A couple weeks ago I had to take a last-minute trip to Holland for a funeral and I’m just getting to the photos now. The plus side of such an emotional occasion was the chance to see The Motherland again – literally: it is the land of my mother. I also lived there as a child, my boyfriend is Dutch, and I finally scored my Dutch citizenship, allowing me to whisk past immigration as if I were a true native and not someone who hasn’t seen Holland for the last ten years.
The majority of my time was spent seeing family in and around Utrecht, a sizable (by Dutch standards) city in the heart of the country. If you want to see real Holland – bikes, cheese, cobblestones and all – this is your spot. The heart of the city is very old (ancient by American standards), there are plenty of great cafes and boutiques, and it is just so Dutch. Best of all, this underrated gem is practically tourist-free and only a 20 minute train ride from Amsterdam. If you can manage to emerge from your “coffee shop” haze long enough to explore the country, this lively and bustling student town should be on the top of your list.
Want must-see tips from a real native? Check out Local Flavor: Utrecht, The Netherlands