As I mentioned in my last post, Utrecht’s former red-light street — Hardebollenstraat — is now the place to find lots of local and indie shops selling clothing, designs pieces, and much more. The large windows that were de rigeur for the previous tenants have remained in some cases and been redesigned in others. Each shop is putting their own stamp on the street.
Utca’s Finest is one of the new shops that has found a home in this revamped street. It has been around for a few years now, first as a webshop primarily and then in other locations and pop-ups around town. They are known for their various types of clothing that all promote Utrecht in a cool, urban, graphic style. Think hip hop, skateboarding, and tattoos.
Utca’s Finest is voor Utrecht, uit Utrecht (for Utrecht, from Utrecht). Utca is another way of saying Utrecht, sort of a street version, in the way that Utreg is a dialect version. But don’t take my word for it. I may be too old and too allochtoon. What I do know is that I love their style and plan on getting some of their shirts when I can make up my mind which to get first. U’tje Tattoo, Utca 030 (030 is the Utrecht area code), or the Utca Crest. And then there’s the scarf that is sadly out of stock! Plus there’s all the cool stuff in the brick-and-mortar store on Hardebollenstraat. Choices!
It’s located across the street from the mural I posted about yesterday. In fact, you can see the mural reflected in one of the Utca’s Finest windows. So if you want a special Utrecht gift or just want to wear your Utrecht pride on your shirt/hat/sweater, stop by Utca’s Finest. And if you can’t make up your mind what to get someone, they also have gift certificates so your recipient can be the one to struggle making a choice!
It seems that with the upcoming start of the Tour de France in July and Nijntje/Miffy celebrating her 60th birthday this year, Utrecht is starting to get a bit more international attention. The latest article to make the rounds is from the Washington Post, which calls Utrecht a hidden gem in Amsterdam’s shadow. Of course, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll think this is old news. You’re all cutting edge, avant garde, and in the know. Well done!
Anyway, it’s a nice article that covers some interesting spots and businesses that make Utrecht so vibrant and interesting. The article only scratches the surface. Speaking of businesses, our Vino Veritas is starting to really pick up some steam. A big thanks to everyone who has been coming in recent weeks. And if you’re going to be visiting in July for the Tour de France, don’t forget that we’re located on Biltstraat, where part of the race will take place. Feel free to stop in for some wine and food and say hi!
But back to the article … I’m glad the author included the great story about Utca’s Finest. They do have some very cool stuff, along with some great chutzpah! The other part that stood out to me is such a small thing, but it’s often something small that can be the most entertaining. At the end of the article, there’s a list of places to stay, eat, visit, etc., and it includes the new Mother Goose Hotel. (If you can get a room with a view out of the front of the building, you’ll have a spectacular view of the Domtoren and the city hall.) The part that entertained me, in a local-knowledge kind of way, was the description of the building as a former mattress factory. This is absolutely accurate, but doesn’t begin to cover why this building is so interesting. It hasn’t been a mattress factory for more than 20 years. It’s the building’s history with squatters since then that is much more fascinating.
I wrote about the building and its history back in 2013 as the squatters were being forced out. It’s worth revisiting. There were concerns at the time that the building’s owner wouldn’t actually follow through with the developers who were looking to turn the building into a hotel. I guess the owner faced enough pressure that he had no choice, as Mother Goose opened last year.