Favourite spot

Xander van der Wulp


Prominent Utrechters talking about their favourite spots in the city. This month: Xander van der Wulp, political correspondent and commentator for NOS News, in Máximapark in Leidsche Rijn.

So, Máximapark?
‘When we moved to Leidsche Rijn 18 years ago – because we wanted more space for the children – we took a lot of stick from our Utrecht neighbours. This part of town didn’t have a lot going for it at the time. But in terms of parks, we’re now a lot better off than the people living around Wilhelminapark. Máximapark has become a lovely, spacious, natural park, and no-one in Leidsche Rijn lives more than 500 metres away from it. Twice a week, I go for a 5/6 km early-morning run around Het Lint, the path that encircles the park.’

Biggest disappointment?
‘I still enjoy going to FC Utrecht matches, although mainly to have a good moan. It’s par for the course with this club, where the trainer was sacked right at the start of the new season. FC Utrecht always finish somewhere between sixth and twelfth in the league, so I don’t get why they can’t just play a relaxed, opportunistic game of football. They always have some vague strategy in mind, and it never seems to work.’

Guilty pleasure?
‘After a night on the town, I usually end up in the Huzur shoarma snack bar on Voorstraat. They have the best shoarma in Utrecht, and it’s a nostalgic place for me. I used to go there as a student; the owner still recognises me. I must admit that I miss having places like this in Leidsche Rijn. As I always do the 8 o’clock news, I often don’t get home until after 9. Even the regular snack bars in Leidsche Rijn are closed by then.’

Best memory?
‘I joined SV Kampong when I was 14 and played there for 20 years. Football was obviously important to me, but so was the social aspect. I spent many an evening hanging out in the old club house. And I’m still good friends with all the lads I played football with when I was growing up and as a student. These days, we play Padel instead.’

Favourite restaurant?
‘Maximus Beer Brewery in Leidsche Rijn. It’s a special place in Máximapark, built from used scaffolding wood and with a nice terrace. It’s definitely worth going there to try the beer. You can buy it in supermarkets too, but Maximus has it on tap. I usually order a Dakhaas; my favourite is a cool, refreshing IPA-type Witzen.’

Last cultural outing?
‘I like going to the comedy club in the Kargadoor on Oudegracht. There are usually four stand-up comedians, each on stage for about 20 minutes. They might be big names, like Martijn de Koning, or up-and-coming talent. I go there for a good laugh. Not that all their jokes are so funny, but there’s always a great atmosphere down there in the vaulted cellar.’

Latest discovery?
‘To be honest, nothing. I’d like to see more of the programme at TivoliVredenburg, preferably shows that are both serious and entertaining. I’ll be there myself on 17 December, doing the Political End-of-Year Show with my colleagues Joost Vullings and Vincent Rietbergen. I suppose it’s a bit like our podcast De stemming van Vullings en Van der Wulp, where we take a light-hearted look at the week in politics. I’m always pleasantly surprised that so many people come to our shows.
There’s no way we can prepare for the next edition, as it will be straight after the Dutch elections. We’ll be rushed off our feet for the next couple of months, but I love my work. I just hope I’ll still find time for my regular run around Máximapark.’


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