About

I’m Alison, a woman from the southern US, who now finds herself in the Netherlands, thanks to an Italian boyfriend. I’m a native Floridian who has spent time in North Carolina, New Orleans and New York, before continuing my love affair with the letter N and moving to the Netherlands. I’m an art historian by degree, a writer/editor by profession, and a photographer in my dreams.

Currently, I’m a freelance writer and editor. One of my jobs allows me to combine my art history and writing in a regular art column for DUTCH magazine. I’ve also written about Utrecht for the magazine. Being a cat lover and an art lover, editing the English text for Amsterdam Pub Cats and L-Tuziasm’s City Trippin’ art catalogue have been some of my favorite jobs.

In 2013 BBC Travel wrote an article about the happiest places on earth to live and Utrecht was included. At the end of the section about Utrecht, they included a link to my blog. I still get regular visitors from that post. And they called me a photographer!

Speaking of which, all photos in this blog — unless otherwise noted — are mine. Please don’t use them without permission. However, if you would like to use them or purchase prints, please get in touch.

You can contact me at abnetsel [at] gmail [dot] com.

97 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Indigo!

    I found your expat blog from Utrecht and I just love it! First of all I’ve fallen in love with your LLP team ( Lola, Luna and Pippo) I love cats and those two black crazy creatures are just adorable.😛 LOL.

    Secondly you live in Utrecht which is (also) my belowed city and looking at your flicr album reminds me of my first encounter with this amazing place. Thanks to your pictures and your attention to details once again I am wondering around my favourite places. Thanks!

    I am even more excited to read your blog because after almost two years spend in London I’m coming back to Utrecht. (!!) Next to all that excitement I’m bit scared … you know …changes, job, language and all of that … So when I’m reading your blog I get an additional motivation and a big kick.

    With your “sweet” recepies and passion for making and creating things you seem like a very interesting person that I share a lot in common… Don’t get me wrong..I don’t want my email to sound like a love confession😛 I am just getting bit emotional here…🙂

    Anyway it would be lovely to hear back from you.

    Groetjes,

    Aga

    • Hi Aga,

      Thanks so much for the kind comments! I know I tend to focus more on my own little corner of Utrecht, rather than in greater details, but I’m glad it helps take you back to some known spots.

      At least you’ve been to Utrecht before, so moving back will be easy! I hadn’t even been to the Netherlands before moving here! Despite that, it’s been a joy to be here and I don’t regret it at all. I’m sure you’ll feel like you never left once you’re back. Success!

  2. Hi!
    Last night I searched for an Utrecht blog and you popped up. It’s quite lovely. The reason for my search is: I am a grad student in California who is trying to get a digital copy of something from Utrecht University’s library. Do you know of any students who might be able to help me out? Thanks in advance.
    Kind Reards,
    Roma

  3. Hi Roma,
    Unfortunately, I don’t really know any students at the university. You’d probably have better luck just contacting the library directly. Considering even their site has an English option, it shouldn’t be hard to get what you’re looking for. Succes!

  4. Hi there,

    Kiwi Ukulele Mike here. Stumbled across your site; lovely photos. If I make it to Utrecht at some point, I’ll let you know, and I’ll bring my uke. After being almost-neighbours in North Carolina, it would be an amusing way to finally actually meet…

    Cheers,

    Mike

    • The more amusing the meeting, the better! If a good laugh and Utrecht aren’t draw enough to come to the Netherlands (although it should be), there’s also a Ukulele Interventie (Ukulele Intervention) group that meets regularly in Rotterdam. Another Southern, uke-lovin’ woman runs that one, I believe. Perhaps I should start my own group here in Utrecht so I finally won’t have to deal with the hassle of travelling distances to get my uke on!

      Congrats on all your uke work in NZ! It’s been a pleasure seeing your name pop up regularly on Uke Hunt and other places!

  5. I’ve just spent some time perusing your blog and photos and have enjoyed the little glimpse into life in Utrecht. I’m also a 30-mumblesomthing American, and from Florida originally, and my husband was just asked if we’re interested in relocating to Utrecht. We’re in Poland at the moment, so I’m thinking it’s going to be a step up!

