Where is Utrecht University?
Utrecht University

The university is based in Utrecht – a beautiful, bustling city in the geographical centre of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is one of the world's smaller countries, with 16.3 million inhabitants and covering an area of 41,500 square kilometres. Even so, it’s the sixth largest exporter and investor in the world. This is partly thanks to its central location in Western Europe.

Where is Utrecht city in Europe?

The Netherlands and Utrecht are an ideal base from which to visit other countries throughout Europe while you are studying here. There are excellent transport links to all major European cities. Schiphol Airport has flights to and from destinations all over the world and is just a short car or train ride from Utrecht. Utrecht itself is the hub of the Dutch railway network.

About the Netherlands
The Netherlands

In a nutshell:

13 research universities
38 universities of applied sciences
Official name: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Kingdom of the Netherlands), also called Holland
Form of government: Constitutional monarchy
Capital city: Amsterdam
Seat of government: The Hague
Surface area: 41,500 km2, of which 33,800 km2 is land; 26% of the country is below sea level
Population: 16.3 million (485 people per km2)
Currency: euro
Languages: Dutch and Frisian
Religion: historically, Protestant (18%) and Catholic (28%); Islam is gaining popularity (4%) particularly due to immigration (source: Central Bureau of Statistics, 2010)

Culture Shock

Studying in Utrecht will provide you with many new experiences. But it isn’t always easy to be away from home. Don’t be surprised if you struggle with:

  • being far away from your family and friends
  • the social and academic use of English
  • unfamiliar styles of learning and teaching
  • different social behaviours and values – experiencing a new culture
  • the Dutch food
  • living alone and sharing a house
  • the difference in climate – coping with cold and sometimes rainy weather
  • differences in transportation – riding your own bike
Culture shock

Normal feelings

Keep in mind that these feelings are normal, and when you talk to other international students or Dutch students who have spent some time abroad, you will find that they experience(d) the same things. In adjusting to a new culture – even if this culture is not so different from your own – you go through several phases. From the ‘honeymoon phase’ where everything is new and wonderful, through a ‘negotiation phase’ where you start to notice how things differ from what you are used to at home, which can be frustrating, through an adjustment phase where you come to terms with these differences and develop new habits and routines, to finally a ‘mastery phase’ where you feel comfortable in the new culture.


People experience these feelings in a variety of degrees. If these feelings are interfering with your ability to study, please don’t hesitate to ask for help from a friend or a study advisor.
And remember that most students return with greater self-confidence and the ability to manage in an intercultural environment!