Let’s play a game. A game of “Never have I ever”. For this occasion, we are going to change the rules a little bit. Let’s keep it […]
Let’s play a game. A game of “Never have I ever”. For this occasion, we are going to change the rules a little bit. Let’s keep it simple. If you have never done the things listed below, all you have to do is… find time to catch it up! Since it’s a “Utrecht edition”, you are going to be asked questions about the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands. Shall we begin?
Never have I ever… took a kayak tour to discover a city.
Utrecht was built around the Dom Tower, the highest church tower in the Netherlands which you can see from every point in the city. What contributes to the special atmosphere of this centuries-old university town are its numerous historical buildings as well as beautiful canals with a unique structure. The street is on the upper level whereas warehouses are at the water or canal level. Many of these warehouses have been converted into restaurants, art galleries, cafes, or even homes. To take a closer look, take part in a kayak tour to experience Utrecht at its best. Once aboard your two-person kayak, you will get unique perspectives of some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Along the way, you will be presented with an informative overview of the city’s rich history. Paddle through the famous Old Canal with its typical wharves and vibrant terraces and stop for a drink right by the riverside.
Never have I ever… seen a house that constitutes a radical break from all architecture before it.
Yes, I know, this sounds a bit complicated and can be misunderstood at first. So, let me get to the bottom of this task. In the early 1920s, a famous Dutch architect Gerrit Rietveld designed and built a house for a widower friend and her children. This attractive small home was decades ahead of its time and is sure to be unlike any you have seen before. Its exterior features some intriguing designs, whilst the interior is no less special to visit as it includes several adjustable walls that create additional space when moved. For example, the lower living area was created with retracting walls which enabled the family members to shut themselves off at night for privacy, yet served as a large communal space by day. There are no rooms per se, just an open and changeable area that can be reconstructed depending on the occasion. Due to its clever design, this unique house is one of the best examples of the “De Stijl” architecture, an art movement based on pure abstraction and universality by a reduction to the essence of form and color. Now protected as a UNESCO Heritage Site, the Rietveld Schröder House can be visited as a part of a guided tour.
Never have I ever… read an endless poem.
Along the Old Canal, at the small block lower right starts the so-called “Letters of Utrecht”. A poem for the future is being written one character at a time, block by block, one letter per week. To pinpoint an easy start date, the first 648 blocks laid out in 2012 were back-dated to January 1, 2000. Since then, every Saturday between 1 and 2 pm the members of the Utrecht’s Guild of Poets gather at the end of the strings of letters and carve the next letter in the pavement. There have been eight writers so far who contributed to the project, the words are only known to the next lucky one’s imagination. The poem grows by five meters each year and it takes about three years to publish an average sentence. It is a continuously growing never-ending poem. The Dutch often talk about “je steentje bijdragen” which literally translates to “to contribute your stone” which refers to “doing your part” to create something larger than yourself. Take a look at what they have created so far.
Never have I ever… lived in a futuristic housing complex.
There is a newly built place in Utrecht called The Cube that’s going to fully exceed your expectations for a student residence facility. THE FIZZ Utrecht forms a landmark in the redeveloped center of the Utrecht northern district of Overvecht. Its design reflects the “healthy urban living” in the renewed neighborhood. This innovative accommodation largely consists of small independent rooms each of which has its own bathroom, kitchenette, and French balcony. What is more, all Fizzies can use a wide range of shared amenities, such as living rooms and studies, bike storage, or a rooftop garden. At The Cube, the residents feel strongly connected to the area: they have a coffee bar with a waterside terrace, an Italian restaurant, or a meeting space for social activities available on site. In addition, at the center of the complex lies a shared courtyard which contains a sports field and a fitness space. It already sounds like a dream destination, doesn’t it? That’s not all, the city center and the university are just a few minutes away from you. So, don’t hesitate for one second, book one of 639 fully furnished apartments, grab a bike and follow the tradition.
How many of the “Never have I ever” tasks can you tick as completed? None? Then consider it a challenge that you have to complete until the next semester as a Utrecht student. One last sentence for motivation: “You have to start somewhere to give the past a place, the present is getting less and less. The further you are, the better, Go ahead now, leave your tracks (…)”. Can you guess where it comes from?