Where I lived in Utrecht

By Ruben

THE NETHERLANDS – In this post, I will give you an impression of the north-eastern part of Utrecht, where I lived for 20 of the first 26 years of my life (from 1981 to 1995 and from 2002 to 2008). I will use my last address as a central point from where to explore the area.

1. Van Lieflandlaan, 2005-05-17
I lived on the first floor of this building from 2003 to 2008. Even though I wasn’t a student for most of that time, it is part of the Tuindorp West Complex, which was built by a cooperative (the SSH) to house students in the 1960’s. The architecture of three tower blocks and surrounding buildings is far from beautiful, but looks nice to me because it reflects the ideals of that time
2. Van Lieflandlaan, 2008-05-31
As it’s one of the highest buildings in the area, the roof of the building was closed a long time ago to prevent people jumping off. But it was possible to climb directly to the roof from my window for a few months near the end of my stay, when scaffolding was built in order to paint the building. Looking east from the roof, you can see Tuindorp, the neighbourhood where I was born and grew up
3. Van Lieflandlaan, 2008-05-31
Looking south towards the city center
4. Van Lieflandlaan, 2008-05-31
Looking west towards the rest of the complex. The building in the background was a tax office from the same period that was recently demolished. The Nuon power plant, which was long on the western edge of town, is just visible on the right
5. Gisbert Bromlaan, 2005-10-12
Looking north from one from one of the other tower blocks, with the one I lived in in the foreground and the neighbourhood of Overvecht in the background (my second primary school is situated near the block behind my building)
6. Winkelcentrum Overvecht, 2007-03-07
The Tuindorp West Complex seen from an apartment above Overvecht shopping mall. The tower in the background belongs to the Dom church, and is the highest church tower in the Netherlands. The reason I have so many pictures taken from people’s apartment is because I once had a job cleaning the residences of old and handicapped people, many of whom lived in Overvecht
7. Falklanddreef, 2005-10-12
Overvecht – which means ‘over the river Vecht’ was one of two big housing projects that was built on the edge of Utrecht in the 1960’s and ’70’s. It now houses about 25,000 people, many of them in high rises such as this one. As the you can see by satellite dishes on this building, it’s a very mixed neighbourhood with big communities of people of Moroccan, Turkish or Surinames Hindustani descent
8. Donaudreef. 2008-05-07
There are also a lot of rows of single-family homes like these ones in Overvecht (there are basically 2 or 3 types of buildings in Overvecht)
9. Perudreef, 2009-08-18
10. Jean d’Arcdreef, 2011-06-05
The view from a friend’s apartment
11. Jean d’Arcdreef, 2012-01-08
The same view a six months later, with the urban renewal of Overvecht in progress
12. Brailledreef, 2008-08-05
The tax office you already saw on picture 4
13. Troelstralaan, 2008-06-23
South of Tuindorp West, Staatsliedenkwartier (where the streets are named after former ‘staatslieden’, or prime ministers) is a neighbourhood of just a few streets cut in half by a big road (Talmalaan). The apartment buildings on one side were built in the years after WW2
14. Verenigingdwarsstraat, 2008-06-23
The area on the other side of Talmalaan is the ragged edge of the old town, near the banks of the river Vecht

15. Draaiweg, 2007-11-22
16. Zwartewater, 2007-11-22
17. Zwartewater, 2007-11-22
18. Zwartewater, 2005-10-17
The crane in the background was being used for the construction of the building on photo 6
19. Zwartewater, 2005-10-17
20. Adelaarstraat, 2005-11-01
Adelaarstraat (Eagle Street), one of the main streets of Vogelenbuurt, where the streets are named after birds (‘vogels’). The windmill is a local landmark, and my parents used to buy bread there
21. Adelaarstraat, 2013-11-18
This mural is also a landmark in my childhood memories
22. Adelaarstraat, 2018-03-31
As is this one
23. Gruttersdijk, 2005-05-19
Old warehouses
24. Havikstraat, 2018-03-31
25. Van Humboldtstraat, 2018-03-31
Walking down Van Huboldtstraat/Kievitstraat, which was on the route we took to town when I was a child, the architecture changes from 19th/early 20th century in Vogelenbuurt (like on the previous picture) to 1930’s in Tuinwijk
26. Van Swindenstraat, 2005-10-02
Typical 1930’s architecture in Tuinwijk
27. Griftpark, 2008-04-21
Griftpark was laid out around the turn of the century, on polluted land formerly occupied by a gas factory (which had a high wall around it when I was small)
28. Griftpark, 2007-03-30
29. Weerdsingel, 2010-07-27
Griftpark seen from an apartment I cleaned (I came back from Belgium for three summers to do this work)
30. Weerdsingel, 2010-07-27
View over the neighbourhood of Wittevrouwen
31. Gildstraat, 2007-04-03
There was a time when the Dutch built different kinds of houses next to each other in an unplanned fashion, just like they do in other countries
32. Obrechtstraat, 2007-04-03
But the 1901 woningwet (housing act), which was meant to put an end to unhealthy housing, put an end to that. This change in policy is very visible in Wittevrouwen, where rich and poor traditionally lived next to each other (though, like Vogelenbuurt, the neighbourhood has totally gentrified in the last 20 years)
33. Goedestraat, 2014-11-07
Some more typical Wittevrouwen streets
34. Griftstraat, 2011-09-13
35. Alexander Numankade, 2011-09-13
Zeeheldenbuurt, where the streets are named after Seamen (‘Sea Heroes’), a traditionally more upmarket neighbourhood east of Wittevrouwen (neighbourhoods in Utrecht are very small)
36. Veeartsenijschool, 2011-09-22
Former veterinary school that has mostly been transformed into housing. This building is now a theater called Paardenkatherdraal (‘Horse Cathedral’)
37. Buys Ballotstraat, 2008-02-27
This railway line is now only used by tourist trains to the Railway Museum in the former Maliebaan station. It was still used by freight trains until a few years ago, when the southern half of the line was converted into a cycle path
38. Maliebaan, 2011-09-16
Maliebaan is the most prestigious avenue in the most upmarket part of Utrecht, Oudwijk (‘Old Neighbourhood’). Most of the buildings along Maliebaan (such as this one on the corner of Oorsprongpark) now have offices in them
39. 2005-09-08
A more modest street in Oudwijk (Oudwijk used to have poorer parts as well)
40. 2005-09-08
The Dom is visible from many places in Utrecht
41. Gisbert Bromlaan, 2005-10-12
The Dom seen from one of the TWC towers
42. Gisbert Bromlaan, 2005-10-13
43. Van Lieflandlaan, 2005-09-22
44. Tiberdreef, 2006-11-09
45. Kalymnosdreef, 2008-05-03
46. Griftpark, 2005-10-02
47. Kardinaal de Jongweg, 2005-10-02
48. Tiberdreef, 2005-10-06
49. Tiberdreef, 2005-10-06
50. Overvecht Station, 2005-10-18
51. Van Lieflandlaan, 2006-02-16
View from the gallery in front of our apartment
52. Van Lieflandlaan, 2008-05-16
A last look at the city centre from the roof of the building I lived in
This entry was posted in The Netherlands, Utrecht, Utrecht (province)

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