Utrecht is a municipality and the capital city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands.
Haarzuilens (population: 500)
- The city of Utrecht (population: 244,000)
- Vleuten-De Meern (population: 26,000)
Vleuten-De Meern was a separate municipality until 2001, which included the village of Haarzuilens. Population data are approximations as of early 2004.
The city of Utrecht
Utrecht is famous for the Dom Tower of Utrecht and the canal structure in the inner city. It is the center of the Dutch railroad network and the location of the head office of the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways). A large indoor shopping center called Hoog Catharijne is located between the central railway station and the city center. The corridors have been considered public places like streets, and the main route from station to city centre is therefore open all night. Over the next years (counting from 2004), parts of Hoog Catharijne will disappear in connection with the Aanpak Stationsgebied scheme. Utrecht University is the largest university of The Netherlands. Utrecht is also home to the FC Utrecht football club, which plays in Stadium Nieuw Galgenwaard.
The origin of the city was the erection of a Roman fortification (castellum) around AD 47. It was built at the river Rhine, which followed a more northern route than it does now and was the border of the Roman Empire. The name of the place was Traiectum, which means fordable place. During the ages around 500 Romans were encamped here. Near the fort there was a settlement with artisans, traders and soldiers' women and children.
In the middle of the 2nd century German peoples regularly invaded the territories that Romans had conquered from them, and around 270 the Romans left Utrecht. About the period 270-500 little is known. In the 6th century Utrecht came under the influence of the Franks.
During the Middle Ages Utrecht was the most important city of the Northern Netherlands. Willibrordus is usually considered to be its first bishop. In 695 he was appointed archbishop of the Frisians and in 703 or 704 Pepin II of Herstal gave him Utrecht as see for his missionary activities further north. Utrecht received city rights in 1122.
Later the bishops of Utrecht exercised worldly power not only in the province of Utrecht (Nedersticht) but also further to the northeast. The Veluwe soon became part of Gelre but Overijssel remained the Oversticht. In 1528 the wordly power over both Neder- and Oversticht was transferred to Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who became the Lord of the 17 Netherlands (the current Benelux plus the 'Nord' of France).
In 1579 the northern 7 provinces of these Low Countries signed the Union of Utrecht. They decided to work together against the Spanish rule. The Union of Utrecht is seen as the beginning of the Dutch Republic. In 1580 this predominantly Protestant state abolished the bishoprics, including the one in Utrecht. Only in 1853 was the see reinstated.
The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 settled the War of the Spanish Succession. Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain.
In 1843, a railway that connected Utrecht with Amsterdam was opened. After that, Utrecht gradually became the centre of the Dutch railway network.
During World War II, Utrecht was held by the Germans until the general German surrender of the Netherlands on May 5, 1945. The city was occupied by Canadian troops on May 7, 1945.
Since World War II, the city has grown considerably when new neighbourhoods such as Kanaleneiland, Hoograven, Lunetten, and (recently) Leidsche Rijn were built.
On September 8th, 2003 a 45 metre high guyed radi mast for medium wave broadcasting fell unplanned at woodworks.
Utrecht University is the largest university of The Netherlands (24,628 students as of 2003). The university is based in the inner city and in the Uithof campus area, on the east of the city. It's the 39th best univeristy in the world, according to Shanghai Jiaotong University's university ranking in 2004. Utrecht is also home to two other large institutions of higher education: the HvU University of Professional Education Utrecht (30,000 students), and the HKU Utrecht School of the Arts (3,000 students).
The public transport network of Utrecht includes:
- The Utrecht Centraal railway station (abbreviation:ut), which is a main node of the Dutch railway network and also serves as a major regional bus station. There are three minor railway stations in Utrecht: Utrecht Overvecht (uto), Utrecht Lunetten (utl), and Utrecht Terwijde (utt). Additionally, at least three new railway stations are planned.
- Local GVU buses, including a high-quality bus line to the Uithof university district to the east of the city, served by bi-articulated buses.
- Regional Connexxion buses
BBA buses to and from the region northwest of the city, and to Breda and Oosterhout (Interliner).
- A light-rail line which runs from the Utrecht Centraal station, through the neighbourhoods of Lombok and Kanaleneiland, to Nieuwegein and IJsselstein. This line is also operated by Connexxion.
Utrecht also has a harbour on the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, which is connected to the Rhine river. The CTU container terminal has a capacity of 80,000 containers a year. In 2003, the port facilitated the transport of four million tons of cargo; mostly sand, gravel, fertilizer, and fodder.
Famous people from Utrecht