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Utrecht (city)

Utrecht is capital city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. With 250,000 inhabitants, it is the fourth city of the Netherlands.

The municipality also comprises the following towns, villages and townships: De Meern, Haarzuilens, Vleuten.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Famous people from Utrecht
3 Museums in Utrecht
4 Hoog Catharijne
5 Public transport
6 External links


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.

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 1572 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.

Nowadays, important influences in Utrecht are the Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) and Utrecht University. Utrecht is the center of the Dutch railroad network.
The city is also known for its Dom Tower of Utrecht and its canalstructure in the centre of the city.
It is home to FC Utrecht (a major league football club), which recently has run into financial trouble, and plays in Stadion De Nieuwe Galgewaard.

Famous people from Utrecht

Museums in Utrecht

Hoog Catharijne

Hoog Catharijne is an indoor shopping center adjacent to the train station on one side and the city center on the other side. Originally the corridors have been considered public places like streets, and therefore open all night. However, some parts are currently closed at night, and from the end of April 2004 this will be the case for the whole area; thus homeless people will no longer be allowed to spend the night here. The station hall will still be open at night, but for passengers only.

Public transport

Utrecht Centraal (ut) is a main node of the Dutch rail network and also of the regional and local public transport:

External links