Sneeuwbal Winter Festival, the finest of snow-themed city festivals, rolls into Utrecht for another day of house and techno fun this January.
And while Amsterdam may get all the headlines, Utrecht has become a Dutch beacon of individualism thanks to its young, hip and alternative culture that permeates the city.
To find out more about how we should be spending our time in Utrecht, we caught up Jiska Roewen, part of the team behind Sneeuwbal, to hear a local's take on the city's music scene, its culture, and the best places to see, eat, drink and party.
How would you describe the vibe of the city, and in particular its music scene?
Utrecht is very intimate, yet open and inviting. Perhaps that is why Utrecht has a broad variety of platforms for all music lovers. There are a lot of cozy coffee bars and cafes, but there are some big venues and festivals, and a few, almost underground, clubs too.
In Utrecht, there is a great market for electronic music. We have several clubs and venues that dedicate themselves to only electronic music (like deep house, techno and house), and some clubs organise small parties with electronic music once in a while. Most of these clubs you can find in the city centre, nearby the canals. This adds to the experience and vibe of Utrecht; at daytime Utrecht is like an open and cozy city, but when the night falls, the nightlife rises.
Do you believe Sneeuwbal Winter Festival taps into that hip, student soul?
Yes, absolutely! The festival is playful and unique in its own way. You will find a lot of humour, but in the end, it is a great deep house, techno and tech-house festival with great DJs in the scene!
"At daytime Utrecht is like an open and cozy city, but when the night falls, the nightlife rises."
What's the city like in winter?
Utrecht gets dressed up! Lights, decorations, trees, and even some food cars at the squares with typical Dutch winter treats like Oliebollen. When you cycle across the city, you will hear people laughing and chatting in the cafes. People tend to go inside where they feel comfortable and warm.
What does Utrecht have that Amsterdam doesn't?
Although Utrecht is a big city according to the Netherlands, the city breathes cosiness. The centre of Amsterdam is packed with tourists, Utrecht provides more space but stays cozy because of the little streets where you will discover boutiques and coffee bars. The city is also centrally located, so you can go wherever you want!
Where are the best places to eat and drink in the city?
There are so many nice places to eat and drink! Some examples are: Stan & Co, Beers and Barrels, Café Olivier, Luc, Broers, Zussen, Café Lebowski (near by the Dom Tower) and, of course, the square called Neude in the centre of the city. But that is only the tip of the iceberg!
And when the festival finishes, where are the best places to carry on the party?
Sneeuwbal Winter Festival will provide all the party you need from 14:00 PM till 23:00! If you can go on after that, perhaps you can go to Tivoli Vredenburg, Club BASIS or Club Poema!
"You will find a lot of humour, but in the end, it is a great deep house, techno and tech-house festival with great DJs in the scene!"
If people are staying for a few days either side of the festival, what should they definitely check out?
The canals, the Dom Tower, Escape Rooms, Botanical Garden, The house of Dick Bruna, the square Neude.
Sneeuwbal Winter Festival takes place on the 28th January 2017. Find out more on our guide, and book your tickets and packages below.
More like this: