I sometimes have the feeling that I am too negative about the university. It is just in a Dutchman’s nature to complain about everything. The great things about Utrecht University are eventually taken for granted, which is not a good thing for a blogger like me who is out to give international students a fair look at their possible destination.
Obviously there are many great things I could talk about, but I want to focus on Utrecht’s architecture. Utrecht is situated in the middle of the Netherlands, but it has the Rhine flowing through it. A lot of the buildings next to the river have a lower level just above the water and a main floor where there is no risk of flooding if the water rises.
The Wikipedia page for Utrecht has a lot of pictures and background for those interested. The buildings all look very authentic and most university buildings inside the city center are just renovated on the inside to accommodate a great number of students. One building, Achter Sint Pieter 200, used to be a very big bank and still holds many authentic details while being a very modern building once you get inside.
Inside the city are five churches, which form a Christian cross if conntected on a map. In the center is the Dom, a huge cathedral, with gorgeous details. I believe you are allowed to climb to the top for only a few euros, which is well worth it if you are not too afraid of hights.
What I find really amazing though, is that Utrecht University also has very modern and strange architecture. The university campus, called the Uithof, is just outside of the city, about 20 minutes by bus from the city center. All the university buildings not in the city center are built there and they all look incredibly modern and amazing. The Educatorium, containing two enormous lecture halls, three examination rooms and the biggest cafeteria I have ever seen. It has a slope down for the cafeteria and one up for the lecture rooms. On the right side of the slope is glass so you can look outside, where there is also a slope and several geographical figures decorating the building.
The library, containing more than four million books spread over several floors, looks very modern and is very comfortable to be in. It does not only contain legal texts, but it is shared instead with all departments. If you are anything like me and you regularly feel like branching your research, this library is a gift sent from heaven.
The Minnaert building has a fountain inside of it, which provides a green way of cooling the building. Also, how awesome is to have a fountain greet you between classes? This is a physics building though, so you probably will not spend much time in it. Not that the university minds if you peek inside. If you really get in trouble, say you are doing a case study on laws pertaining to construction provisions.