Let The Cultural Season Begin!

Het Utrechts Archief
Every year, around the beginning of September, Utrecht holds a big party to kick off the beginning of the cultural season. The Uitfeest, as it’s called, sees a smorgasbord of cultural events taking place all over the city. There are special exhibits, dramatic performances, literary discussions, dance lessons, city tours and much more. This year’s Uitfeest was held this past Sunday and G and I took advantage of the day to go to Het Utrechts Archief (The Utrecht Archives) to finally see their 3D Expo showcasing old photos of the city dating back to the mid 1800s, all in 3D.

They have special viewers set up throughout the exhibit area, with sets of photos dating from the 1850s to the early 1900s. All are beautifully done to give a wonderful 3D effect, making it all seem much more real and immediate. I loved seeing a couple of old photos of my neighbourhood and seeing how little has changed in some ways!

We also got to watch (in regular format) some old pieces of film footage of the city, with clips dating back to the time of Queen Wilhelmina, the current queen’s grandmother. There was also a section showing the Catharijnsingel (canal) being filled in to turn it into a roadway. That same roadway is now being turned back into a canal.

Old Music

After spending a couple of hours at the Archives, we wandered through various other spots around town, enjoying the sights and sounds. The Domplein was filled with people taking special tours that highlighted the city’s 2000 years of history. It’s also one of the locations where the Old Music Festival is also taking place. Each year, they build a different gold/yellow gate (seen above) into the pandhof as part of the festival.

Salsa at the Vismarkt
Walking along the Oudegracht, we saw salsa dance lessons being given at the Vismarkt. The lessons were given by one of the local latin dance groups in town. Anyone could join in.

Next we headed to the Stadhuis (old city hall), because there was a small photo exhibit I wanted to see. It was 30 photos of 30-year-olds in 030 (the area code for Utrecht). The square behind the Stadhuis was packed with different groups. There was a literature display, various dance and drama groups, a bus promoting Utrecht’s bid to be one of the Cultural Cities of 2018, food vendors, and much more.

Red Carpet Festivities

There were also performers on unicycles and acrobats who stopped along the way to perform various feats. They seemed to be heading toward Neude, which is where we were heading, but we lost them somewhere along the way!
Unicycle
Acrobats

Our last stop was in Neude, where there were concerts and fashion shows and other events taking place all day. In all, there were 150 various cultural events/installations and there were more than 55,000 people in town to enjoy them all, up 5,000 from last year. The arts are alive and well in Utrecht! If you’re interested in seeing the 3D Expo at Het Utrechts Archief, the exhibit is open until the end of October.
Concert at Neude

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6 thoughts on “Let The Cultural Season Begin!

    • They’ve been working on it for a while. I think they closed the road officially last year and started the conversion process late last year/early this year. I don’t go over that way too often, so I honestly don’t know what stage they’re at right now. It’s wonderful that it is being returned to its proper state, though. 🙂

  1. Wow there was a lot going on in Utrecht last Sunday! Great that you got to see the exhibition at Het Utrechtse Archief 😉 I liked it very much.
    I am planning on visiting the exhibition at the Catharijneconvent next time I’m in Utrecht; have you been?

      • I did go to the Catharijneconvent earlier this year, but I can’t remember what the specific exhibit was. It’s an interesting museum, but not my favourite. I think I was hoping for a bit more historical context, rather than purely religious.

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