For refugees

Welkom in Utrecht (Welcome to Utrecht) enables citizens and organisations in Utrecht, wishing to organize an activity for asylum migrants, to make this happen. When it comes to these activities, you may think about sports, children's activities, concert visits, eating together or just a meeting.
How could you participate or just learn more about what we are doing? You can meet the team of Welkom in Utrecht every Thursday morning in the AZC, Joseph Haydnlaan. We provide information about the activities. You can also register there for an activity.
You can also check out the agenda of this website. Or drop by at our office at Joseph Haydnlaan 2A (near azc).

You're welcome!

Information about the Netherlands

Dutch government and COA websites have information about the asylum procedure, housing and education. The website of Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland is also helpful.
More information is available from non-governmental sources. The Yalla foundation, for example, has a lot of information about IND, housing, language and education in the Netherlands. Though the Yalla Foundation is primarily aimed at refugees living in Nijmegen, it contains useful information in English for anyone new to the Netherlands.

Customs and habits
Each country has its own customs and habits. The website, Net in Nederland, is a good introduction to Dutch culture. For example, most Dutch people ride bikes and often drink coffee after dinner. The webpage is in Dutch, English and Arabic.

Learning Dutch

WelnU Taalcafé

Do you want to practice speaking, writing or reading the Dutch language? Then come and visit WelnU Taalcafé. Everyone is welcome: from the illiterate to those who already speak Dutch fairly well - and everyone in between. You will receive lessons from a volunteer in small groups.

Check the agenda when and where WelnU Taalcafé is.

Other organizations
There are more opportunities for language lessons by volunteers. Do you want to know more about this? Mail to Hellen from Welkom in Utrecht:

Below you will find an overview of all language cafés in Utrecht:

Taalcafés in Utrecht

WelnU Taalcafé
Quarter: Oog in Al
Time: Monday evening 19:30-21:30 h
Location: Restaurant Kantien, Ravellaan 96, Utrecht

NL taalcafé
Quarter: Lombok
Time: Tuesday evening 19:30-21:30 h
Location: De Voorkamer, Kanaalstraat 225 te Utrecht

Taalcafé Taal doet Meer
Quarter: Kanaleneiland
Time: Tuesday afternoon 15:00-17:00 h
Location: Bibliotheek Kanaleneiland, Al-Masoedilaan 188

Social Coffee Taalcafé
Quarter: Lunetten
Time: Tuesday evening 19:15-21:00 h
Location: Lunetwerkcafé, Zevenwouden 238

Wednesday morning
WelnU Taalcafé
Quarter: Oog in Al
Time: Wednesday morning 10:00-11:30 h
Location: Restaurant Kantien, Ravellaan 96

Wednesday evening
WelnU Taalcafé
Quarter: Overvecht
Time: Wednesday evening 19:30-21:30 h
Location: Teun de Jagerdreef 1

Taalcafé Taal doet Meer
Quarter: Overvecht
Time: Thursday afternoon 13:00-15:00 h
Location: De Dreef, Schooneggendreef 27C

Taalcafé Leidsche Rijn
Quarter: Leidsche Rijn
Time: Thursday evening 19:00-21:00 h
Location: Brede School ’t Zand, Pauwoogvlinder 24
Contact:, 06 45106035 (Wendie)

Taalcafé Taal doet Meer
Quarter: Vleuten-De Meern
Time: Thursday morning 09:30-11:30 h
Location: De Weide Wereld, Teunisbloemlaan 48, Vleuten

Language cafe for mothers
Quarter: Oog in Al
Time: Friday morning 10:00-12:00 h
Location: Attick Plan Einstein, Joseph Haydnlaan 2A
Contact: Send a whatsapp message to Hellen 06 51192316

Queridon taalcafé
Quarter: Hoograven
Time: Saturday afternoon 15:00-17:00 h (odd weeks)
Location: Vorstelijk Complex, Prinses Christinalaan 1, 3554 JL Utrecht
Contact:, 06 30864318 (Jasper)


Het doen van vrijwilligerswerk is in Nederland heel normaal. Het is een goede manier om mensen te ontmoeten, te zien hoe Nederland werkt, actief te blijven en ervaring op te doen voor later werk. Niet iedere vluchteling mag vrijwilligerswerk doen. Kijk hieronder voor het vrijwilligerswerk dat er nu is. En wat jij mag doen.(Aanbod) En wat niet.(Regels)


In Utrecht regular voluntary work is offered by many different organizations. This is not about a job you do only once, but every week on one or two days. During several weeks or months. Here beneath you see what the current offer is.


