Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is a city and municipality in the Netherlands and the capital of the province of Utrecht. With 368,024 inhabitants on 31 January 2023, Utrecht is the fourth-largest municipality in the Netherlands in terms of population. These inhabitants are divided over four residential areas, namely Utrecht with 308,965, Haarzuilens with 555, Vleuten with 27,810 and De Meern with 21,815 inhabitants. As of January 1, 2019, the agglomeration of Utrecht had 712,700 inhabitants. In 2021, Utrecht was the fastest growing city in the Netherlands.

Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. It originated as a Roman fortification on the Limes. In the seventh century a church was built on the spot where this fort was located and in the following centuries larger churches arose here. From there, large parts of the present-day Netherlands were Christianized. In 1122, Utrecht was one of the first cities in what is now the Netherlands to receive city rights. Thanks to its location on the river Rhine, Utrecht grew into one of the most important trading cities in Europe in the 13th and 14th centuries. With the emergence of the county of Holland, this trade moved there and Utrecht became less important, although Utrecht remained the largest city in the Northern Netherlands until the beginning of the 16th century. In the year 1808, Utrecht was briefly the capital of the Kingdom of Holland. At the time of the industrial revolution, Utrecht was the center of the national steel and railway industry.

Utrecht is currently the second largest economy in the northern wing of the Randstad, after Amsterdam. The Utrecht region is one of the most competitive economic regions in Europe. The city is the road and rail hub of the Netherlands. With a throughput of more than 57 million passengers per year, Utrecht Central Station is the largest station in the Netherlands. Partly for this reason, many companies and authorities have their headquarters there, including bol.com, NS, Prorail, Jaarbeurs, Rabobank, De Volksbank, DHL, Capgemini, ASR Nederland, Aalberts and trade union FNV. In addition, a number of agencies and ZBOs are located in the city, such as the Social Affairs and Employment Inspectorate, the Education Inspectorate, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate, the Medicines Evaluation Board and the Dutch Healthcare Authority. The Board for Human Rights, the Central Appeals Board and the Public Prosecutor's Office CVOM also have their headquarters there.

In addition to Utrecht University, Utrecht also houses the Hogeschool Utrecht, the University of Humanistics and the Utrecht School of the Arts. There are approximately 67,000 students in total, of which more than 33,000 live in the city. Utrecht is therefore known as a student city.

Utrecht is the headquarters of the Catholic Church in the Netherlands and of the Archdiocese of Utrecht. At 112.5 meters, the Domtoren is the highest church tower in the Netherlands and the symbol of the city. Utrecht also has a rich art tradition, the most famous exponents of which are the painters of the Utrecht School (Jan van Scorel and Roelant Savery, among others), and 20th-century artists such as Gerrit Rietveld, Theo van Doesburg and Dick Bruna.



The municipality of Utrecht is surrounded by the municipalities of De Bilt, Stichtse Vecht, Woerden, Montfoort, IJsselstein, Nieuwegein, Houten, Bunnik and Zeist. The Utrecht agglomeration (contiguous urban area) had 493,667 inhabitants on 1 January 2015 (source: CBS). The urban region of Utrecht (the former BRU) had 660,873 inhabitants on that date.

Utrecht is the most centrally located of the four largest Dutch cities. Within this municipality, the important north-south running A2 and west-east running A12 intersect. Other motorways that run through Utrecht and start here respectively are the A27 and A28. Utrecht Central Station is the largest railway hub in the Netherlands in terms of the number of departing trains. The Amsterdam-Rhine Canal also runs through this city, where inland vessels are busy.

Utrecht, together with the three largest cities in the Netherlands and a number of medium-sized cities, is part of the Randstad. Partly because of this, Utrecht owes its favorable economic position.

Utrecht was one of the first cities in the present-day Netherlands with city rights, namely since 1122. The street plan of the current Utrecht city center was created in the Middle Ages. Many houses here are also of medieval origin, although in later times the majority of them have been changed in layout and / or appearance. Yet many monumental buildings have been well preserved. This applies in particular to eight medieval churches, of which the Dom is the largest and best known. The more than 112 meter high Dom Tower, from which Utrecht derives its nickname Dom City, is the highest church tower in the Netherlands. Furthermore, the low-lying yards along the water of the Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht are special.

The city of Utrecht has a long and in some periods turbulent history. This dates back to Roman times at the beginning of our era, when the Roman armies built their castellum. In the seventh century, a small church was built on the site of the castellum. In the following centuries, larger churches arose here. From there, large parts of the present-day Netherlands were Christianized. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Utrecht, situated on the river Rhine, was one of the most important trading cities in Europe. With the rise of the County of Holland, this trade moved there and Utrecht became less important, although Utrecht remained the largest city in the Netherlands until the early 16th century. After that, Utrecht gradually dropped to fourth place in the ranking of the largest Dutch cities. In the year 1808, Utrecht was the capital of the Kingdom of Holland for a short period. From the 20th century, Utrecht experienced a new period of prosperity, now mainly due to its central location in the Netherlands.

