Utrecht: gezelligheid on the canal
The last day of April Holland dresses in orange. The Netherlands celebrates its Queen's Day (Koninginnedag) taking to the streets to do what they like best: gezelligheid, a successful combination of festive mood, welcoming atmosphere and friendly intimacy. In the university town of Utrecht, we put its philosophy into practice in five essentials that look at Old Canal (Oudegracht), the most charming artery in the city.
Utrecht is not a love at first sight. It requires your time to show yourself completely. It is something like a summer lover who, while not conquering suddenly, is leaving his subtle imprint of rogue pose and scholarly background that is dangerously addictive.
The lively university nucleus of Utrecht wastes attractive for all tastes. Favorite destination for students, night owls, cannabis and music lovers, the city suffers a strong attachment to everything that smells like culture. If you have a few hours in the city where, in 1713, Spain and Great Britain ended the War of Succession, follow the flow of water, through the winding promenade that draws the great Oudegracht.
Keeping the city, the first thing we see is the Dom, the Eiffel tower of Utrecht, the tallest and oldest in Holland. Built between 1321 and 1382, the tower belongs to the Gothic cathedral with a quiet medieval cloister that can be visited. The central nave sank in 1647, when a hurricane forever separated the tower from the main structure. Its 112 meters high acts as a lighthouse to all those who lose the north between their streets. The tower is open to the public. If you climb the 465 steps, and the day accompanies, you will have one of the most beautiful panoramic views of this country without summits.
The cloister of Dom © Corbis
- Feast in department stores: Winkel Van Sinkel
In many ways, the Winkel is one of the most unique places in the city. Sharing a place with the City Hall, This old warehouse is a gastronomic and nocturnal reference. Its history dates back to the nineteenth century, when it worked as a department store, the first in the country. Today this space, apart from its resolute and well presented recipes, promise hours of fun behind the neoclassical facade of bizarre statues.
During the day, the upstairs works as a restaurant; the one below - at the channel level - elaborates and serves Tapas in a bar inspired by our cuisine. When the sun goes down, Nachtwinkel realizes the veteranship and class that distills Utrechtsian nightlife. Sessions with the latest in European electronics, djs with their own name and parties that last until dawn.
The tapas bar of Winkel Van Sinkel © Winkel Van Sinkel
- Let's talk beer
The Belgie (Oudegracht 196) It is the meeting point for brewers of all ages and is perfect as Radio Patio of the coming night hours. It is the place of the first beer. And of the second, third and fourth. If you set out to try all the fermented references of the Belgian garito, you would have to go to its bar more than 150 times. And that without counting on its 20 types of draft beer. Our recommendation to inaugurate the evening: a blonde Vedett (5.2%) or a bottle of Bush (12%), the strongest ale in Belgium.
- Music as a way of life
The Tivoli room, once orphanage and theater, has given much to talk about. An essential in the night utrechtiense. It has two offices (in Oudegracht 245 and in Helling 7), which total about 300,000 visitors a year. Almost nothing. Soon on the stage of the Old Canal will be some great as Beach House, The Walkmen, Skunk Anansie, Israel Vibration or 2ManyDjs.
The Tivoli room, a must in the utrechtian night © Tivoli
- Afterlife sounds:
't Oude Pothuys (Oudegracht 279). In a discreet corner, under a label with an unpronounceable name, Weekly appointments with jazz, blues or rock since 1976 are listed. A tiny entrance that goes to a cavernous tavern - in summer they open an access to the terrace at the canal level-. With an agenda that does not give truce a single day, the cave rubs its capacity with the jam sessions of disparate styles. As for cooking, uninterrupted hours, Dutch specialties at a good price and a variety of foodie-proof dishes.
't Oude Pothuys: weekly dates with jazz ©' t Oude Pothuys