International relations

Thriving communities, smart minds and bright entrepreneurs: Utrecht and its region is Europe’s hotspot for Healthy Urban Living for Everyone. A globally competitive destination at the heart of the Netherlands. Healthy Urban Living for Everyone is not just a phrase, it’s a purpose with a long-term agenda.

The city of Utrecht is part of one of the most competitive economic regions in the European Union. Utrecht is an international connected hub. It has the largest bicycle parking in the world and the largest train station in the Netherlands. Schiphol International Airport can be reached in 25 minutes by train. The cultural and educational facilities have international appeal, with one of the best universities in the world. Utrecht is a diverse city that hosts more than 172 nationalities.

Our international strategy

We have defined our international strategy with 6 spearheads. Read our international strategy 223-2030 (in Dutch)


With Healthy Urban Living for Everyone, we share a recognisable story. A story that helps Utrecht gain a clear position and create uniqueness. With exceptional examples that connect our local strategy to global metropolitan challenges, we are able to inspire and create opportunities. 

We link this to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations as a shared international language. That helps us to put local initiatives in an international perspective. And at the same time make the connection with initiatives in the city.

Knowledge exchange

We are an active partner in urban international networks. Such as Eurocities, WHO Healthy Cities Network (HCN), International Council of Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and POLIS. Through these networks we can learn from other cities to make Utrecht healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. 

We can make the voice of cities heard in the European Commission, the World Health Organisation or the United Nations. This leads to innovation, funding opportunities and investments. To more influence on international developments and human rights. But also to solutions for urban challenges such as the effects of climate change, migration and inclusion. 


We actively advocate on an international level for policies that support the transition to healthy, sustainable and welcoming cities. We work with the province of Utrecht, the Dutch government and other cities to make our voice heard in Europe. Our European lobbying efforts focus on 3 overarching themes:

  • equal opportunities for all
  • Sustainable urbanization
  • future proof employment opportunities 


We attract European funding to invest in innovative projects and facilitate exchange of knowledge with European cities.

International developments

Our ambitions for a Healthy Urban Living for Everyone are influenced by international developments:

  • Health at the local level is influenced by cross-border crises and international developments. The COVID-19 pandemic shows us how interconnected we all are and how a healthy environment affects our daily lives.
  • Climate change is a cross-border problem that affects all of us and requires international commitment at all levels.
  • Our economy is globally connected, constantly changing and requires a strategic approach together with many stakeholders in our region.
  • Migration is international and the right local approach for home, work and healthy living requires international cooperation within the framework of international Human Rights.
  • International infrastructures and accessibility are necessary for sustainable urbanisation, a healthy food supply and a safe city.
  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet. Now and into the future. The agenda is adopted by all United Nations Member States. With our commitment to Healthy Urban Living for Everyone, we contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN.

Sustainable Development Goals

We connect our strategy for Healthy Urban Living for Everyone to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals. Together with the local Utrecht4GlobalGoals team we connect citizens, businesses and organisations in Utrecht with the Global Goals. It is an inspiring connecting language that helps us achieve our local ambitions while respecting international developments and share knowledge. 

Read our Voluntary Local Review: Utrecht and the Global Goals here (pdf, 10 MB)

Delegations and events

We receive international delegations in our municipal Information Centre at our New Town Hall. We share our knowledge and unique stories and learn from other cities as well. About topics like ‘building back better’, our cycling policies and our urban sustainable growth. But also about our policies to include everyone and ‘leave no one behind’.

International delegations that wish to visit Utrecht about our municipal strategy can contact