The average age of the Utrecht population is relatively low due to the many students here. The best known and largest educational institutions are Utrecht University and Hogeschool Utrecht. Well-known Utrecht companies are NS, ProRail, Rabobank, De Volksbank, ASR, SHV, Jaarbeurs Utrecht and Douwe Egberts.

The two largest denominations in the Netherlands, namely the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestant Church, as well as the Old Catholic Church and the Remonstrant Brotherhood, have their seat and / or head office in Utrecht. The Federation of the Dutch Trade Union Movement (FNV) and the Christelijk Nationaal Vakverbond (CNV) also have their headquarters in Utrecht.



The municipality of Utrecht distinguishes ten districts administratively. These can be compared with districts in other cities. The Utrecht neighborhoods are divided into sub-neighborhoods and these in turn into neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has a neighborhood office or a neighborhood service center. The Vleuten-De Meern district also has a branch of the Burgerzaken department of the municipality of Utrecht.

Each district has a district council committee, composed of city councilors or their deputies, and each district also has a separate district councilor. In addition, a neighborhood council has existed since 2002, which has an advisory role and consists of residents of the relevant neighborhood. The Utrecht neighborhoods (district division since 2001) are:
Figures as of 1 January 2019 :. Total: 352,941 (100%)

01: City center 18,989 inhabitants (5.38%)
02: East 32,529 inhabitants (9.22%)
03: Leidsche Rijn 38,859 inhabitants (11.0%)
04: West 29,421 inhabitants (8.34%)
05: Overfight 34,293 inhabitants (9.72%)
06: South 27,772 inhabitants (7.87%)
07: Northeast 39,282 inhabitants (11.1%)
08: Southwest 38,428 inhabitants (10.9%)
09: Northwest 44,579 inhabitants (12.6%)
10: Vleuten-De Meern 48,789 inhabitants (13.8%)



Utrecht has a historic center, which is completely surrounded by a canal. The Oudegracht and Nieuwegracht run from south to north, which are unique because of the yards, low quays on which the wharf cellars of the houses on the canal end. After Amsterdam and Maastricht, Utrecht has the largest number of national monuments of all cities in the Netherlands. In 2009, the municipality of Utrecht has more than 1400 national monuments, more than 1600 municipal monuments, 4 archaeological monuments and 5 protected city / village views: Utrecht, Utrecht East, Utrecht - Zuilen-Elinkwijk, Blauwkapel and Haarzuilens. The Rietveld Schröder House is included on the World Heritage List.


Religious buildings

Utrecht has many churches, chapels and other religious buildings. The lists below are limited to national monuments and a small selection of municipal monuments and other buildings. The order in these lists is from old to young.

Churches and chapels in the city center
Pieterskerk, dedicated to the Apostle Peter, completed in 1048 in a Romanesque collegiate church with two-tower front, founded by Bishop Bernold. He would have planned to build a church cross in Utrecht. The Pieterskerk is said to represent the head of the cross. However, the church cross theory has not been proven. The Romanesque parts of the church, namely the nave, the left side chapel of the choir and the crypt under the choir, are very well preserved. The other parts of the church are built in Gothic style. The infamous storm of August 1, 1674 caused so much damage that it was decided to demolish the collapsed towers and the bay between the ship. The church is now owned and used by the Église Wallonne d'Utrecht.
Janskerk, dedicated to John the Baptist, as well as the Pieterskerk founded by Bishop Bernold, but built a little later. The Janskerk was also a collegiate church with two towers. According to the church cross theory, the St. John's Church represents the left arm of the cross. This church was slightly smaller than the Pieterskerk, but the two churches are built in an almost identical Romanesque style. During the construction, however, the west side was changed and soon afterwards the north tower was demolished. City fires in the 12th and 13th centuries resulted in the ship's round columns being converted into square pillars and the crypt being demolished. In the 16th century, the Romanesque choir with side chapels was replaced by a larger and much higher Gothic choir with Gothic side chapels. It was planned to enlarge the remaining parts of the church in Gothic style, but this plan was not implemented in connection with the Reformation. In 1682 the remaining tower was demolished and a new west facade built. The Janskerk is now owned by the Protestant Municipality of Utrecht. The congregation that holds worship services here mainly consists of (former) students.

