Alternative city guide: culture and cafes in Utrecht, the Netherlands

Utrecht’s picturesque city centre and traditional cafe culture rub up against its exciting music and art scene – and it’s best explored by bike

Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until it was overtaken by Amsterdam in the 17th century during the Dutch golden age of trade and advances in science, art and military power. Over the years since, it has played second fiddle to its big brother in the north – but it has an obvious and growing belief in its own charms, news of which is starting to spread.

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