Expats choosing Utrecht for lifestyle and friendliness

Published:  28 Dec at 3 PM
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The Netherlands is well-known as a popular destination for younger expats working in the tech industry, with Utrecht now coming to the fore as the new place to be.

Most of the estimated 57,000 expats in the Netherlands are spread across the massive municipality created by the country’s four largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The majority are attracted by opportunities within the country’s thriving ultra-high-tech industries, the reasonable cost of housing and the lively Dutch lifestyle. As with expats the world over, new arrivals tend to slot into already established communities concentrating within easy reach of work and leisure facilities.

Whilst three of the four cities attract mostly corporate arrivals, Utrecht has another string to its bow, with its university a popular destination for staffers as well as students. Around two per cent of the city’s 330,000 residents work at the university, many of whom are expats. As a result, Utrecht’s expat network is long-established and gives support and friendship to new arrivals in this vibrant city.

Just 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam’s historic canals, Utrecht is well-known for its exceptional quality of life and is a great place for families. It’s busy, it’s crowded - where in the developed Western world isn’t - and it has its very own municipality-owned Expat Centre. A quick visit to the centre at Stadsplateau 1 gets newbie expats briefed on government formalities as well as the practicalities of everyday life in the city. Municipal registration and residential permits are explained and, for UK expats, Brexit and its possible ramifications for expats is also on the menu.

Properties in Utrecht are far cheaper than in pricey Amsterdam and, for families, there’s an international school with a fine reputation. Online information about Utrecht is easily found on Facebook as well as on reliable expat sites such as Dispatches Europe. In this internet age, there’s no reason to be worried about getting settled in your chosen country, as all the information you need to succeed as an expat is out there at the click of a mouse.
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