Dom, dedicated to Saint Martin, Gothic cathedral built between 1254 and 1517. This church replaced a Romanesque cathedral, which Bishop Adelbold decided in 1015 to build. The history of the churches on today's Domplein goes back to the introduction of Christianity in the northern Netherlands. From the 7th century, Utrecht was the center from which the Netherlands north of the major rivers was Christianized. This vast area came under the diocese of Utrecht. Immediately next to St. Martin's Church was the Oudmunster or St. Salvator's Church. The two churches initially disagreed as to which of the two could call itself the seat of the bishop. St. Martin's Church eventually won this battle and was given the status of cathedral or cathedral. According to the theory of the church cross (see above), the Dom stood in the heart of the cross and the Saint Salvator Church represented the right arm. The collegiate church to the west of the Dom, the Saint Marie, would be the foot end. The Dom Tower was built in the period 1321 to 1382. Its design was revolutionary at that time due to the lack of buttresses on the outside. With its height of 112 m, this church tower is the largest and highest in the Netherlands. The oldest parts of the church are modeled on Gothic cathedrals in Northern France. In this respect too, this church is unique for the Netherlands. The transept was built later than the choir, namely mainly between 1444 and 1475. The construction of the nave started in 1484. Due to a lack of sufficient resources, this was not completed. In 1517 the project was discontinued. The tornado of August 1, 1674 (see at Pieterskerk) blew over the 42 m high nave. The transept, choir and part of the nave's southern aisles, together forming about half of the original church, remained intact. In 1580 the church came into the hands of the Protestants. The Protestant Municipality of Utrecht now owns the church. The tower with the 13 bells and the carillon is owned by the municipality of Utrecht. The adjoining cloister with pandhof is also part of the Dom. The chapter house is now used as a university auditorium. The Utrecht Dom attracts many tourists. In 2017, more than 433,000 visitors entered the church.
Neighboring church, dedicated to Saint Mary, five-aisled Gothic hall church with a 55 m high tower. 'Neighbor' should be read as 'citizen'. The Buurkerk was a parish church, intended for the bourgeoisie, in contrast to the collegiate churches, where worship was maintained by canons. The current Buurkerk largely dates from the 14th to 16th century, but its oldest predecessor was founded in the 10th century, making the Buurkerk parish the oldest of the four medieval Utrecht parishes. In 1580 the church fell into Protestant hands. This lasted until 1975, when the district municipalities of the Domkerk and the Buurkerk merged. The Speelklok Museum has been housed in the Buurkerk since 1984. In terms of surface area, approximately 2500 m², this church is the largest in Utrecht.
Nicolai Church, dedicated to Saint Nicholas and also called Klaaskerk by Utrecht residents, parish church of which the Romanesque western front with two towers dates from the 12th century. In later centuries this church was converted into a Gothic hall church. This church is special for its organ history and possessions. Until the end of the 19th century, an organ from the Renaissance period stood here, one of the oldest playable organs in the world. An organ by Witte replaced it. In 1956 this organ was replaced by a modern organ, which became famous at home and abroad, built by the Danish firm Marcussen och Son. A smaller, slightly older organ in this church, the Sweelink organ, is also from this firm. The Nicolaïkerk is owned and used by the Protestant Municipality of Utrecht.

