Moving to Utrecht
Expats moving to Utrecht will find a city that retains a medieval past while rapidly developing into a cosmopolitan centre for business, education and culture. Utrecht is the fourth most populated city in the Netherlands, with over a fifth of the city’s population being made up of students.
The majority of expats moving to Utrecht relocate with a job in hand. However, those with relevant skills in sectors such as banking and finance, life sciences, ICT and engineering are sure to find many good job opportunities as these sectors are constantly growing in the city.
As is the case throughout the Netherlands, the standard of housing in Utrecht is very good. However, as a result of a rapidly growing population, housing supply often fails to meet the demand thus landlords are able to inflate rental prices in sought-after areas. Expats moving to Utrecht would therefore benefit from enlisting the services of a good estate agent.
Expats living in Utrecht enjoy a good lifestyle, although it doesn’t come cheap. Whether expats prefer to spend the day indulging in luxury shopping and enjoying fine wine and good food in one of the Utrecht’s Michelin-starred restaurants or prefer to scour the local markets for a second-hand bargain and join the locals for a steak and beer, there really is something for everyone. Being a student city, expats will find there are plenty of opportunities to attend events at bargain prices and a lot of businesses offer weekly specials that save their consumers money.
When they aren’t working, expats will find plenty things to occupy their free time. From medieval castles, forts and citadels to art galleries and quirky museums there all sorts of activities on offer in Utrecht. Furthermore, the city has a calendar full of annual events and there is guaranteed to be something for everyone whether one is a music lover, sports enthusiast or culture vulture.
Despite its ongoing expansion, Utrecht is still a relatively small city. Navigating Utrecht isn’t too difficult thanks to its efficient public transport network which is made up of buses and trams. For the majority of people, a car is not a necessity. In fact, the local authorities actively discourage people from driving into the city centre of Utrecht by hiking up parking prices. By far the most popular way to get around Utrecht is by bike and the city is well equipped to support cyclists with dedicated cycle lanes and secure facilities for bike parking.
The standard of healthcare in the Netherlands is excellent and expats in Utrecht can rest assured that their medical needs will be well taken care of. The lines between the public and private health sectors are however somewhat blurred so expats should take the time to familiarise themselves with the system. They should also invest in a good health insurance policy that will cover any necessary medical treatment during their time in Utrecht.
Those moving to Utrecht with children will be pleased to know that the city is has a number of good primary and secondary schools. Expats who are looking to settle down in the Netherlands in the long term can opt to take advantage of the country’s great public schooling system which offers residents good quality education at little or no cost. However, those intending to send their child to an international school in Utrecht should note that there is only one such option available, so they’ll need to act fast in order to secure a spot for their child.
Expats relocating to Utrecht shouldn’t struggle to find their feet in a city the embraces diversity and is equipped with all the modern amenities. Utrecht offers an expat experience full of culture and history while simultaneously providing new arrivals with a comfortable standard of living.