Art and design shopping in Utrecht

Utrecht devotes a lot of attention to art and design. Beautiful design shops, extraordinary exhibitions and luxury antiques shops – Utrecht is the place to find them. Of course, you need to know where to find them, so we have selected a few nice addresses for you.

Grachten Galerie (Oudegracht 185): This gallery with changing exhibitions is located in one of the most beautiful spots in Utrecht, on the Oudegracht above the wharf cellars.

Atelier de Loeff (Loeff Berchmakerstraat 12): A special workshop. The artists all have a mental disability. They create the most beautiful papier-mâché art objects as well as candles. The studio is well worth a visit.

Morren Galleries (Oudegracht 340): Famous gallery for contemporary figurative art from Holland and abroad. Frequently changing exhibitions by famous and upcoming artists.

Juffermans Kunsthandel (Jansstraat 19): This is the address for top-class works of art from the great 20th century artists, including Picasso, Bacon, Hirst, Warhol or Van Dongen.

Quintessens (Nieuwegracht 53): Specialises in modern art, particularly Dutch, Belgian and French artists from the 20th century. If you like painting, photography and sculpture you may want to visit this gallery.

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Fashion shopping in Utrecht

Utrecht lies in the very heart of Holland. It has a compact and attractive inner city, which is mostly inaccessible to cars. As such, Utrecht’s city centre forms a lovely backdrop for a day of shopping. With its many little boutiques and big brand shops, Utrecht certainly offers ample choice for even the most blasé fashionista. So if you are looking for the latest fashion, Utrecht is the place to visit.

Oude Gracht/Lijnmarkt/Choorstraat: The city centre makes for some lovely shopping. The Lijnmarkt is a bustling, busy street with many fashion and shoe shops. Here you can catch glimpses of the beautiful Oude Gracht, which also boasts plenty of special fashion and jewellery shops.

Korte Jansstraat and Domstraat: Two special shopping streets with surprising shops. This is not the place to go for big fashion chains but rather for the small, specialist design shops.

Schoutenstraat and Korte Minrebroederstraat: Historical streets just outside the bustling shopping district, with small, exclusive shops. It’s an easy walk from the Neude, definitely worth the trouble!

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Markets in Utrecht

Utrecht is a city where you can visit a market every day of the week. The centre of the city is host to three large markets: the Lapjesmarkt (fabric market), the Bloemenmarkt (flower market) and the large general market held at Vredenburg.

Fabric market of Utrecht

The Lapjesmarkt of Utrecht is the largest and oldest fabric market in Holland. It has been around for more than 400 years. Every Saturday between 8.00 am and 1.00 pm on the Breedstraat you can find all the fabrics and cloths you need.

Flower market of Utrecht

The Bloemenmarkt of Utrecht takes place in two locations. Every Saturday from 7.00 am to 5.00 pm, the Janskerkhof morphs into the largest flower and plant market of Utrecht. This is where you can by everything from bulbs to plant pots.

At the same time, another flower market is on the go at Oude Gracht and Bakkerbrug. Here some 12 market stalls devote their sales mostly to flowers and bouquets. If you are walking here from Oude Gracht in the direction of Lange Viestraat, you simply have to order a Mario bread roll (broodje Mario) from the Italian stall, drink a glass of beer at Stadskasteel Oudaen and then go for a boat excursion with Shipping Company Schuttevaer.

Vredenburg market

The largest market of Utrecht is the large general market held at Vredenburg. This is where you can buy fish, meat, vegetables, fruit, bread, belts, jackets, accessories and electronics. You are also in the right place for a bread roll with herring, a fresh treacle waffle or a bag of Dutch liquorice.

Held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the Vredenburg market counts between 75 and 125 stalls! Saturdays are busiest day of the week.

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Shoppen around the canals

Spend some wonderful shopping time along the Oudegracht, with its large department stores and chain stores selling clothing, shoes, skincare products and much, much more.

If you need a rest, simply take a break on one of the sunny outdoor cafés by the water. This is the ultimate combination of characteristic Utrecht and extensive shopping.

Shopping mall

Hoog Catharijne is the very best shopping centre in the Netherlands for endless indoor shopping.

With over 150 shops between the main railway station and the Utrecht city centre. This is a must for every shopaholic! The complex has a cinema, halls, offices and houses.

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Indoor shopping in Utrecht

With its beautiful canals, car-free city centre and abundance of great shops, Utrecht is an excellent city for a shopping spree. The weather might be less inviting sometimes, so it’s good to know where you can shop and stay dry. We have selected some nice department stores and indoor shopping centres in Utrecht for you.

De Bijenkorf (St Jacobsstraat 1): A beautiful department store that stocks the best brands in fashion, shoes, accessories, kitchenware and furniture.

Hoog Catharijne: Hoog Catharijne is believed to be the biggest shopping centre in Holland. Linked to Utrecht Central Station, it is easily accessible and you will find a shop for everything you need.

V&D (Rijnkade 3): Big, pleasant department store with a wide range of products. From fashion and home to electronics and literature, you can easily spend an hour or more here.

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Dom Tower is the highest church tower

With a height of 112 metres, the Dom Tower is the highest church tower in the Netherlands and can be seen from far outside of the city.

It is the ultimate symbol of Utrecht, with 465 steps and a well-deserved magnificent view of the city once you make it to the top.

eing 112 m and 32 cm (369 ft) in height, the Dom Tower is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands. The highest viewpoint is at 95 m (312 ft). From this platform you have a magnificent panoramic view of the city of Utrecht and its surroundings. During the climb the guide will pause at various levels in the tower for a brief explanation of the tower’s history.

