Where to live in Utrecht (2024)

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Utrecht is one of the most attractive places to live in the Netherlands, offering big-city amenities, a medieval center, and proximity to the Dutch countryside.

Where to live in Utrecht (8)

Where to live in Utrecht (9)

By Expatica

Updated 14-5-2024

Located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is well connected to both big city amenities and lush Dutch countryside. The city and its environs remain one of the most beautiful places to live in the country. Utrecht attracts expats and foreign companies with high living standards and an educated workforce in a laid-back university town.

  • Utrecht: the gem of the Randstad
  • Where to live in Utrecht
    • IJsselstein
    • Leidsche Rijn
    • Nieuwegein
    • De Vechtstreek
  • Utrecht facts and links
  • Finding a home in Utrecht

Homelike

In need of a flexible rental in the Netherlands? Check out Homelike. This easy-to-use property portal has a whole host of temporary, fully furnished rentals so you can find a place to stay. Start your adventure right and find your next long-term stay with Homelike.

Utrecht: the gem of the Randstad

Arriving in Utrecht by train, you emerge into the country’s largest shopping mall, but don’t let that put you off. Utrecht’s medieval center is a delightful place to live in, with its unusual sunken canals and cellar bars. “A pleasant mix of urban excitement and small-town charm,” according to local convention center Jaarbeurs. The vibe gets particularly lively at night due to the huge (70,500) student population.

Utrecht is also undergoing the fastest development rate in its history, focused on transforming into a regional capital of European importance, complete with a bursting cultural agenda. It attracts international companies and expats alike, having the Netherlands’ most highly educated workforce and second-best standard of living. The municipality offers expats information in English.

However, house-hunting here can be even harder than in Amsterdam. To deal with the shortage, the city is in the midst of expansion projects such as in Leidsche Rijn, and around the railway station to the west. The Station Area will form a natural extension of the central district, bringing together the areas to the east and west of the railway tracks. Its cultural charm will not be lost, however, as no changes will be made to the historic city center.

Transport links are excellent, particularly by train, as Utrecht is HQ for NS (Dutch National Railways) and Utrecht Centraal is the biggest and busiest train station in the Netherlands. It is an easy commute to Amsterdam (25 minutes by train) and the service is regular (five trains an hour).

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The center is prime territory, particularly the museum quarter and Wilhelminapark with its well-maintained 1930s houses.

Parents have plenty of options for schools, including an international school. Furthermore, childcare centers in Utrecht include Partou.

Where to live in Utrecht

IJsselstein

Twenty minutes down the motorway is the popular suburb of IJsselstein, complete with a car-free medieval city center and castle (now a museum). There are fast train connections to Utrecht and Nieuwegein, and good cultural amenities. Nature lovers can enjoy the green heart of the Netherlands with bike trails through scenic countryside and along the river Lek.

New housing opened in 2012, and zoning approved even more.

Leidsche Rijn

Officially part of the city of Utrecht, Leidsche Rijn consists of the two small villages of Vleuten and Meern and includes the entire agricultural area between those villages and Utrecht itself.

The largest new development in the Netherlands, some 30,000 houses and new space for industry and companies are being built in Leidsche Rijn. In effect, this means that a medium-sized town, which will house 100,000 people, is being built out of nothing. Great effort is being made to create an environmentally friendly town with high-quality housing. An underground motorway is the pride of the project.

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Additionally, there will be a new hospital, schools, churches, shopping facilities, a train station and separate bus lanes throughout the area leading straight to the heart of Utrecht. Keep in mind that most of the facilities won’t be built for another few years (around 2025) but you can also do your shopping in the villages of either Vleuten or De Meern.

Nieuwegein

Lying 7 kilometers south of Utrecht, Nieuwegein is a new town dating from 1971 to cope with Utrecht’s expanding population. There are a variety of housing styles from classic Dutch brick homes to modern high-rises, and if you need to drive to work, easy access to nearby motorways (A2, A12, and A27). To the east is Houten, a fast-developing town, where some third of its population is under 20.

Many houses are amidst parks, lakes, and nature. Most people go to Utrecht for entertainment, making Nieuwegein residential and also ideal for those with young families. New international companies continue to build in the newer industrial park where you can even rent storage space.

De Vechtstreek

This beautiful area is northwest of Utrecht and close to the Loosdrechtse Plassen lakes. Popular with young families and retirees, Breukelen and Maarssen connect with Utrecht through local rail and bus services.

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Older villages include Oud-Zuilen (built around a castle) and Maarssen-Dorp. Maarssenbroek contains newer housing estates with local amenities and services in place.

Utrecht facts and links

This video from Utrecht’s tourism office gives insight into Utrecht.