Jacobi Church, dedicated to the Apostle James the Greater, gothic hall church from the 13th to 15th century. This church is located in the Utrecht neighborhood district C and because the population in this area grew rapidly, the church was enlarged several times, first to the east, until the church almost touched the houses on the Oudegracht, and then to the west, so that the tower in the church. The tornado of August 1, 1674 broke off the slender, high spire. In 1953 the bourgeoisie gave the church a new spire, which is less high and vulnerable than the previous one. Nevertheless, with a height of 63 m, this Jacobi tower is the second highest church tower in Utrecht. In 1580 the church came into use by the Protestants. The first pastors in this church were much less strict than most of their colleagues. They managed to get the city council to adopt a more tolerant attitude towards religious minorities. The church is now owned and used by the Protestant Municipality of Utrecht. The interior of the Jacobikerk is a fine example of a 17th-century Protestant Dutch church interior.
Geertekerk, dedicated to Geertruida van Nivelles, youngest and smallest of the four medieval parish churches in Utrecht. The first Geertekerk, a simple rectangular hall church, was built in the 12th century just outside the then city. In the 13th century this church was demolished and moved to its current location just inside the city walls. In the 14th and 15th centuries, the Geertekerk was provided with a tower and enlarged. In the 1930s the church fell to ruin after being abandoned by the reformed congregation. The Remonstrant municipality of Utrecht saved this church from demolition in the 1950s. She bought the ruin and rebuilt the church. In 1956 the Remonstrants moved from their former church on the Kromme Nieuwe Gracht to the Geertekerk.
Catharijnekerk, originally a monastery church dedicated to Catherine of Alexandria, built in the 16th century in late Gothic style. After the restoration of the episcopal hierarchy in 1853, this church was designated as the cathedral of the Archdiocese of Utrecht. In 1900 the church was enlarged by one bay to the west and it was given a bell tower in late Gothic style.
St. Gertrudiskapel, one of the best-preserved Roman Catholic secret churches in the Netherlands. This was converted into a medieval house in the 17th century. The predecessor of this hidden church was the Geertekerk (see above), which was assigned to the Protestants by the government in 1580. The hidden church is now connected to the old Catholic St. Gertrudis Cathedral via an intermediate space (see below).
Lutheran Church, largely the chapel of the former St. Ursula Monastery, founded by Abraham Dole in 1421. The Lutherans initially met in a hidden church, but in 1745 they bought two houses on Hamburgerstraat, demolished them and built a new part of their church on the same site, connecting with the medieval chapel. The interior of this chapel was adapted to that of the new extension. A striking feature of this church is the crowning of the façade in Louis XIV style.
Chapel of the Agnietenklooster, with nunnery, built between 1512 and 1516. Since 1921, this chapel has been part of the Centraal Museum.
Mennonite Church, hall church built in 1773, designed by Willem de Haan. The stylish, spacious entrance with top floor is striking.
Saint Augustine Church, Waterstaat Church designed by Karel George Zocher and completed in 1840. At the front is a temple facade with high columns in neo-classical style. Apart from the hidden churches, the Augustinuskerk was the first Roman Catholic church in Utrecht built after the Reformation.
Saint Willibrord Church, very high neo-Gothic church, designed by Alfred Tepe, completed in 1877. The rich and colorful interior was created by members of the St. Bernulphus Guild. For a long time no or only occasional services were held in this Roman Catholic Church. In 2016, the Fraternity of Saint Pius X inaugurated the church and holy masses are celebrated regularly. After the Dom, this church is the most visited by tourists in the city of Utrecht.
St. Gertrudis Cathedral, built in the neo-Romanesque style and completed in 1914, an old Catholic cathedral. Next to this church is the former Roman Catholic secret church of St. Gertrudis. When the Roman Catholic Church was torn in 1723 and the Old Catholic Church was created, this hidden church fell into the hands of the Old Catholics.
Synagogue on Springweg, built in 1926 to a design by Harry Elte. This former Jewish place of worship has a particularly rich interior in Art Deco style.



Friars Minor Monastery, built by the Franciscans in the 13th century. The current building of the Faculty of Law of Utrecht University, located at Janskerkhof, remains from this monastery. However, it has changed significantly over the centuries.
Regular Monastery, built in the 13th century, but rebuilt inside and out many times after the monastery was closed. It served as the Tivoli music venue for several decades, until it moved to the new music center TivoliVredenburg. The company of pop musician Colin Benders has been located in this former monastery since 2014.
German House, built around 1350 by the Teutonic Knights, a spiritual knighthood that originated at the time of the Crusades. The church of the monastery collapsed during the storm of August 1, 1674. The other buildings have been preserved. The main building served as a military hospital for a long time. Today Hotel Karel V is housed in the buildings of the German House.
Catharijneconvent, built in the Middle Ages by the Carmelites, at the time of Emperor Charles V taken into use by the Johns, who had to leave their monastery at the Catharijnepoort for the construction of the Vredenburg. 'Catharijne' refers to Catherine of Alexandria, the patron saint of the Johns. 'Catharijneconvent' is therefore the name that the St Johns gave to the existing monastery. The same goes for the monastery church, the Catharijne church. The Catharijneconvent Museum is now housed in this well-preserved monastery.
Saint Nicholas Monastery, built around 1407. The late medieval building is particularly interesting because of the gallery on pointed arches in the courtyard.
Carthusian Monastery Nieuw Licht on the Laan van Chartroise, built in the 15th to 18th century. Only a gatehouse and a farm have been preserved.
Agnietenklooster, built in 1421. In 1921 the building was expanded with new wings for the Centraal Museum, which moved into it. The monastery chapel is part of the museum building.
Genezzano Monastery of the Augustinian Sisters of Saint Monica on the Waterstraat. This monastic community was founded in 1934 with the assignment to work in the immediate vicinity, Wijk C. In the second half of the 20th century, the monastery called itself Girls City, because it focused on the care of homeless and threatened girls and women. The current monastery building on the corner of Oudegracht and Waterstraat dates from 1997.


