When you think of Holland, most of you will automatically picture Amsterdam. Beyond doubt, Amsterdam is one of the most fantastic and enchanted places to go to in the Netherlands, but there are so many other interesting cities worth a visit in the Netherlands, that I consider it my special and privileged task as future inhabitant of the Netherlands to get you acquainted with these other city gems. So today I would like to take you on a virtual tour in one of Holland's most beautiful cities: Utrecht. Since 2015, when this city hosted the "Le Grand Depart de la Tour de France", the grand start of one of the most prestigious sports events in the world, Utrecht has officially been put on the world map.

Recently, foreign media reported the passing away (23.08.1927 - 16.2.2017) of a well-known citizen, Dick Bruna, the author and illustrator of Nijntje, known in English as Miffy the rabbit. He is said to be the most translated author in the Netherlands, except for Anne Frank. His books were translated into over 50 languages and Bruna sold some 85 million books during his life, news agency ANP said. The first was published in 1955. His museum, the Dick Bruna Huis, in Utrecht, is well-known by young families.

I'm not going to bother you with the long history of the city, but I would like to mention that it originated 50 B.C. as a Roman fortress along the Rhine river (in Latin: Traiectum ad Rhenum = crossing along Rhine) on what is now the Dom Square. 

The iconic Dom tower, with its 112 m height being the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, at the heart of Utrecht's historical old centre, is open to the public all year round. You will need to be fit to climb the 465 steps as there is no elevator, but the breathtaking view over the city is really worth it.

You can also experience the DOMunder, a 75 min. guided underground tour to discover 2000 years of Utrecht history.

What makes Utrecht unique in the world is the web of gorgeous canals with warfs and wharf cellars, the latter hosting bars, restaurants and small shops. I can't think of another city in The Netherlands that has that such a lot of outside terraces, offering the finest food and drinks.

Dapp Frietwinkel Utrecht, the first biological fries shop in the Netherlands was opened in Utrecht (Vinkenburgstraat 10).  Their delicious fries are served in a clever cone with built-in sauce holder.

Utrecht has a rich culture: various museums, art galleries, parks, beautiful architecture, statues & sculptures ...   I simply adore the sculpture "Spoetnikkijker" (Sputnik-watcher), made by Oswald Wenckebach in 1957. The sculpture used to be somewhere else until it was placed at the Park Sonneborgh in 2007.

Two other sculptures I want to share with you: (left) De marktvrouw (Market Woman) by Theo van de Vathorst 1976 located at the Vismarkt & (right) Hugo Wstinc (a former 14th century member of the clergy entitled to a prebend for special services at the Dom cathedral) by Jan Hendrik Brom 1913 located in the Dom courtyard.

The Railway Museum in Utrecht, Het Spoorwegmuseum, established in 1927 is dedicated to preserving historical equipment from the Dutch national railway. In 1954 the museum was permanently housed in the Maliebaan Station in Utrecht. It does not only attract lots of families, but it is also a great location to take wonderful pictures, which I love sharing with you.  All photo's are taken with a Nikon D610 full-frame camera.

Railway Station Museum, Maliebaan, Utrecht

I already mentioned her name in the beginning of my post, so I would like to end with a serious anecdote. Although Anne Frank is linked to the city of Amsterdam, it is actually the city of Utrecht (location Janskerkhof) that was donated her statue. In order to commemorate all those that have been prosecuted in the Netherlands, the Anne Frank statue, made by the artist Pieter d'Hont in 1959, the year Anne Frank would have turned 30, was a donation by the Utrecht youth on Memorial Day (5th May 1959) to the city and unveiled in 1960.

So dear friends, I hope that I have been able to convince you all of the beauty of Utrecht, so that next time you come over to Holland, you may want to spend a day in this lovely city to check it out for yourself.  And maybe, we might even bump into each other.

Take care!