Utrecht vs Amsterdam a picture of the canals in Utrecht

Utrecht vs Amsterdam: A direct comparison 

If you are looking to go on a holiday to my home country, the Netherlands, then you might be in a predicament. Are you going to Utrecht or to Amsterdam? Both of these beautiful cities are in high demand for tourists, and both of them have beautiful canals. In this article, I am going to give you a direct comparison between Utrecht and Amsterdam, so you can make a better decision for your next holiday destination. 

Which is bigger, Utrecht or Amsterdam? 

This might come as no surprise, but Amsterdam is bigger in population. The Amsterdam Metropolitan area had a population of more than 1.1 million in 2022 while the Utrecht metropolitan area had a population of almost 560,000. However, it must be said, that the population of Utrecht grows by 1.27% year over year and the population of Amsterdam grows by 0.69% year over year. 

The landmass of Amsterdam is also a lot bigger. Whereas Utrecht’s landmass is a 99KM², the landmass of Amsterdam is 219KM². Amsterdam is bigger than Utrecht in any form. 

Which is more expensive, Utrecht or Amsterdam?

Although both cities are incredibly beautiful, Amsterdam is definitely a lot more expensive. This is partially because of the amount of tourism the city receives, especially from Brits on their stag do, although they are trying to limit that, with an anti tourism campaign

Amsterdam is also a lot more expensive to live in, as it hosts some of the worlds’ major companies (Booking, Adyen, ING Group, and Bunq) and is one of the economic hubs of the Netherlands besides Rotterdam. The average cost of living in Amsterdam is $2311 per month, and Utrecht’s average cost of living is $1899 per month

Why is Utrecht better than Amsterdam? (in my opinion)

Now we have done a side-by-side comparison between Utrecht and Amsterdam, we can check which one is better. I have visited both of them on multiple occasions, and personally I think Utrecht is a lot better than Amsterdam. 

Utrecht has more of a student vibe to it since it is mainly a student city. Amsterdam has a lot of tourists who are often intoxicated. Combine this with the constant smell of marijuana, and I would always pick Utrecht, in the Utrecht vs Amsterdam discussion. 

However, don’t let this hold you back from visiting Amsterdam. It might not have the best reputation, however, it is still a beautiful city with a lot of history and amazing nightlife. 


Aemilius Dost is originally from the Netherlands but moved to Mexico more than two years ago. He started traveling when he was 19 and visited over 20 countries spread over North, and Central America, Europe and Asia. He currently works as a freelance SEO specialist and has worked with companies such as Surfshark, SafetyWing, and BP.

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