Expats moving to Utrecht will find themselves in the heart of the Netherlands in an exciting hive of commercial activity. This city retains a medieval history while embracing its development as a cosmopolitan centre for education, business and culture. This comes together to create an excellent quality of life, allowing professionals and families alike to thrive.
Living in Utrecht as an expat
As the Netherlands’ fourth most populated city, Utrecht boasts a reputation as a centre of academia, research and innovation. A selection of key educational institutions, including Utrecht University, draws local and international students to the city, as well as expats working in the education sector.
Job opportunities in other sectors such as banking and finance, ICT, engineering and transport are also constantly growing. Utrecht manages an efficient transport hub, which not only adds to the fantastic quality of life here, but is also an industry that employs plenty of expats.
Thanks to the extensive public transport network, getting around is easy. Driving a car is not essential – though owning or renting a bike may be. Like elsewhere in the country, the cycling culture holds strong in Utrecht. Whether residents are going shopping or commuting to work or school, it is the norm to cycle around Utrecht’s areas and suburbs.
To add to this healthy lifestyle, there is plenty to occupy an expat's leisure time. Students and young expats enjoy the lively atmosphere and upbeat nightlife, with everything from live music venues to jazz cafés. A calendar full of exciting annual events guarantees something for everyone, whether an expat is a music lover, sports enthusiast or culture vulture.
In fact, while Utrecht is known as a university town, the city is also family-friendly, and accommodation options are available to suit a range of new arrivals.
Cost of living in Utrecht
The cost of living in Utrecht is relatively high, as is the case across the Netherlands. The low supply and high demand for housing in the city drive rental and purchase prices up, so expats will have to account for this cost or negotiate an allowance as part of their relocation package. Expats moving to Utrecht will also have to budget for the cost of healthcare, as they are required to take out a Dutch health insurance policy on arrival.
Expat families and children in Utrecht
Parents moving to Utrecht with children for the long haul can rest assured that quality public education is available and at little or no cost. Be that as it may, expat parents who intend to send their child to an international school will have limited options, so they will have to act fast to secure a spot.
Moreover, families and expats of all ages can also explore all sorts of attractions, including medieval castles, forts and citadels, as well as art galleries and quirky museums.
Climate in Utrecht
The climate in Utrecht is sub-oceanic, with warm and comfortable summers and long and cold winters. The city experiences rainfall throughout the year, with the wettest season occurring during the winter months (December to February).
Expats relocating to Utrecht shouldn’t struggle to find their feet in a city that embraces diversity while maintaining a small-town feel. Utrecht offers expats an experience full of culture and history, while simultaneously providing them with a comfortable standard of living.
►Looking for a place to stay? Read our guide to the top Areas and Suburbs in Utrecht
►Start planning a budget by reading Cost of Living in Utrecht
"The quality of life is outstanding. Utrecht is one of the major cities in the Netherlands as well as a university city, so there is always something to do with lots of people and lots of diversity... And there is such richness in history and culture here. Utrecht itself has been around since 97AD! There are over 400 museums and castles in the country and the old buildings and typical Dutch facades are just gorgeous."
For more on expat life in Utrecht, read our interview with Tiffany J.
Are you an expat living in Utrecht?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Utrecht. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.