Volunteering is very common in the Netherlands. It's a good way to meet people, see how the Netherlands works, stay active and gain experience for a future job. Caution: not every refugee is allowed to volunteer. See below what you are and are not allowed to do.

Are you a refugee without W-document?
Then you’re not allowed to volunteer.

Do you have a W-document?
Then you are allowed to volunteer if this is done according to the Dutch law.
Which means:

  • that nobody gets paid for their work
  • the organization where you do the work does not make a profit (i.e. is not commercial)
  • that your work is serving society.

A few examples:
Washing dishes in a restaurant is NOT volunteering. A restaurant makes a profit and you should be paid. But if - for example - you work at a restaurant that helps people in need, such as Resto van Harte, then you can work there as a volunteer. Resto van Harte is not a commercial business.
If you clean the houses of people who would normally pay for such services, then it is NOT volunteering. However, if you want to help an old person by cleaning the house once and awhile without being paid, then this is allowed.

The organization for which you are going to do voluntary work, needs a so called Vrijwilligersverklaring of the UWV. The UWV checks for compliance within the law. If everything is alright according to the law, the organisation will have a Vrijwilligersverklaring.
Note: A Vrijwilligersverklaring is given for the work you do, not for you as an employee. If several people perform the same work, only one verklaring is needed.

Status holders who are under the responsibility of the COA.
If you have a permit - a status - and you are under the responsibility of COA, then you are allowed to do voluntary work. The Vrijwilligersverklaring is not necessary. If you have a house and receive social assistance (uitkering), then the work you do should be reported to the municipality by the organization you work for. The municipality will decide whether the proposed voluntary work is actually not work that should be paid. If that is the case, then you should not do it as a volunteer. If that is not the case, then you are allowed to volunteer.

Volunteer fee (Vrijwilligersvergoeding)
A volunteer fee is money you can use to pay your expenses, such as transportation to work or work-related phone calls. Often, a volunteer fee is a way for your boss to say thank you. The organization you work for appreciates what you do and would like to give you some money in return. This is allowed, but only if it sticks to the law.

Still at the COA?
If you are under the responsibility of the COA, you may still receive a volunteer fee. However, this may reduce the amount of money for living expenses that you receive from COA. Some of the money you should give back to COA. You can keep gifts or rewards unrelated to volunteer work.

Used clothing and furniture

Looking for cheap or free clothing and furniture? There are stores that specialize in cheap and sometimes free clothes. Note, these stores sell used furniture and clothes.

Free clothing and furniture
Weggeefwinkel Utrecht 
Tweede Daalsedijk 2a
Open every Wednesday and Saturday from 14.00 to 17.00

Weggeefwinkel Overvecht ‘Mooie Zooi’
Camera Obscuradreef 121
Open: every Wednesday from 13.00 to 16.00 uur and Saturday from 10.00 to 13.00

Utrecht Weggeeftafel in Podium Oost
Oudwijkerdwarsstraat 148

There are also residents of Utrecht offering free stuff. Take a look at the many facebook pages, such as Gratis ophalen in Utrecht en Omgeving. Or Gratis af te halen in Utrecht. 

Used clothing and furniture
At various stores you can find used clothing and furniture. Often, the shops deliver the furniture to your home. Delivery is not free, but usually quite cheap.

The ARM, for example, has a lot of furniture and clothing. You can also rent a ‘bakfiets’ to cycle small pieces of furniture home yourself.

The ARM has three shops
Verlengde Hoogravensweg 63-69. More information can be found here.
Oudegracht 247 and 270. More information can be found here.

Emmaus Utrecht. There are 5 stores. Sometimes they sell only clothes, and sometimes furniture. They offer bakfiets rentals as well. Check out the websites below for more information.
Utrecht Centrum
Mgr van de Weteringstraat 1
Eikstraat 14
Makassarstraat 36
Ab Harrewijnstraat 18
Gloriantdreef 403

De Waarde is situated Croeselaan, Jaarbeurs station. Veilingstraat 2. You can buy used furniture there.

Help with moving out

To those refugees who got new houses and are ready to move out in the near future, first of all, congratulations!

Moving out can be a huge job. Do you have problems with language? Do you have problems with choosing the right home appliances? Do you have problems with transportation? Do you need a local citizen to help with these issues? We have an initiative called ‘Verhuisgroep', where local Dutch citizens volunteer to help newcomers with the move-in process.