    I lived in Amsterdam as a student (for a semester) and only have vague memories of coming to Utrecht to look at something particular in a uni library and I’m wondering how the cities compare.

    If you’ve got some downtime and feel like rambling on about life in Utrecht, I’d love to hear anything you’ve got to say.

  6. Hi Indigo,

    Hi its TwoPenneth here. Thank you for visiting my site. I would like to send you a private email so we can talk about books.

    Btw, nice blog you got here.

  7. Hi TwoPenneth. Thanks for the return visit. I’ve added my e-mail address to the “about” information. I look forward to hearing from you!

  8. Greetings! I found your blog through your post on “Teacup Humans,” I love your resulting artwork! Fantastic! Since it seems you’re also an expat blogger, I wanted to know if you’d like to participate in an upcoming World Blog Surf Day. You can find more information here http://tinyurl.com/n299mu and it certainly would be great if you’d consider participating. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

    Best,

    Sezin

  9. Alison,

    Hey! Hope all is well! Just checking in to let you know that you won the Giveaway from Stuff Made With Yarn! Congratulations! If you could email me with your address or a location to have the scarf dropped off, I will get it to you ASAP! Thanks🙂

  10. I just read your Super Bowl blog! Congrats on your win. I tried! I REALLY tried to stay up, but I am not a big a fan as you and then I did not get the cool commercials so at around two I got sleepy! I am very hapy for you though!

  11. I stumbled upon your blog and have been having fun looking around your site. Great Blog! I’m a fellow Expat but Dutchie all at the same time. (I have a foot in each camp but I’m not sure if the shoes fit well all of the time LOL). Great photos, I will be bookmarking you and returning on a regular basis. Thanks – kiwidutch!

    • As I have a fondness for kiwi music, it’s great to have a kiwidutch stop by! Nice to hear from you, and apologies for not seeing your comment sooner. You’d think it would work smoother one wordpress blog to another.😉

  12. As a Texan/Okie who spent a year of young adulthood along the Dutch-Belgian border, I love your website and and your foreign language, photography and cooking efforts. Way to go!

    One thing I learned about Dutch and Flemish speakers was their love of the figurative and poetic use of their language. I learned that sometimes a word was deliberately “dubbelzinnig” (ambiguously dual-meaning) and frequently tongue-in-cheek. Also, I eventually learned that Dutch grammar has to be “felt” as memorization only goes so far.

    For practice at pronunciation though, nothing is better than memorizing some of the tongue-twister poems, such as “Regen, regen allerwegen”.

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Always appreciated! Certainly my Dutch friends enjoy double meanings and tongue-in-cheek conversations, which I find entertaining as well, fortunately. It does kind of give me an idea of how Dutch is used. I love the idea of memorizing the tongue twisters. Our friends have tried to teach us a few, although inevitably they seem to teach them to us late in the evening at the bar.😉

  13. Hi Alison, thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m glad to find you and I’ve added your blog to my RSS. I look forward to hearing about life in Utrecht. When we first started visiting the Netherlands before we expatriated to Belgium, I absolutely fell in love with Utrecht and spent a fair bit of time there. (My husband’s office was in Weorden, so not to far away). I’m sad to say that although we visit the Netherlands quite often as we love it and still have friends there, I’ve not been back to Utrecht in years. I think I will have to remedy that! Anyway, great blog and I look forward to reading more🙂

    • Thanks for the return visit! Utrecht really is a wonderful city, so you should definitely come back for a visit! It´s a good city to just wander around in, since it´s not too overwhelmingly large and not too many tourists. Just the right size!

  14. My wife ( Iris Gerarda Wilhelmina van Vogelpoel- Owens ) is from Utrecht. I lived in the Netherlands from 1976 to 1982 while in the U.S. Air Force. We’ve been married 33 years. She is still Dutch and does not want to be a U.S. Citizen until her mother passes away. She is the only person in her family living in the U.S.. I LOVED going to Utrecht on Saturday, and the first thing that hits you is the smell of flowers- especially the Freezia’s! I smell them as I write this. We travel back to NL every couple of years. Utrecht is my favorite city in the Netherlands.

