Before I was struck down with the plague (OK, maybe just a really bad cold), I got to see the new initiative taking place on Biltstraat. I had read about the stickers going up all along the street and was curious to see them in person.
Biltstraat, a great street just outside the old city ring canal has seen a resurgence in the past year or so. When we first moved here, it was a fairly dull street with not much more than a lot of work placement offices and the occasional shop and grocery store. Now, there are great shops like AYA Living (fun, affordable items for the home and more), a new branch of Bert’s Bierhuis, and lots of interesting restaurants, including the unusual Te Koop, which sells not only food, but also the random bits of décor inside the restaurant.
Still, there are a few places standing empty or currently undergoing refurbishment. To get people interested in the street again and to help potential investors and entrepreneurs get a feel for what people in the neighbourhood want to see, the Biltstraat retailers association has started a fun initiative to see what kinds of stores people want to see move into Biltstraat. Anyone with an interest can go into AYA Living and pick up some of these stickers, fill them out, and place them on the windows of empty store fronts. (Be kind and don’t stick them elsewhere.)
Some of the most frequent suggestions are for a bakery/lunch place, drugstore, bookstore, cheese shop, and a Hema (a popular Dutch chain a bit like Target). Although there are many of these kinds of shops on Nachtegaalstraat (in theory, one block over), I understand the desire to have some of these shops on Biltstraat for sheer convenience, especially since Nachtegaalstraat is much busier, not to mention the big intersection by the Stadsschouwburg.
For multiple reasons, I like this initiative and am happy to see the businesses on Biltstraat taking such a positive approach to improving this historic street. After all, the street has been around since 1139 and was first paved in one form or another back in 1290. The street even has a very active Twitter account that does a great job of promoting the shops and keeping people up to date on what is happening on the street.
So the next time you’re in Utrecht, don’t forget to check out Biltstraat. Have a coffee at Bagels & Beans, do your grocery shopping at Jumbo, pick up some new guitar strings at Key Music, have a spa day at Descansa, and play laser tag at the Laser Centrum. Who knows what will be moving in next. Maybe even a wine bar as someone requested in the first photo.