These local Dutch citizens can help you speak with second hand shopkeepers and choose the right home appliances. Also, some volunteers may have used stuff to donate. If possible, they will give you a ride to the secondhand shops to make sure that you purchase the correct appliances. In addition, volunteers can help with delivering stuff to your house.

Concerned local citizens are willing to donate their time and resources in order to welcome the newcomers in the city. Please kindly inform us at least two weeks before your move-out date, so we can find a volunteer to help you.

If you need help, don't hesitate to let us know by apping Hellen at: 06 511 923 16.


A buddy is someone - mostly of Dutch origin - that would like to help you with things as a friend. Talking Dutch for example. Or going to the cinema. There are several buddyprojects in Utrecht. Take a look at the following.

Buddy to buddy
Stichting Buddy to Buddy links refugees to the residents of Utrecht. In this project, buddies help refugees to get to know the society. On the other hand, of course Utrechters also learn from the refugees. Besides matching buddies, Buddy to Buddy organizes activities with the participants, with the focus on meeting each other, for example by eating together. A buddy trajectory lasts 4 months.

Click here for more information about Buddy to buddy or check their Facebook page. You can sign up here or y sending an email to

Marhaban project
Are you between 18 and 23 years old and do you speak a bit English or Dutch? Then join the Marhaban project: doing activities together with students from University College Utrecht: playing sports together, visiting a museum, a theater play, a concert, a movie or just drinking a beer or Coke, it’ s all possible with this buddy project.

Once a month, you do an activity with the whole group. This group consists of 10 students and 10 refugees. Then you are going to do activities at least once a week with a student.

Want to join or learn more? Send a whatsapp to Hellen of Welcome to Utrecht: 06 511 923 16
More information about University College Utrecht can be found here.

Visit the facebookpage of the project.

Buddy project for LGBT refugees
Are you LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) and do you want to meet other LGBT?
Cocktail is a project for LGBT refugees in the Utrecht region. They organise buddy contacts between LGBT refugees and volunteers. Once a month, they spend a Saturday evening with the whole group – to have dinner together, chat, dance and enjoy gezelligheid. If you are not looking for a buddy, no problem, you can also just join their activities.

This is what members of Cocktail say about the project:
“At Cocktail I found really good friends.”
“Cocktail made me feel safe and in peace!”
“Cocktail is my second family.”

Want to join Cocktail or learn more about the project? Send a WhatsApp to Hellen from Welcome to Utrecht (06 511 923 16) or contact Cocktail directly via

Needlework and sewing

Handwerkatelier Van Hagar tot Ruth has several places where you can learn needlework and sewing. You already know how to do this? Maybe you are a tailor or seamstress of origin? Then you are invited to join as a volunteer. You will meet new people and practice the Dutch language.

The production of the volunteers, will be sold. The returns will be used for materials which are used in the workshops. Also, it will be used for something fun together.

Interested? Questions? Mail Judith: or send a message: 06 25295291

And check:

Locations Hand Werkatelier Van Hagar to Ruth:

  • Location: Leger des Heils, Schooneggendreef 27h
  • When: Tuesday 10:00 to 12:00
  • What: sewing lessons, lessons in crafts, volunteering sewing, needlework volunteering
  • Location: Leger des Heils, Schooneggendreef 27h
  • When: Wednesday, 10:00 to 12:00
  • What: sewing lessons, lessons in crafts, volunteering sewing, needlework volunteering
  • Location: Bij Bosshardt, Marco Pololaan 115-117
  • When: Thursday, 20:00 to 22:00
  • What: sewing lessons, lessons in crafts, volunteering sewing, needlework volunteering
  • Location: Bij Bosshardt, Marco Pololaan 115-117
  • When: Friday, 9: 30-11: 30
  • What: needlework, crafts volunteer, volunteer sewing


You can undertake activities with the U-pass. For example, you can become a member of a sports club, go to the gym, buy cheap bus tickets or go on a day trip to an amusement park. You can pay with the money that is on your U-pass. Children between 4 and 18 years old receive extra money to buy a bicycle. A U-pass is for all residents of Utrecht who do not earn that much. Because it is difficult for azc residents to show how much they earn, we have made an agreement with the U-pass agency that all azc residents receive a U-pass if they apply for it through us. Mathilde and René help you applying on Tuesday afternoon from 2 pm to 3 pm in the Information desk. On Thursday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Marc can help during the stamping.

Places to meet in Utrecht city

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