Places of worship outside the city center

Old St. Willibrord Church (Vleuten), originally a three-aisled Gothic church, built around 1300. In 1580 this church was assigned to the Protestants, after which the choir was demolished. In 1831 the church was further reduced by the demolition of the two westernmost bays. In 1971, it was rebuilt to its original size with restoration of the Gothic windows, but without any further reconstruction of the medieval church. Only the tower and the parts of the aisles to the left and right of the tower are medieval. This church has a valuable organ built by Gideon Thomas Bätz in 1809.
Chapel of Kasteel de Haar, probably dedicated to Saint Steven, founded before 1420 as a daughter chapel of the parish church in Kockengen. This chapel functioned for centuries as the church of the village of De Haar, which was then next to the castle. In the 17th century the castle and chapel began to deteriorate. At the end of the 19th century, Baron Étienne van Zuylen van Nyevelt van de Haar commissioned architect Pierre Cuypers to rebuild the castle, chapel and outbuildings. In 1896, the chapel was rebuilt in neo-Gothic style while retaining the medieval ground plan, parts of the tower and some wall remains. The chapel located on the castle grounds is not freely accessible.
Lebuïnuskerk (Blauwkapel), the smallest gothic cross church in the Netherlands, built in 1451.
Church of Our Lady of Heaven (Oudenrijn), one of the oldest neo-Gothic churches in the Netherlands, built between 1857 and 1860. In 1940 the parishioners moved to their new church in De Meern. The abandoned church was converted into a factory and radically renovated. However, the special neo-Gothic roof construction has been preserved. This former church is now in use as a cultural breeding ground with the name Metal Cathedral.
Sint-Willibrordkerk (Vleuten), neo-Gothic church, designed by Nicolaas Molenaar sr., Completed in 1885.
Former hall church (Alendorp), built in 1896 for the recently established Reformed Church of Vleuten and De Meern.
Saint Anthony of Padua Church (Lombok), designed by the architects Jan Stuyt and Joseph Cuypers in a neo-Romanesque style. The church building was completed in 1903, the tower in 1924. This tower was built after the example of Italian bell towers: narrow and somewhat detached from the church.

Nieuwe Kerk (Wittevrouwen), built in neo-Romanesque style in 1910, designed by architect Christiaan Posthumus Meyjes Sr .. The Nieuwe Kerk was the first church in Utrecht to be built as a Dutch Reformed church.
Marekerk (De Meern), built in 1913 in Art Nouveau style as a Dutch Reformed church. This church replaced a medieval chapel at the same place at the Meern Bridge, where the village of De Meern originated.
R.K. Sint-Gertrudiskerk (Rivierenwijk), designed by architect Wolter te Riele, completed in 1924. Utrecht has four churches dedicated to Sint-Geertruida van Nivelles. The oldest is the medieval Geertekerk. After the Reformation, this church came into the hands of the Protestants and the Roman Catholic parishioners moved to their secret church, which of course was also dedicated to Saint Gertrude (in Latin: Gertrudis). In 1914, the old Catholic St. Gertrudis Cathedral was built next to this hidden church. The youngest church dedicated to Sint-Geertruida is the one in Rivierenwijk.
Sint Aloysiuskerk (Schildersbuurt), large church in hexagonal shape with a high dome, completed in 1924. The architect was Hendrik Willem Valk. This church houses many valuable objects of visual art and an organ by Abraham Meere from 1810.
Wilhelminakerk (Schildersbuurt), built in 1931 in the style of the Amsterdam School.
Mariakerk (De Meern), Roman Catholic church built in 1940 in the style of the Delft School. The architect was Hendrik Christiaan van de Leur.
Sint-Dominicuskerk (Oog in Al), neo-Romanesque church in the style of the Bossche School built in 1951.
Ulu Mosque (Lombok), a mosque built in the period 2008 to 2015 at the head of Lombok with two 44 m high minarets. The affairs within this mosque are under the authority of the Turkish government.
Islamic Cultural Center Leidsche Rijn (De Meern), mosque and cultural center opened in 2016. The mosque board consists of members from the Moroccan community.


Non-religious buildings

In the city center there are many buildings with a history that goes back to the Middle Ages. Well-known are the Utrecht city castles, stone houses of wealthy or noble families, which were mainly located within the medieval trading district of Stathe. In later periods, representative buildings were built in many more places throughout the city. The list below shows eye-catching buildings, ranging from old to young.