    • I really love it here, and I find that most people do seem to end up loving Utrecht. It’s hard not to.😉 That’s good that you get to come back for visits regularly. It’s not always easy to do. Thanks for stopping by and thanks for the comment on my Moment In Time photo.

  15. I love utrecht, it’s a wonderfull city…I love it
    congratulations for your photos, are fantastic!
    greetings from rome, italy….and sorry for my bad english😉

    • Grazie mille! Utrecht é una bellissima citta’ e molta interessante. Parlo un poco italiano, pero’, non molto bene.😉 Studia qui o sei qui in vacanza?

  16. ho letto, il tuo ragazzo è italiano, ecco perché lo parli🙂
    brava comunque…no sono a roma adesso..ma sono stato 6 volte ad amsterdam e 4 ad utrecht..bellissima, la amo
    tu studi ad utrecht? lavori?

  17. Hi Alison,

    I was searching Google Images for a photo of the Plompetorengracht (wanted to send a photo of it to someone and, even though I live on it, don’t have any in my own online files) and a very nice pic led me to your blog. I’m originally from Florida too – lived in Tampa, Panama City, Homestead and studied in Gainseville. Any of those by any chance your old stomping grounds? Utrecht IS a marvelous city, isn’t it? Good to read that you seem to really be enjoying your life here. I certainly am!

    All the best,

    Karen

    • How lovely to actually live on the Plompetorengracht! And another Floridian! I’m an Orlando girl, myself, with summers spent in Daytona with my grandparents, but I’m certainly familiar with your old stomping grounds. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying Utrecht as much as I am. It really is a wonderful city, even in the rain.😉

  18. Yes, it is a lovely canal. I know Orlando quite well too. Almost all of my family live in the city, and my mom, sis and brother are right outside it in Longwood.

  19. Hello and thank you for your creative efforts.

    I’m Christoffel and Dutch name (Zylstra) and ancestry aside I’m a Canadian mid thirties fella who’s making his home here in Utrecht with my wife, a Dutch born & raised woman (but Vietnamese parents interestingly) who had been attending the Uithoff for some years prior to leaving for sabbatical on Canada’s west coast where she stumbled onto my whale watching vessel upon which we were married two years later. I’m a whale watch skipper for the last 5-6 years but wrote, photographed and Quarked for print periodicals before that for a decade or so. I’m defintely living the dream but while my citizenship make’s it ways through the bureaucratic mazes I’m let w/o even a work permit for a little while. We have a baby due in December so I’m not without things to do or purpose for which to do them but I’d love to start blogging my pics and vids and thoughts and to find others like yourself who do the same. I blogged my whale watching efforts for years and built up a huge photolibrary but as exciting as Killer whales and breaching humpbacks are, variety is the spice of life. If you are into emailing I’ll share my url to whale pics and maybe you have some ideas for volunteering for me r something I can do to start making some friends and aquiantances for I’ll be here a god while. Best,

  20. Alison,
    I’m a Utrechter, living in Beirut, and I love the pictures and impressions you give of my hometown. I get to come twice a year, but I love to be able to the town anytime I want to trhough your eyes.
    Sietsle (in Beirut)

    • Thank you for the comment! I had just noticed that I’d had a visitor from Beirut and was obviously curious about it. I’m glad I can give you a bit of home, even when you’re away. Any areas in the city center you’d like to see more of?

  21. You’re doing the exact place where I used to bike. I lived in Oost, and left in 1990. My brother still lives there, also in Oost. My favorites? Wilhelmina park, the Kromme Rijn Park there at the entrance to utrecht (from the road to Bunnik), de grachten of course, ‘t Wed and surroundings. love them all. Keep it up.🙂

    • Every time I go to Wilhelmina Park, I always wonder why I don’t go more often. It’s so pretty! It’s only in the past year as I’ve headed out to look for various Rietveld buildings that I’ve started to explore more of Oost, but I’ve loved what I’ve seen so far. Obviously, it’s a bit more residential and neighbourly than the city center; it’s nice to walk around and have people say hello or have children ask about our dog.