Finding a home in Utrecht

If the cozy city of Utrecht sounds like your type of place, it’s worth looking online for somewhere to live. Sites such as Funda and Pararius are good options for a permanent place. Meanwhile, some services cater to the international market, offering more flexible contracts and fully furnished apartments. These include:

You may even be considering buying a home in the city. Generally speaking, expats are able to easily buy a Dutch property. However, when getting a mortgage in the Netherlands, many use a mortgage advisor to help them through the process. This is especially helpful if you don’t speak Dutch and are new to the local housing market. Expat-friendly mortgage advisors operating in Utrecht include:

For more information on buying homes in Utrecht and the Netherlands in general, read our expert guide.

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Where to live in Utrecht (2024)

FAQs

Is Utrecht a good place to live? ›

Utrecht is one of the most attractive places to live in the Netherlands, offering big-city amenities, a medieval center, and proximity to the Dutch countryside. Located in the heart of the Netherlands, Utrecht is well connected to both big city amenities and lush Dutch countryside.

How much money do I need to live in Utrecht? ›

During your stay in Utrecht, you can expect to spend between €800 and €1,400 a month on living expenses.

What are the pros and cons of Utrecht? ›

Additionally, Utrecht is known for its beautiful architecture, its many parks and green spaces, and its excellent universities. On the other hand, the cons of living in Utrecht include its high cost of living, its relatively small size, and its sometimes unpredictable weather.

Is English widely spoken in Utrecht? ›

- has the best English speakers. Within the Netherlands, Zeeland was the region that was found to have the highest level of English proficiency, with a score of 678, while The Hague, Utrecht, and Breda received the highest scores out of all the Dutch cities (697, 683, and 675 respectively).

Why is Utrecht so expensive? ›

This is due to the high demand and low supply of quality rental properties. Within the Randstad, the area that incorporates the Netherlands' four largest cities, prices can be very high. With Amsterdam and The Hague having the highest rent prices, closely followed by utrecht.

What is a good salary in Utrecht Netherlands? ›

Average salary in the Netherlands by city
CityAverage Salary (EUR)
Rotterdam48,000
Utrecht49,000
Nijmegen45,000
Almere43,000
6 more rows
Jul 14, 2023

How much does a house cost in Utrecht? ›

Single-family homes were most expensive in the central province of Utrecht with an average price of 546,000 euros, whereas a similar house in Groningen had an average price tag of 319,000 euros.

Is it hard to find an apartment in Utrecht? ›

Finding housing in popular Dutch cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht is especially difficult due to the high demand. If you plan to study at Utrecht University start your search several months in advance to your arrival, even prior to your formal admission.

How much is the average rent in Utrecht? ›

The average rent in Utrecht is now €1,250 per month. However, this is just the average, you will find rental prices to range from €800 to €1,700 a month.

How much salary do you need to live comfortably in the Netherlands? ›

The cost of living in the Netherlands for a single person = ~ €1,782 per month and ~ €21,384 per year. Average cost of living in the Netherlands for a student = ~ €1,250 per month and ~ €15,000 per year. Cost of living in the Netherlands for a family = ~ € 4,102 per month and ~ €49,224 per year.

Is 3000 euro a good salary in the Netherlands? ›

Average Wages

The average monthly salary in the Netherlands can vary significantly depending on factors such as occupation, experience, education, and location within the country. According to recent data, the gross average monthly salary is typically around 3,000 to 3,500 euros.

What is the quality of life in Utrecht? ›

In fact, the city offers one of the healthiest and most sustainable living environments in the world; home to cutting-edge innovations that not only improve the health of those who live there, but their overall quality of life too.

Which is better, Utrecht or Amsterdam? ›

Utrecht is less crowded, more central, smaller and just as beautiful as Amsterdam. And when you like cycling through hills and along rivers, Utrecht sure is better.

Where is the red light district in Utrecht? ›

Like elsewhere in the Netherlands, Utrecht has a Red Light District. It's called the Zandpad (Sand path) and it is located along a picturesque canal. The women work out of long row of canal boats.

What is the prettiest part of the Netherlands? ›

Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Explore in the Netherlands
  1. Amsterdam - The Capital Gem. ...
  2. Keukenhof Gardens - A Floral Paradise. ...
  3. Giethoorn - The Venice of the North. ...
  4. Zaanse Schans - A Step Back in Time. ...
  5. Kinderdijk - Iconic Windmills. ...
  6. Utrecht - Dynamic Cityscape. ...
  7. Hoge Veluwe National Park - Nature's Sanctuary.

Is Utrecht a walkable city? ›

Many of the city's top attractions are just a short stroll from each other, making it an ideal walkable holiday destination. June 5th celebrity birthdays: Nick Kroll, Troye Sivan, Mark Wahlberg, and more! Start your walk along the historic Oudegracht, or old canal, which runs right through the heart of Utrecht.

Is Utrecht good for tourists? ›

The city boasts beautiful canals and parks, lively restaurants and cafés, fascinating museums and remarkable historical buildings. Its city center alone is absolutely worth a visit, but there is much more to Utrecht than that.

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