Oudaen, Oudegracht 99, a fortified house from around 1280. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, Utrecht had many of these castle-like houses of wealthy patricians. Less well-preserved include Drakenburg (Oudegracht 114), Kranestein (Oudegracht 55), Fresenburch (Oudegracht 113) and Blankenburg (Oudegracht 121).
House Zoudenbalch in the Donkerstraat from 1467-1468 in late Gothic style, with a striking natural stone facade, which was restored in 1903 after a fire.
Bartholomeïgasthuis on the Lange Smeestraat, from 1367, consisting of a wing on the street with a chapel standing at right angles to it.
Sint Eloyen Gasthuis, Boterstraat 22. Since 1440, the house of the blacksmiths guild of Sint-Eloy has been located here. The house is only open to visitors on National Heritage Day (second Saturday in September). The entrance door / gate dates back to 1644.
Paushuize from 1517, built by order of Pope Adrian VI from Utrecht, who never lived in it. It is a late Gothic building with typical stone and brick layers of "bacon".
Sonnenborgh and Manenborgh, two strongholds, remains of the city fortifications from around 1550. Sonnenborgh is now in use as an observatory.
Leeuwenbergh Gasthuis, a two-aisled hall, built in 1567 as a pest house, later used as a church. The gate building on the city wall has disappeared.
Grote Vleeshuis on the Voorstraat, built in 1637, possibly after a design by the painter Paulus Moreelse.
Statenkamer, the former refectory of the Friary Minor Monastery at the Janskerkhof with a gate from 1643. Now part of Utrecht University.
De Krakeling, Achter Sint-Pieter, house from 1663 with striking ornaments and a special door. Built for Everard Meyster, known for the Amersfoortse Kei.
Foundation of Renswoude from 1757 by Joan Verkerk in rococo style. Originally an institution that educated gifted orphans. Most of the sumptuous interior has been preserved in its original state.
Shop van Sinkel on the Oudegracht from 1839, designed by P. Adams in neoclassical style. One of the first department stores in the Netherlands, striking because of the four caryatids in the front facade.


City Hall of Utrecht on the Stadhuisbrug on the Oudegracht, with a heavy neoclassical facade of natural stone from 1826-1847.
Building for Arts and Sciences at the Mariaplaats, built on the site of the demolished Maria Church in 1844. Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms performed here. Currently conservatory.
Main building I of the Dutch Railways from 1870.
Main Building II of the Dutch Railways from 1893-1895 in neo-Renaissance style by architect J.F. Riveter.
Ooglijdersgasthuis from 1894, at the F.C. Dondersstraat. Designed by architect D. Kruijf. From 1894-1989 housed the Nederlandsch Gasthuis for Needy and Disadvantaged Ooglijders. From 1990-2015 this was a location of the Hogeschool Utrecht.
Academy building on Domplein in neo-Renaissance style, designed by E.H. Gugel and Ferdinand Jacob Nieuwenhuis.
Pharmacy on Voorstraat 6, the best preserved example of Art Nouveau in Utrecht, built in 1904 after a design by R. Rijksen Gzn.
PhRM at Janskerkhof 14, society of the Utrechtsch Studenten Corps, built in 1901 and designed by A.H. Zinsmeister.
Former Main Post Office on the Neude from 1918 by J. Crouwel in the style of the Amsterdam School. The hall with its curved span is striking.
De Inktpot, the old Main Building III of the Dutch Railways, a large brick building from 1918-1921, designed by G.W. from Heukelom. ProRail has been located in the building since 2003.
The world famous Rietveld Schröder House from 1924, designed by Gerrit Rietveld. It is an example of De Stijl architecture and has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2000.
Police station Tolsteeg on the Tolsteegbrug, a building from 1926 in the style of the Amsterdam School. Now film house 'Louis Hartlooper Complex'.
The Forts near Utrecht as part of the New Dutch Waterline, which has been on the Dutch Provisional List for World Heritage by UNESCO since 1995.
Several buildings on University grounds De Uithof are architecturally worth mentioning. Examples include Rem Koolhaas 'Educatorium, Wiel Arets University Library, Willem Jan Neutelings' Minnaert Building and Köther-Salman Architekten's De Bisschoppen.



Orphanage gate on the Springweg, built at the beginning of the seventeenth century using older elements
Hofpoort on the west side of the Nieuwegracht between Pausdam and Paulusbrug, a bluestone gate with Doric half columns (third quarter of the 16th century and c. 1620)
Gate of the Bisschopshof on the Servetstraat (1634)


Almshouses and courtyards

Beyers rooms at the Lange Nieuwstraat / Agnietenstraat (1597-1650)
Brunts at Lepelenburg (1621)
Chambers Maria van Pallaes at Agnietenstraat (1651)



Rijn en Zon, a flour mill in the Vogelenbuurt.
De Ster, a sawmill in the Lombok district.