    • Thank you! Living here has really helped me fine-tune my photography — so many fascinating things to see and try to capture. But then I miss some of the scenery I used to photograph in the US. I guess the key is to make the most of what you have wherever you are! You’ve got a lot of talent, too. I’ve really enjoyed your photos so far and look forward to seeing more.

  22. I’ve been visiting your website for the past couple years now. I started checking it out when my wife and I were looking to move to the Netherlands and wanted the opinions of Americans living there. The pictures were always fantastic. And, it was good to read your commentary on things.

    On Wednesday, I move into my temporary apartment in downtown Utrecht. I’ll be looking for work over the next 11 weeks. My wife is still at home, but she’ll come over once I find something and pick up my knowledge migrant visa.

    Thanks for inspiring us to come to the Netherlands and to Utrecht in particular.

    • Congrats and good luck! That’s wonderful news! I’m thrilled that I could help encourage someone to consider Utrecht. I hope you find work quickly and hope you enjoy the city as much as I do. Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions about where to find stuff, etc. I live downtown, as well, so I can hopefully point you in the right direction for odds and ends.

  23. Hi Alison,
    We are a group of first year students in Hogeschool Utrecht. As part from our program in ICM (International Communication and Media), we are working on a campaign plan for an Internet Radio show. For research purposes, we would like to ask you if you would like to fill in a questionairre regarding your every day life, focusing on your media usage. The data will only be incorporated in our research for this school project and will help us a lot creating the best campaign plan.
    We are hoping that there are a few people that are willing to fill in our questionairre. Please respond and we will send you the questionnaire. My email is elleke_deleeuw@hotmail.com

    Thank you very much!

    Roos Barneveld, Olaf Nagtegaal, Rachael Stewart, Elleke De Leeuw and Alma Santo

  24. Hi!

    Just found your blog, when looking up some stuff online about how foreigners look upon this little flat wet patch of country and it’s sometimes weird inhabitants🙂 I love Utrecht, fell in love with it when I came here to study Medieval History at the university 12 years ago (from a smaller town in the South of The Netherlands), and never left. I love photography as well as Utrecht, so your blog and your photos are a great find. It gives me a fun and interesting look at my country and city from an expats’ point of view, and helps me otice things that I sometimes take for granted after living here for years. I’ll keep checking your posts!

    Groetjes,
    Pauline

  25. I took some pictures of the Dom and various buildings in the autumn sun a few years back. Lovely blue sky and bright yellow leaves. I quite like them, I can send them to you if you like.

    • As an American with an interest in history, one of the joys of living here now is that history comes alive for me as I get to visit sites that I read about. Even if some of the spots have changed drastically from what they used to be, it’s still fascinating to think of all that has happened over the past 2000 years or so! I’d certainly love to see your photos if you feel like sharing them.

      • and one thing I wanted to mention, did you know that the Lombok neighbourhood (generally in the area between the Kanaalstraat and the windmill called De Ster) hosts a big flea market on the 5th of May each year? I love 2nd hand stuff so the koninginnedagmarkt is also a big thrill for me, but I’ve missed it here in Utrecht the past 2 years and ended up in Lombok on Bevrijdingsdag instead, great atmosphere! Especially since Lombok is an area with a lot of cultural diversity, that gives the flea market a bit of extra spice I think.

  26. Hi Alison,

    I came upon this blog through Dutchnews… I saw an expat Blog about my city and I was interested to see what foreign people thought about my lovely hometown, and boy have I enjoyed reading through the Blog. Beautiful pictures and well written and funny blogposts. One part of the city I would definietly encourage you to explore is the west (Lombok and Oog in Al). I live in Lombok and imo it is the most vibrant and fun neighbourhood in the city (Also for exotic fruits and veg there is no better place to shop) Lombok also has a very interesting history. Oog in Al is also interesting (though very much residential) with lot’s and lot’s of cool architecture. I hope you have many more great years (and photo’s) in what I consider to be the best city in the Netherlands.

