The guidances have been written by AZSAB members and it covers all necessary information and tips for incoming students
This guide is meant to help you settle into life in Utrecht, as well as life at Utrecht University. It is designed mostly with links to cover the most important aspects of student life from general tips over organizational necessities every student must go through.
First and foremost, Utrecht is one of the most beautiful cities you are going to live in. It is indescribable how cozy, warm and lovely this city is.
Registration is a standard procedure you have to go through by arriving in the Netherlands. Why? You will get a BSN number which is everything in the Netherlands. How? Bring a contract from the landlord or landlady stating that you indeed live on a particular address, your Dutch ID and a piece of cake. Where? Registration is done in the city hall which is next to the Utrecht Centraal (big white building with unusual shapes). If you don’t have accommodation yet, then consult with the municipality. Usually, they will register you using your temporary address.
As you already may know, in order to get admission from the university and apply for a visa, you must transfer your living fee to the University’s bank account. Therefore, you should open your bank account after the registration step! Because you will need a BSN number for it which you get from the municipality as stated above. I would advise you to go for ABN AMRO (ABN AMRO, Neude 4, 3512 AD) which is in the city center at NEude where most cafes are and whole city life goes on. There is no need for an appointment to open a Dutch bank account and you will wait for 15 minutes and will be approached by the nicest person who will bring you a free coffee.
Note: In the Netherlands, most of the places do not accept Master, Visa/Visa Electron cards.
In Utrecht, you will almost always be able to reach your destination by bicycle. The nicest way of getting a bike is by renting one! I would not advise buying since it will be stolen. The Swapfiets company is a perfect option and as a student, you will get a discount. Fiets – means bike in Dutch. If you want to buy, it is better to buy second-hand bikes through Facebook groups from previous year students which are so much cheaper than used bikes in shops. Since you’re dealing with second-hand bikes from a person you don’t know, you’re buying the bike in good faith and it could be stolen. Ask the seller to write and sign a document stating he is the rightful owner of the bike, the serial number of the bike, the date, location and price you bought the bike for. This way you cover yourself for any legal liability in the event you bought a stolen bike in good faith.
If you want to travel by bus, tram, metro or train, It is better to acquire an OV-chip card.
- The OV card can be purchased anonymously at all the metro stations which costs only €7.50 and can be used across the Netherlands. Therefore, you will need to load it with money to use for travel.
- Or you can buy a personalized card (with photo) online making it possible to claim different discounts like a 40% discount on train travel. This discount is available upon a yearly payment of 50 Euros, and only applies to use the train between 9:00 and 16:00 and 18:30 – 6:30 the next morning (“off-peak hours”), and on the weekend. (It makes sense to get this discount if you use the train at least once or twice a month).
- If you buy a 40% discount for the first time, you better order it online using www.ns.nl and you will save €7.50 since the OV-Chipkaart will be provided for free.
When using the train, you need to have a minimum balance of €20 both on your “personal” and “anonymous” OV-Chipkaart. If you have 40% discount, then you need to have a minimum balance of €10 on your “personal” OV-Chipkaart.
For more info on traveling from A to B point: https://9292.nl/en
For more info regarding the discounts on public transport: Click here.
As for public transport, do not forget to check in and check out when you enter and leave whichever means of transportation you use. When you check in €4 is automatically taken off and when you check out the correct amount according to distance is deducted, however, if you do not check out the full amount of €4 will be deducted. Make sure your card is loaded before entering a tram or you will have to buy a paper ticket from the conductor.
In the Netherlands, students usually do not live on campus but have their own room/apartment/studio. Finding good, affordable accommodation can be a problem here. Make sure you start looking for a place as soon as you have officially received your admission.
Accommodation can range from as cheap as €250 per month to as expensive as €800 per month. Prices vary as there are public and private housing providers. Before you accept a room, please check which bills (e.g. gas, electricity, internet, TV) are included in your rent.
There are various options for accommodation, but first, ask the university to assist you. Second, monitor all the groups attached below:
The Main, be persistent and patient. Have a look also at Holland2Stay company. More about the websites and Facebook groups at the bottom of the page might be useful.
Place to study
Utrecht University has its own huge library that you can see as the best option. There are Starbucks in the city center (next to KFC), CoffeeCompany at any location.
The most important tips, enjoy your stay. Utrecht is spiritual heaven Go to the Hoograven area and find the canal with boat-homes. Enjoy your bike ride along the canal in the evenings. Each 3rd Friday in a month there is a candle night. It is a phenomenal place to reload and start again the studies or whatever affair you are doing. Next, discover nightlife at Utrecht starting from Tivoli, Neude and get as many friends as possible.
- Ricoh myPrint: Brings online printing functionality to your phone;
- Buienradar: Check our rain radar and graph before you leave;
- 9292 or NS Reisplanner Xtra: Travel planners for all public transports;
- GoEuro Train Bus Flight: Find and book your ideal train, bus or flight across Europe;
- ING Bankieren: Manage your banking affairs;
- Microsoft Outlook: Check your university emails in one convenient spot.
- MyLebara Top-up: If you use Lebara sim card) Manage your account any time, anywhere.
Note: In case you are using an iPhone that does not recognize the above-stated apps, then create a new Apple ID and choose the Netherlands among countries.
After your education in the Netherlands, you shall follow certain rules
It is necessary to prove the legal status of your diploma for use outside the Netherlands. The legalization is done in 2 steps – Education Executive Agency (DUO) and Court. Bear in mind that the first step can only be done in Groningen. For further information:
After your education in the Netherlands, you shall follow certain rules:
In case you plan to work the guides below might be interesting for you
Take a look at the following websites and search for rent there!