Lost buildings

St. Salvator's Church, located next to the Dom. Demolished in 1587. The Dom had come into the hands of the Protestants and apparently there was no need for a second church on the same site.
Vredenburg Castle, the hated stronghold of Emperor Charles V, was demolished by the Utrecht population in the years 1577 to 1581.
Paul's Abbey, built on the initiative of Bishop Bernold. The oldest parts, including the abbey church in the same Romanesque style as the Pieterskerk and the Janskerk, were built in 1050. Paul's Abbey gradually disappeared after the Reformation. In the Hofpoort (dead-end side alley of the Nieuwegracht) one arrives at the rear of the former courthouse, in which a piece of wall from the abbey church from 1050 has been incorporated.
The Mariakerk, collegiate church built in the 11th and 12th century, as well as the two slightly older collegiate churches, the Pieterskerk and the Janskerk, in Romanesque style. However, the architecture of this church was clearly different from that of the Pieters and Janskerk. Italian (Lombard) influences are clearly discernible, as can be seen from the well-known painting by Pieter Saenredam, which shows the wide western front with the towers of the Dom and the Buurkerk in the background. Mary's Church fell into disrepair when no more church services were held. In 1813 it was largely demolished. Only the choir of the church remained in use as a concert hall until 1844, when this too was demolished to make way for the Building for Arts and Sciences. The only thing that has been preserved of this church is a part of the cloister, which can be seen and entered from the Mariaplaats.


Lofen Palace, in 1040 Emperor Henry III had this palace built, it stood between the current Domplein and the Oudegracht.
The De Utrecht building of the insurance company of the same name, an example of Jugendstil architecture. The building was designed by J. Verheul and was completed in 1902. In 1974 it was demolished for the construction of the Hoog-Catharijne shopping center. Various elements of the demolished building have been stored.
The former Central Station by architect Sybold van Ravesteyn, replaced by the Hoog-Catharijne shopping center.


Cemeteries / crematoriums

In terms of modern cemeteries / crematoria, the Soestbergen Cemetery was built in the first half of the 19th century. Sint Barbara Cemetery was designed around 1870 by Alfred Tepe and includes various graves of Roman Catholic archbishops. Kovelswade dates back to the early 20th century. Tolsteeg cemetery was built in 1931 to a design by Krijn Perk Vlaanderen, landscaper and park master of the municipality of Utrecht; there is an auditorium designed by architect Gosse van der Gaast in the style of the New Objectivity. Cemetery / crematorium Daelwijck from around 1967 has an auditorium designed by architect H. Dam.



Jewish monument with 1239 names of Jewish people from Utrecht.



To the west of the center is the station with the attached shopping and office complex Hoog Catharijne, which has been controversial since its existence, both for its architecture and the deterioration that occurred, making it a sanctuary for drug users. However, since the beginning of 2000 a lot of time and money has been spent to improve this living environment. In 2006 they won a Dutch and European prize for this. A major overhaul of the entire station area started in 2008 (see CU2030). For example, the canal around Utrecht will be restored and Vredenburg will be radically renovated. There will also be a small harbor on the Smakkelaarsveld that will reconnect the canal with the Leidse Rijn.

Since the early 1980s, Woonboulevard Utrecht has been located on the south side of the city, an area where 63 shops are located.



There are various markets in Utrecht such as:
Breedstraat on Saturday morning from 8:00 am - 1:00 pm (the 'cloth market')
Jacobskerkhof on Saturday from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Janskerkhof on Saturday from 7:00 am - 5:00 pm (the flower market)
Plantage on Wednesday morning from 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Oudegracht / Bakkerbrug on Saturday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Smaragdplein/ Emerald Square on Tuesdays from 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Van Starkenborghhof on Friday from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Vredenburg on Wednesday from 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM, Friday from 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM and Saturday from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM



Museums and public art

Museum for the Grocery Company
Central Museum
BAK, basis for contemporary art
Center for Visual Arts Utrecht
Museum Catharijneconvent
Museum Play Clock
The Railway Museum
Observatory Sonnenborgh
University Museum
miffy museum
Dutch Volksbuurtmuseum
Museum Hoge Woerd
Museum of Columns

In addition to the art in the museums, various statues, sculptures and objects have also been placed in the public space in the municipality of Utrecht. See the frames of statues in the Utrecht city center, in Northwest and Overvecht, in East and Northeast, in South and Southwest and in West, Leidsche Rijn and Vleuten-De Meern.


