How others see Utrecht

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Who’d have thought it? The Indonesian web site, IDN Times, has lauded our great city of Utrecht under a headline that seems to translate into  Useful Holidays in Utrecht, City of Dutch Pride Literacy.

Useful? Something lost in translation there, but they do give Utrecht a very positive upbeat write up, mentioning six of the city’s best known features.

They also state that Utrecht:

is in the best city category for life too!

They introduce their piece by stating that

“Utrecht, the only city in the Netherlands which was named by UNESCO as a city of literacy in 2015. Has a historical record of the world of literature since 1300 years ago.

Literary life in Utrecht gradually developed. Evidently in each year, the city has great literacy events that are very exciting to follow such as Night of Poetry, the Dutch National Poetry Championship Slam, and Utrecht International Literature Festival or commonly abbreviated as ILFA.”

I have to agree with them there. It is all very exciting. Does this mean we will have an influx of Indonesian tourists soon? It will be interesting to see if this happens.

They continue:

“As a city of literacy, spending vacation time in Utrecht is not a waste. Besides refreshing your mind, you also get new knowledge on every trip to the destination you visit in Utrecht like the following.”

And here we see the big six, in then eyes of an Indonesian commentator for IDN Times. It is hard to argue with them or their brief descriptions. Would they be enough to whet your appetite and visit if you weren’t already part of the Utrecht furniture?


“1. Pandhof Garden

A beautiful park that is often used by the surrounding community as a place to relax this weekend, located hidden between the Dom Church and Utrecht University.

Featuring a medieval style of architecture, Pandhof Park is more amazing because of the presence of the 14th-century Hugo Wstinc canon fountain in the middle of the park.

Open every day with a different time, Pandhof Park turns out to be the best spot to read books in this city. Not infrequently while spending the weekend, the people of Utrecht bring books to spend every page here. Wow, the people love reading! No wonder, if Utrecht was chosen by UNESCO to become a city of literacy.

Marlies Bouten [CC BY-SA 3.0 nl (], from Wikimedia Commons

  1. Centraal Museum

Founded in 1838, the Centraal Museum holds many paintings from famous Dutch painters such as Gerard Van Honthorst, Hendrick ter Brugghen, and the most interesting is the painting from Joachim Wtewael which became the biggest painting in the world. Not only paintings, the Centraal Museum also stores fashion collections from famous designers.

  1. Speelklok Museum

The Speelklok Museum is dedicated to mechanical instruments, and everything related to music. Not only loved by local tourists. This museum is quite popular among international tourists.

Inaugurated by Queen Beatrix in 1984, the beginning of the museum was due to the successful holding of an exhibition of mechanical music organs in 1956. The music box, pianola, barrel organ (including large Dutch-style organs), are some collections in the museum this.

Charles Hutchins [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  1. Oudegracht

Getting to Utrecht is incomplete if you don’t walk through every corner of the city by boat through the most famous canal, Oudegracht.

The canal connecting the Vecht river and the Vaartsche Rijn river, has a length of two kilometers. Despite its centuries, the Oudegracht canal remains a favorite for the surrounding community as a gathering place.

  1. Nijntje Museum

One of the reasons Utrecht becomes a city of literacy is the creation of Miffy who was made into a book by the famous writer Dick Bruna. Thanks to the children’s books made by him, millions of children around the world are interested in learning to read.

Inside the museum, there are 10 spaces full of imagination that are presented for children to develop their imagination. In addition, the Nijntje Museum offers drama shows in the afternoon. And there are still many other educational activities that can be enjoyed by children.

  1. Sonneborgh Observatory

The Sonnenborgh Observatory is an astrological and museum observatory. Having three telescope domes, Sonnenborgh has been established since the 19th century. Every visitor who comes, can learn many things such as weather, exploration of Mars, around the sun, and astronomical observations using telescopes in stars.”

Japiot [GFDL ( or CC BY 3.0 (], from Wikimedia Commons

There we go! Utrecht in a nutshell. Worth the visit? As the IDN Times tells us:

Well, that’s just six of the many more places you can’t miss when on vacation to Utrecht. There are other interesting facts about Utrecht! Besides being named the city of literacy, Utrecht also entered the list of the best cities to live.

“The city offers one of the healthiest living environments, home to cutting-edge innovations that not only improve the health of those living in Utrecht, but with other cities throughout the world.”

It’s always fascinating to know how others view us. When they get beyond the stereotypes most articles are very positive as was this one. And they didn’t mention any of the things we are used to reading about Dutchies. It is a pleasant change to see such a positive vibe emanating from a piece of writing and I think that IDN Times captures the spirit of what can be seen in the city without going over the top.

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Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins

Jon Wilkins is Welsh and lives in England. He is a writer. A Europhile and Remainer, he is a regular visitor to Utrecht and has set his crime novel series in the city.

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