Utrecht, an oasis in the NetherlandsUtrecht, an oasis in the Netherlands

Utrecht, an oasis in the Netherlands

A captivating photographic journal of a day in Utrecht.

Sara Meinz reflects on travel and its ability to make you open your eyes to everyday details. Look through her lens as she captures what she sees as novel in ordinary moments in Utrecht.

The Netherlands’ unique scenery has always fascinated me. The shape of its houses, the brown colour of the dutch brick that dominates over the city’s landscape, bikes that seem to take over the streets, and the running waters, always present in the land of windmills.
These are pictures taken during the 8 hours I spent in Utrecht in 2019. At that time, I was living in Antwerp (Belgium), so as a foreigner in the northwest of Europe, I tried making the most of my spare weekends exploring.
I arrived in Utrecht at 9 am, the streets were nearly empty. For better or worse, I hadn’t done any research, so I let intuition guide me. My feet barely stopped. The whole journey was sensory and I can still remember the church bells ringing now and then. A sporadic rain shower that lasted for only two minutes, or the smell of the book shop where I bought old maps of the country.
What I particularly love about traveling is that you recover the capacity to feel amazed. While you don’t see anything necessarily new, you look at things differently. You observe more and with special attention. “Why are buildings so stretchy? Why is it that so many people buy flowers here?”… You keep wondering why, as if you were a kid again. That recovered curiosity is what inspires me the most to take photographs. Only then can one find something extraordinary in the everyday details, which I believe can sometimes be the most interesting part about a place.
In the afternoon, once the wind had covered most of the channel with leaves, the city started to fill with children playing in parks and families shopping. I wondered where they all came from. But I also appreciated that for at least a few hours, I had Utrecht just to myself.