    Groetjes
    Frits

    • Hi Frits,
      I know you posted a couple of comments the other day, but the notifications have gotten lost in my e-mail and I’ve been trying to get caught up today and find them again! My apologies for not being able to approve them earlier. I have an acquaintance who lives in Oog in Al, and others have recommended the general Lombok area for shopping. I’ve seen and read bits about some of the neighborhoods in that area and keep meaning to make it over there, but something usually distracts me. Still, I’ve explored the eastern part of the city quite extensively, so I really should “go west” and explore!🙂 Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you’ve enjoyed my postings. I do truly love this city and I hope to spend many more years getting to know more and more of it.

    • Hi!

      I’ll look them up and try and mail them to you this weekend. I love history too, especially medieval history (as that was my major at uni🙂 so living in a city with such a rich medieval history continues to be real treat for me. I can walk along the Oudegracht or some other beautiful spot in the city and still feel so thankful that I ended up here. I come from Eindhoven, a city in the south with a more modern look since it was bombed during WWII (with the Philips factories being located there).So I LOVE living in Utrecht, I city where I can walk across the old Roman Limes and just take 10 steps and then stand under a beautiful Gothic Cathdral!

      Anyway, I love your blog, I found that I just kept clicking from old post to old post today, it’s so interesting to experience your outlook on my home city and country and language. I’m a bit of a language freak actually, so I find it fascinating to read about Woordenboek Wednesdays🙂 But your photos are inspiring too, actually I’m taking a photo-trip with my camera on the first clear day to take photos of city sights I still haven’t photographed yet despite planning to do so for a long time… Hope the sun comes out this weekend!

      Pauline
      (and I agree with Frits, I think Utrecht is by far one of the best and most beautiful cities to live in in this country. I always describe it as “Amsterdam’s little sister, minus the tourists”)

  27. I do so agree with that description Pauline. It’s a perfect description.

    By now I have read every blogpost, and I realized zomething. Looking at my own city through your foreign eyes I am now appreciating many small things about my city that I had by now taken for granted. It’s refreshing how outside eyes can really open my eyes to all the little quirks, and spots I just didn’t notice anymore since I was so used to them. That makes me happy. so, Dankjewel🙂

  28. After years of my husband and I talking about it. We made it! Yes, we are in Zeeland, NL. And it has been so nice to read your blog along the way. We packed up our house sent it to NL, sold our home busines and put in a 7000 miles across America before our move over. Wow, and now we are running the family hotel.
    With a little help with all the blogs the world became a little smaller. Thanks!

  29. Hi Alison, along with your blog, every day, I follow Fluvial magazine in France. Today they posted this article (translated by Google):

    Since April, the waste from the city center of Utrecht, the Netherlands, are collected by an electric boat. The “Ecoboot” embeds the contents of dustbins placed on platforms and transports the waste to the treatment site. In silence. The city of Utrecht in central Netherlands, has some experience of river transport in the city center. For several years, the brewers are indeed using a boat, “Beerboot”, to deliver sixty bars and restaurants along the canal. Recyclables, glass and paper and cardboard were collected them for years by another boat, the “Garbagevessel”. Pride of the city, “Garbagevessel” had still run on diesel, producing noise and pollution. It has been replaced by a new boat, the “Ecoboot”, driven by an electric motor, non-polluting and totally silent. Suitable for transporting waste, “Ecoboot” features on the flanks of platforms that receive the rolling containers placed by users on the banks of the canal. After a lever was pressed by a ripeur, the contents of the trash will switch to a board of eight containers. An electric arm, sort of mini crane can unload containers or removable heavy load waste directly from the dock. The batteries are recharged during the night and the boat can also be used to transport heavy or bulky. The “Ecoboot” was set up by the city of Utrecht as part of a European project Interreg. Belgium, France (Lille and Paris among others), in Germany or Switzerland, several mayors have their eyes on Utrecht and expect initial feedback to launch their own “écobateaux”.

    http://www.fluvialnet.com/murmures/

    • Thank you for passing this along! I knew about some of the boats, including the bierboot, which I’ve seen quite often. The boats are used for a variety of purposes, so it’s wonderful that they’re taking a more ecologically advanced approach to it.

