has something to say to all the internationals!!

Sinterklaas

My lovely internationals, great to meet all you guys.
listen to me closely, for I am old and very wise

Last Saturday I once again stepped foot on Dutch ground
I am very famous in the Netherlands, heroic and profound

My name is Sinterklaas aka the good Saint.
I’ve came with a steamboat from the country called Spain
To spend three weeks in the land of cheese, grass and rain

You might have already seen me, in the stores or on the street
Probably with my helpers, they are all called “Pete”

At night we roam the rooftops, and go down every chimney
and bring presents and sweets, I’ll have all those with me

Now don’t mistake me for that amateur Santa Claus
Just so you know it: I am the real boss

If you haven’t behaved, you better do it quick
Or else you won’t get any presents and Pete will beat you with a stick

And when you’ve been really bad, Pete will put you in his bag.
We’ll take you back to Spain, and it won’t be relaxed

Cause Spain is very nice but you will never see
You’ll be stuck in a factory, wrapping gifts for me

Besides sweets & presents, I’m the bearer of gossip
The next three weeks, You’re all the hottest topic

I know all you’re secrets and if you’re naughty or nice
I know if you’ve been studying or have been drunk during the nights

I know who is dating and I know who hustles
I have my eye out on you, even when you’re in Brussels.

I have done this for centuries, and am still going strong
Believe me when I say that I know what is going on

We are everywhere and we’ll definitely take notes
And share it with the public, all your secrets and quotes

Now go live your life but be sure to remember
That the secrets will come out on the 5th of December!!

Sint en piet

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