You are only allowed to climb the Dom Tower under the supervision of a guide. The guided tour of the Dom Tower will commence inside the Tourist Information Office (VVV) at the Domplein 9-10. Entrance tickets to the tower are sold inside the Tourist Information Office by RonDom. Guided tours will be conducted in both Dutch and English if necessary. Ask for extra information sheets at our desk. We have sheets available in: German, English, French, Italian, Dutch, Russian, Spanish, Hungarian, and Japanese.

Opening hours
Tourist Information Office (VVV) 2012:
Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday and Monday 12-5pm.

Please mind: we are closed on the 1st of January, 30th of April, and 25th and 26th of December. Dom Tower Tours (Reservations are recommended. Please call 0031 (0)30 2360010)

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Discover the secrets of the Sonnenborgh observatory!

In the night of 18 to 19 August a safe was stolen from the observatory. In the safe was one of the five meteorites who where seen falling and found in the Netherlands. This meteorite is often called Serooskerke meteorite, but a common synonym is Ellemeet meteorite. The meteorite fell from space on August 28 1925. It broke up in the sky and at least two fragments were found near the villages of Serooskerke and Ellemeet. In the safe were some other meteorites as well.

Fortunately the thiefs were not after the meteorites. They were all found near some tennis courts by players looking for their tennis balls in the bushes next to the court.

To celebrate the return of the meteorites Sonnenborgh museum & observatory has a new exhiition with the returned meteorites.

Discover the secrets of Sonnenborgh. Go behind the thick walls of the 16th Century Bastion to search for cannon emplacements. Climb the stairs up to the 19th Century telescope domes and gaze at the stars. Imagine yourself as a meteorologist and carry out exciting weather experiments or take a close up view of the Sun with the aid of a special solar telescope. The observatory and meteorological institute were established in 1854 on top of the old Sonnenborgh bastion which dates back to 1552. Scientists conducted research into the weather, the stars and planets, as well as time measurement. Today Sonnenborgh is both a museum and an observatory, and there is still a great deal to see and do.

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Nederlands Volksbuurtmuseum

Over one thousand years of the history of the most famous Utrecht working-class area, Wijk C, is on display in the Dutch museum of back streets and popular neighbourhoods.

The Dutch museum of back streets and popular neighbourhoods (Nederlands Volksbuurtmuseum) is situated on Waterstraat 27, at a walking distance from Utrecht central station. The museum offers some of its exhibitions in English, including a multimedia installation with stories about popular neighbourhoods, told in Cockney, and an animation film about the history of the area of ‘Wijk C’ in Utrecht.

Opening hours
The museum is open from 11 am to 5 pm

  • on Tuesday – Friday and Sunday
  • on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Saturday of the month:
    March 5th, 12th, 19th, April 2nd, 9th, 16th.

Closed on Mondays and public holidays,
and on Saturday March 26th, April 23rd, 30th.

Adults: € 5,-
Free entrance: children up to 12 years old, benefactors of the museum, holders of ‘Museumkaart’ and ‘U-Pas’.

Every first Saturday of the month there is a guided tour for € 7,50, including entrance to the museum. The tour is in Dutch.
Next guided tours are on March 5th, April 2nd, May 7th.

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The Dick Bruna Huis is a celebration of the artistic work of Utrecht

There is only one Utrecht creation more famous than the Rietveld chair: Miffy, the little rabbit created by designer Dick Bruna in 1955.

Before talking about the museum itself, I feel it’s worth providing a quick look into Dick Bruna’s personal story and his development of Nijntje. Both are fascinating stories which the museum also shares with it’s visitors. Bruna was born in 1927 to a very successful publisher who wished his son to follow in the family business. During the Second World War, the Bruna family went into hiding; and to pass the time, Dick Bruna started drawing and painting. As he developed his own style, he was increasingly influenced by Henri Matisse and the idea of using simple lines and bold colors. After the war, Bruna convinced his father he wasn’t meant to work in publishing and instead began designing covers for his father’s company.

It was while vacationing in 1955 that Bruna developed the story of Nijntje as he was making up bedtime stories for his son about a rabbit they had seen in the vacation home garden. After sketching the rabbit, Nijntje became a reality – the name “Nijntje” coming from the word konijntje (bunny). Since 1955, Bruna has written and illustrated over 30 Nijntje books that have been translated into 40 different languages – though outside of the Netherlands, Nijntje is known as “Miffy.” In every story Nijntje is portrayed in a way that children can relate to, and her experiences cover a range of topics that children may encounter.

The Dick Bruna Huis is located in a building across the street from the main Centraalmuseum building, but tickets still must be purchased at the main building. And because I can never shut up about how much I love the Museumkaart, I’d like to point out that admission is free for card holders.

As soon as you walk into the Dick Bruna Huis, you can tell that the space is intended to be playful. A giant Nijntje greets you at the entrance, with little peepholes in the base for visitors to find a surprise (all G-rated, I promise).

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AAMU is celebrating its 15th anniversary

The AAMU in Utrecht is the only museum in Europe that has contemporary Aboriginal visual art from Australia on display.

The AAMU is celebrating its 15th anniversary with an exhibition about compelling stories in distinctive and thought-provoking graphic art works. For Remember Me: Stories in print 60 art works were brought specially from Australia to the Netherlands.

Works of art collected during the 1990s are at the core of the AAMU collection. The collection has grown over the course of many years. Given its specific focus, the AAMU was able to secure a number of important Dutch collections of Aboriginal art on long term loans which complement the core collection. The collections of the Groninger Museum, the University Museum Gerardus van der Leeuw of the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, the Nijmeegs Volkenkundig Museum of Radboud University and the Wereldmuseum Rotterdam are on permanent loan to the AAMU.

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