The Village Utrecht

A journalistic live podcast about the fastest growing city in the Netherlands



New Heroes uniquely guides visitors through the fastest growing innovative city in the Netherlands

Together with SPRING festival, Company New Heroes developed The Village Utrecht, an app-based, multidisciplinary and interactive urban project about a rapidly changing city. Between May 12th and 21st of this year, The Village Utrecht premiered as part of the SPRING festival. The Village could be visited daily during this period.

An interactive app takes you from the center of Utrecht to three districts that will play a crucial role in the development of the City of the Future 2040: Lunetten, Leidsche Rijn and Overvecht. These three districts will grow into new city centers; bustling hubs with intercity stations, new businesses, culture and lots of new housing.

May I be here?

By 2040, Utrecht will have made room for another 100,000 new Utrechters. Fortunately, Utrecht already has far-reaching plans on how to achieve that City of the Future. Everyone will live within the existing city limits to preserve the surrounding nature. The city itself will be greener, more accessible, safer, friendlier and more social. Utrecht is a. Utrecht is an example for other (European) cities; how to deal with the big challenges around city development and urban living. 

But long before we reach that beautiful City of the Future, we will have to deal with the gigantic changes that have to take place to get there. What is already becoming clear is that much of what makes Utrecht such a cozy village will have to change. Our question is what impact the plans will have on the people who live here. What will happen to our identity? What will we have to give up and what will we get in its place? Do I have a say in what my city will look like? And will there still be room for me in the city of the future? Can I still be there?

For a year, the creators team of New Heroes explored these and other questions. We spoke with experts, stakeholders and policy makers, as well as neighbors, old and new residents, guests, landowners and the undocumented about local democracy, participation, (in)equality, urban planning, identity and sustainability.

3 storylines

The Village Utrecht starts at the Stadsschouwburg in the city center. You open the Village app on your phone and put on your headphones. Now the story begins. We tell you about our research, we introduce you to the experts we spoke to, and you hear what’s going to change about the city you see around you. After this introduction, get on your bike and cycle to the Stationsgebied where Utrecht is expanding its city center. Here on the Croeselaan you will see the promises become reality. 

After this you get back on your bike and choose 1 of the 3 storylines. Have you decided on Leidsche Rijn? Then you will meet Mariëlla van Apeldoorn, an artist from Utrecht who researched the question “Can I live here?”. Leidsche Rijn is a relatively new part of the city and it has also been a construction site for about 15 years. In this part of town there is a lot of attention to sustainable building and social cohesion. But at the same time, house prices here are proportionally the highest in all of Utrecht. Is this new city center only for the lucky few? And what does it mean to be homeless in Leidsche Rijn? Do you still have a chance to build a life here?

Or has the preferred choice fallen to Overvecht? There you will meet Veerle van Dieren and Ikram Bouchara. They both live in Overvecht and spoke to many people who are trying very hard to make an active contribution to the development of this ‘disadvantaged neighborhood’ of Utrecht. But if you don’t speak the right language, can you participate? 

If you’re interested in Lunetten, we’ll introduce you to Travis, a Utrecht artist who is leaving Lunetten and the city of Utrecht to seek his fortune in The Hague. He is investigating who else is moving out of this part of town and why and what else has to disappear to make way for the development of a new city center on the edges of Utrecht. What about nature, for example? And the earth itself? Does it have a voice in the matter? Can it stay here? 

The Village Utrecht is about you. About your encounter with the city and the people who live there and about exploring your role in the changes taking place. Only when we begin to unravel and understand the impact of these changes can we participate in them ourselves. 


Nice and interesting tour through Utrecht! What do we want with the city? Is it only for the rich? Brr. Your project gives food for thought” (Josephine).

“Captivating walk through growing Utrecht” (Theaterkrant)


If you want more information please contact

The Village App

Company New Heroes is always looking for new, more contemporary ways of storytelling. That’s why we’ve been developing the interactive app The Village for the past 9 years. 

This app lets the audience be an active part of his or her own story. The app lets you navigate, asks questions, and let you see and hear. As a visitor you are in charge of how fast or slow your pace is and how involved you want to be in your journey. 

Because of the unique combination of true stories and theatrical elements on various locations The Village becomes a surprising experience. 

The Village is a journey filled with dilemmas and choices. The Village are stories of people. Stories of the city.

Project Credits

The Village Utrecht is created by| Bas van Rijnsoever, Isil Vos, Niels Kuiters, Keisha Tuur, Charlot van der Meer, Mariëlla van Apeldoorn, Anne Caesar, Travis Geertruida, Veerle van Dieren, Ikram Bouchara, August Geerlings, Lucas de Man, Myrthe Boersma, Hugo de Haas aka Wordbites, Sam Ward, Kora Valentić and  Lucas van Eijk.

Produced by | Stichting Nieuwe Helden, SPRING Festival en RAUM

In collaboration with | Bibliotheek Utrecht, ZIMIHC en HKU

Made possible by | The Fonds Podiumkunsten, Fentener van Vlissingen fonds en KF Hein fonds

Special thank you to | Appie, Ali en Lynn and their ZIMIHC for their hospitality, Grzegorz Reske, Peter Koop, Harm Lambers, Melody Deldjou Fard, Mirthe Biemans, Frans Soeterbroek, Ruben Jacobs, Bing and his family, Thijs de Bekker, Wilma, Olette Bollen, Klaas Verschuure, Tjerk and Bart and so many others who were willing to share their time, experience and knowledge with us.