Utrecht is home to many nationalities. Every week, DUIC features an Utrechter with a different background. The concept was inspired by ‘180 amsterdammers’.

Somebody asked me out on my first night in Utrecht

Foto: Marlot van den Berg

The School of Life taught Will Falkowski something he already knew deep down: nothing you do, have or think is odd. “Don’t worry about the body part that doesn’t always work, or the ‘bad’ thought you have. You’re far from the only one!” The energetic Englishman highly values emotional intelligence, and has been involved in the training institute for life therapy for six years.

Will has come a long way. After secondary school, this Essex boy pushed shopping trolleys for money. He soon became fed up with the job (and his structural lack of funds), so he taught himself the ins and outs of programming in his mother’s attic. After several twists and turns, Utrecht now has its own passionate ‘Web Design Will’.

“On the whole, I work about six months out of the year. On top of that, I’m an amateur chef: I occasionally work in the Klein Berlijn kitchen.” Will has a creative project up his sleeve: Will’s Rooftop Restaurant. The first edition is coming up, during which he will be cooking dinner for twenty guests on his apartment’s rooftop terrace. The concept is simple: if you enjoy the food, you pay what you think it’s worth. If you’re disappointed, you get eight Euros back. Will’s speciality is savoury pies: pasties and quiches. His dream is to open an eatery in Utrecht, possibly part time, that serves healthy British pub food – English cuisine is criminally underrated in his opinion. It should feel like having a Sunday lunch at your Gran’s.

Friendship from the very beginning

Will thinks it’s important to have plenty of time for fun things. When he received the email asking him whether he wanted to take part in Allemaal Utrechters, he was ‘probably drunk on a boat in Croatia’. Will’s friends in Utrecht aren’t foreigners like him. His first Dutch friendship happened by chance on his very first night in Utrecht in the summer of 2013, after an exhausting move overseas to move in with his Dutch girlfriend (now ex-girlfriend). The two had met in London, where he was living at the time. At the end of the moving day she decided to go to bed early, but Will hopped on his bike to go and explore his surroundings. After a few minutes, close to where Vaartsche Rijn train station is now located, a girl asked him to help carry her heavy bags. Upon arriving at Ledig Erf, the girl Fleur asked Will whether he wanted to go on a date with her – only because of a bet with a friend. “I said: ‘Well, I’ve just moved in with someone, let’s wait a few months!’.” Will laughs; of course it had been a joke. To be accommodating, he started dating Fleur on the spot, and they became friends for life.

 Will and his friends often attend festivals, such as Lepeltje Lepeltje and Geheime Liefde in Fort Vechten. “The options in and around town are fucking awesome.” Utrechters are a fun lot, and strike Will as being happier and less stressed than others. Do Utrechters not need School of Life? “Of course they do. Everybody can use some life lessons.” Who knows, maybe in the future Will will be bringing more to the table than pies.

Motto: “Aspire to happiness and honesty, so be honest to yourself as well as others. If you’re not happy, take steps in a different direction.”

Allemaal Utrechters is a series of interviews with people who moved to Utrecht from another country. We ask them about their background and their impression of Utrecht, revealing the true diversity of our city. The ‘Allemaal Utrechters’ series is a collaboration between DUIC and Culturele Zondagen, and has been made possible with help from Stichting Dialoog and the Municipality of Utrecht. We hope to showcase every nationality in Utrecht.

Click here to view the other articles.

Article by Fenna Riethof.