It’s been a tradition of ours for a couple of years now, to go Christmas shopping in our favourite city in the Netherlands, which is: Utrecht! Utrecht has all the charm that Amsterdam has but it is quieter and cleaner. There are less tourists, less cyclists and it just feels safe and homey. Maybe that’s because I did study here for three years and I’ve even lived in the city for a while. It will always be my home. And with the holidays approaching, it was time to pay the city another visit to get some fun and original presents!
Utrecht is easy accessible by train and when you get out of the train station, you’ll walk into Hoog Catharijne which is the indoor shopping area with lots of stores and little restaurants. If you want to give someone some chocolate, make sure to find the Lindt chocolate store, which has a variety of absolutely delicious chocolates.
Lots of stores you can find in Hoog Catharijne, are chains you can find anywhere in the Netherlands, so we went outside quickly, to find some more unique stories in the streets of Utrecht.
For books, go to Broese Boekverkopers, which is one of my favourite bookstores in the country. I even worked here for a little bit because of that. It’s a big, independent bookstores with many, many categories and a huge array of English books. If you’re more into boardgames, find Subcultures. A smaller place filled to the brim with the best games.
The best place to find original gifts must be It’s a present! It’s a tiny store filled with cute and funny presents, like mugs, flower pots, funko’s, lamps…
Some other stores that are great for gifts (or gift ideas, if you don’t know what you wanna ask for your birthday) are Waar, Dille & Kamille and Keck and Lisa. You can find the first two stores also in other cities in the Netherlands, but if you come across them, you just have to go in to see the latest things.
Lastly: for the family members or friends who love to cook, pay a visit to Betsies kookwinkel, a huge store filled with everything you need for cooking, and some fun extra’s, like a bicycle pizza cutter you never even knew you needed.
Besides shopping, we also love to just spend some time in the city, so make sure to not only focus on the stores, but see a bit of Utrecht as well when you’re there. The canals, the small houses. Like I said, Utrecht has all the charm Amsterdam has, but it’s better!