With 170 nationalities now living in the city, life in Utrecht is truly cosmopolitan, and it was also recently voted the second best city in the Netherlands for living, bringing up children, studying, and working.
Utrecht is the 4th most populated city in the Netherlands with a population of over 330,000. Over 22% of these are students that go to the four large universities in the city, including the largest university in the Netherlands, Utrecht University. The city has excellent primary and secondary schools, transportation links and a rapidly growing infrastructure of businesses and amenities, making it an excellent place for professionals and families to relocate to.
The Netherlands is part of the European Schengen area with no passport controls for foreigners from other Schengen zone countries. British and Irish citizens will still need to go through passport control as both Britain and Ireland have not signed up to the zone. EU/EEA/Swiss citizens do not need a residence permit to live in the Netherlands, but visitors planning to stay longer than four months must register with a local gemeente and obtain a Burger Service Nummer (BSN). They will also require Dutch health insurance.
EEA and Swiss expats have an unrestricted right to work in Netherlands. Some restrictions exist for Croatian citizens, though. Citizens from non-European countries will require a residence permit, verblijfsvergunning (VVR), to live and work in the Netherlands. First they will need to apply for a provisional residence authorization (MVV). This application should be planned well in advance of your move to Utrecht, as the process can take up to 90 days. The application is usually carried out by a sponsoring employer or university.
Citizens already in possession of an EU blue card who have lived in an EU member state do not need an MVV. Citizens from some other countries also do not need an MVV, either. You can find more information on visas and permits in our article on Moving to the Netherlands.
There is a comprehensive official online directory of Utrecht businesses that includes estate agencies and rentals. Regional newspapers also advertise properties to buy and rent in the area. Dutchnews.nl, in corporation with Paraius.com, has perhaps the most comprehensive property search Hometorent.nl is another useful site for finding suitable property in Utrecht.
Ijsselstei, Leidsche Rij, Nieuwegein and De Vechtstreek are popular neighborhoods for expats to live in with their proximity to the city center and transport connections. Properties in these areas range from traditional Dutch brick dwellings to ultramodern brand new builds.
A one bedroom flat will start from approximately 500 EUR per month (540 USD). Two bedrooms will start from approximately 800 EUR (870 USD) per month.