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Five tips on how not to get lost in Utrecht (8 images)

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Bike, student, canal. These three words can summarise the Netherland’s fourth biggest city: Utrecht. With a population of 300, 000, you might think we were joking about losing our way in the city. The vibrant city has so much to offer that you will forgive us for getting lost whilst discovering its unique landscape

I. Canals

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands. Do not assume that following the canal will get you to your destination. Nor should you choose any of the following to be your visual cues for orientation...  (Image: © Jasna Rajnar Petrovic)

IIa. Bicycle stations

A little over 40% of all journeys are by bike in Utrecht, a figure which is higher than that of any city in any other country, but not quite the highest in this country (Image: © Nastja Cinzia Hrobat)

IIb. Churches

 (Image: © Jasna Rajnar Petrovic)

IIc. Brick buildings

Utrecht is well known for its institutions of higher education, the most prominent of which is Utrecht University (est. 1636), the largest in the Netherlands (Image: © Nastja Cinzia Hrobat)

IId. Bridges

Unrelenting stalwarts on Utrecht's landscape (Image: © Jasna Rajnar Petrovic)

III. Windmills

3. Always keep your eyes open for distinctive buildings like windmills. Yes, there actually is one in the city centre, stereotype confirmed (though it does not stand next to a cheese factory, a wooden shoes shop and a tulip garden) (Image: © Nastja Cinzia Hrobat)

IV. Tourist trap

4. When you ask people for directions, they're probably also tourists like you. Around Queensday, don't follow anyone who is wearing orange – they all are! Orange is a symbol for the Dutch royal family, which is called the 'House of Orange-Nassau'. Accessories that combine the colour with some symbol of the royal family - such as a crown or a lion - are especially popular and sought after. Over in the capital, Amsterdam, between 700, 000 and 800, 000 people celebrated Queensday in 2013 (Image: © Jasna Rajnar Petrovic)

V. Just chill

5. If you are lost, it's not hard to talk to the Dutch – they are very friendy with a perfect knowledge of English. Have a cocktail on Zussen (Sisters), a hip 'lobby-restaurant' just off the canal. Failing that, just sit in one of the cafes by the canal - you can eat at De Oude Muntkelder traditional Dutch pancake restaurant, right on the water. Relax, and do it the Dutch way: chill out (Image: © Nastja Cinzia Hrobat)