  30. Just happened to stumble on your site looking for possible ukulele groups in Utrecht… there are none. But in return I get an awesome and enlightening view of my own city. I’m currently in 2010.🙂

    I saw you did some reports on bookshops in Utrecht and as well saw you did some reports on demonstrations, ACU, occupy and such. So you might be interested in the oldest political bookstore of the Netherlands which is located on the Oude Gracht 65.

    Anyway, thanks for the brilliant visual and verbal perspective on live in Utrecht.

    Raoul

    • Unfortunately, it seems like Rotterdam has the best ukulele group at the moment, although there seem to be some options in Amsterdam, from what I’ve read of other expats. If you do find any uke groups in Utrecht, please let me know!

      Thanks for the info about the oldest political bookstore. I’ll have to go visit them. I’ve been looking at the website and it looks fantastic! Feel free to share any other suggestions. I’m always interested in learning more about the city. I hope you continue to enjoy my take on it all.

    • It is always nice to find other southerners. We can appreciate the hardships of going without Moon Pies, pulled pork, and the typical Southern hospitality.🙂

  31. Dear Alison,
    I’ve been reading your blog since my decision to relocate to Utrecht to my boyfriend. It’s been like learning about my new home from afar. And finally this Thursday I’m coming here for my life adventure. Maybe you’d like to meet for a coffee some time (starting next week)? I’m hoping to rich my experience in Utrecht with new connections🙂
    Warm wishes from my current home, Vilnius (Lithuania).

    • Congrats on your upcoming move! I hope it goes smoothly and that you’re very happy here. I hope my blog will help make the city more familiar. I looked at a lot of photos of the city before moving and it definitely helped when I could recognize places.🙂 I’d love to meet up some time once you’re settled in. Just drop me an email when you’re free. Goed reis!

  32. HI Alison,
    Stumbled on your site this AM and took a look around. I too am an American expat who came to Holland for love. Met my Dutch wife in San Francisco (home) 35 years ago but alas we parted company. We reconnected 2 years ago in Italy and now we’re married and living in Wageningen. I left an entire life and career behind, but I am oh so much happier here.

    Utrecht is an extraordinary mix of the best of old and new. Love the Ledig Erf, Vingerhoed, Taj Mahal etc. etc. and the canals. I find almost all the Dutch provincial cities to be super interesting: Groningen, Maastricht, Amersfoort, the list goes on.

    Learning Dutch is difficult………but it’s going OK. Langzaam maar zeker. Good luck to you, and I’ll keep an eye on the blog.

    Jim

    • Hi Jim! What a wonderful story (although sorry it took so long for you both to reconnect). Good things come to those who wait, I guess!🙂

      I’m glad to hear you’re settling in so well here. It really is a great country, and as you said, there’s so much to see and appreciate in places big and small. Good luck with your Dutch lessons and I hope to see you around my blog again.

  33. Good for you for being featured on the BBC!
    I was so proud to find the town I’ve called home for five years on a ‘happiest places’ list. (Illogical satisfaction, of course, but that didn’t deter my urge to run around high-fiving everybody and their dog, yelling “Well done, friends! We’re awesome at deciding where to live!”)
    Anyway, then I wandered over here and am very much enjoying your blog. Currently I’m in Austin and absolutely love it, but Dom City sure is charming.🙂
    Keep up the good work.

    • Thanks for the comment! I know what you mean, wanting to run around cheering everyone!
      As for Austin, I’ve got some friends there and I’d love to get to visit them and experience the city for myself. It always sounds interesting. Enjoy!

  34. Hi Alison! Love your blog…found you through Sophie….saw that you lived in New Orleans….ALWAYS wanted to live there (not forever…but just for a year or two). Being from Texas, we used to go there often, and I always wanted to know what it would be like to LIVE there. So…you are a southern girl, with an Italian boyfriend living in Utrecht! PERFECT! Love it! Look forward to reading more of your blog!

    • Hi Diana! It’s great that we’ve found each other’s blogs through Sophie! I went to Tulane, which is how I ended up in New Orleans for a few years. It really was a great experience and I really would have liked to have stayed on after graduation, but I never quite got myself organized in time. I always wanted to visit Texas, but never got around to it, though I have plenty of friends there or from there. I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog, too!

  35. Now this is good news. I just reviewed Eethuis te Koop in Utrecht. It is the best Dutch food I have eaten. I have been in restaurants that I liked more, but the food here was the best to date.

  36. hi Alison,

    I really love your blog! I searched for English language book stores in Utrecht and your blog popped up. I just moved to Utrecht last week and I’m still getting my bearings here. I’m from Sydney, Australia and moved over here for a guy in Tilburg, which didn’t work out after a month but I loved living in the Netherlands so much I decided to stay and get into life here. I just started to follow your blog and can’t wait to see what you publish next🙂 groetjes!

    • Hi! Welcome to Utrecht! Be warned that some of the book stores may not exist any more, unfortunately. It’s sometimes useful to check with expat groups to see if anyone has any books they don’t want any more. Plus, you get to meet new people.🙂 Don’t hesitate to ask if you’ve got any other questions about Utrecht. I’m happy to help if I can. Thanks for following my blog. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to post something good soon!

  37. I’m American living in Zeeland, NL. My husband and I want to take a trip to Utrecht for a day. It’s the time of year we can do this. Are there places to park in the center? We want to come next week Mon and Tue. Your pictures are so inviting. And we are looking at new place to maybe move to. Zeeland is pretty and we are on the beach, but miss having some Americans around. Thanks for any information and you may give.

    • Hi Debbie,
      Parking is really expensive in Utrecht, essentially to discourage people from driving in the center and surrounding area if possible. There are some parking garages on the outskirts, which may be better than trying to find street parking, which will be incredibly expensive for a couple of days. If taking the train is at all an option, it may be better. Also, be aware that a lot of places are closed on Monday, which will limit what you can do and see and eat. All that said, Utrecht really is a great city and I hope you enjoy your visit!

  38. Alison,
    I was in Utrecht with my husband this October, and we went in search of Vino Veritas,. only to find it closed! We tried to stop in last year, but our only day in Utrecht was on a day you were closed. I’m so sorry I missed the opportunity to meet you.
    Your faithful reader,
    Nicole

  39. Hey, Alison. Very nice blog, especially photos of things / events. Thanks.

    A few questions: Is there much of an English speaking expat community in Utrecht? My wife and I are retired, both age 66 and looking to spend time (6 months +/-) every year in a place where we can volunteer somewhere each week, learn the language, make a few friends (any English speakers like us in Utrecht?), enjoy the culture, etc.

    FYI, we’ve lived outside the U.S. before. And our youngest daughter is married to a fine Dutchman. I hold an EU passport as well as my American one.

    Thanks.

    • Hi John,

      There is a large English-speaking expat community, but they tend to be on the younger side, like 20-30s. That said, there are plenty of English speakers in Utrecht and the various expat groups are also quite helpful in answering questions. There’s also now an expat center at the city hall that can help direct you toward language classes, volunteer groups, and all the daily life questions you may have. With the university and a lot of international businesses here, it’s a fairly cosmopolitan city. There is an international women’s group that is fairly active and includes a much broader range of ages, and I suppose if your wife joined, it might be a good way for both of you to inevitably meet more people.

      Overall, I do think Utrecht could be a good spot for you for what you’re interested in. People tend to be quite friendly and it’s not hard to get into a conversation even with locals if you find a nice local café/bar. There are also Dutch retired people who volunteer to help Dutch learners practice speaking, which could be a nice way to also meet some locals. Plus, Utrecht is so centrally located that it should be easy to get out and visit other cities if you want.

      I hope that helps a little!

  40. Thanks, Alison. Just the sort of info I was hoping to get. If things work out, hope to see you in Utrecht. Looks like mid July , 2017.

    Debbie, at this point, we are exploring places we could live in for a portion of each year. Right now, the Netherlands and Italy (Ravenna, Bologna, Genova) have caught our eye. What are you both looking to do?

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