Music and theatre

TivoliVredenburg is a music building on the Vredenburgkade. The building contains many halls and was built on the site of the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg (1978); the Symphony Hall of that building has been preserved.
political cultural center ACU
pop stage EKKO at the Bemuurde Weerd
pop stage Tivoli aan de Helling
Municipal Theatre
Theater De Paardenkathedraal in the stables of the former National Veterinary School.
Theater Het Huis v/h Huis aan de Werf
Theater Frog
Mirliton Theater in Hoog Catharijne, originally cabaret and variety stage
Schiller Theater Place Royale on the Minrebroederstraat
Beatrix Theatre
Kargadoor, cultural, social and political center on the Oudegracht
Theater De Musketon in Lunets
Theater ZIMIHC on the Bouwstraat in Wittevrouwen
dBs, rehearsal rooms and small-scale pop stage, including Club3voor12 evenings
Podium High Woerd



Wolff City on the corner Drift and Voorstraat 89
Louis Hartlooper Complex at Tolsteegbrug 1
Pathé Rembrandt Utrecht at Oudegracht 73
Springhaver Theater B.V. at Springweg 52
Pathé Utrecht Leidsche Rijn at 100 Berlin Square
Kinepolis Jaarbeurs at Jaarbeursboulevard 300



As a student city, Utrecht has a lively nightlife. Many catering establishments are concentrated on the Neude, with cafés such as 't Neutje, De Beurs and wine café Lefebvre, around the Wed and at the Ledig Erf. De Winkel van Sinkel functions as a grand café and night restaurant with club nights and Stairway to Heaven was converted into a rock café by singer Henk Westbroek.

The city also has typical student pubs, such as beer café Belgium on the Oudegracht and the cafés 't Pakhuis and Hofman on Janskerkhof. In addition, various (student) cafés are located on the nearby Nobelstraat. In addition to restaurants, the Janskerkhof also houses the Woolloomooloo disco (abbreviated to the Woo) of the Utrechtsch Studenten Corps. Other dance clubs in the city are BASIS, Poema and TivoliVredenburg.

Many restaurants are located along the Oudegracht and the wharf cellars that are so characteristic there also make it possible to have lower terraces on the wharves. Grand Restaurant Karel V in the former German House was awarded a Michelin star from 2005-2013.

For LGBT people, there are the gay cafés Bodytalk and Kalff on both sides of the Oudegracht. Since the closure of De Roze Wolk in 2006, there is no longer a permanent gay disco, but there are regular parties organized by EnSuite and the gay youth organization PANN.

Prostitution in Utrecht consisted of window prostitution in Hardebollenstraat and on houseboats along Zandpad, but in 2013 the municipality had all these windows closed. In addition, there was an official streetwalking zone on Europalaan until July 1, 2021.


Events and festivals

Festival aan de Werf (theatre festival, May)
Utrecht Early Music Festival (last week of August and first days of September)
Kaboom Animation Film Festival (animation festival (successor to HAFF, March)
Le Guess Who?, music festival focused on indie rock and experimental rock (end of November)
Latin American Film Festival (LAFF), May
Utrecht Marathon (March/April)
Midsummer Canal (June)
Netherlands Film Festival (September/October)
Springdance (dance festival, April)
Utrecht Uitfeest (September) to open the cultural season
Utrecht Literature Festival (quirky SLAU literature festival, October)
Utrecht Museum Night
Holiday fair in the Jaarbeurs Utrecht
Utrecht about Utrecht (cinema and literature festival, June) in the Louis Hartlooper Complex
Summer Darkness (alternative music festival, August)
International Franz Liszt Piano Competition (triennial music competition)
Dutch Theater Sports Tournament (improvisation theatre, March)


Movies in Utrecht

The film Amsterdamned by Dick Maas was partly shot on the Oudegracht.
Vincent Bal's film Minoes was partly shot in Utrecht, in the middle of the Bellamystraat.
The Vismarkt in Utrecht was one of the locations in the films Keetje Tippel and Kruimeltje.
Some locations in Utrecht appear in the film Karakter.
In Phileine says sorry, Phileine's house was located in the Utrecht city center, on the corner of the Servetstraat and the Lichte Gaard. In addition, recordings were made in the Wilhelmina Park.
In Het Schnitzelparadijs, all scenes in and around the restaurant were shot in an office building on the A2, next to the Hema headquarters. One scene takes place on the roof terrace, overlooking the highway.
The film De Pretenders by Jos Stelling was shot in the working-class district of Verdomhoekje in Utrecht.
Some scenes from Black Book by Paul Verhoeven were shot in the Ridderschapstraat. The old garage in this street had been converted into a mortuary for the occasion.
A small part of Mees Kees' films were shot in the Leidsche Rijn district of Utrecht.



The name Utrecht comes from the Latin Ultraiectum and refers to a place where in Roman times the river Rhine could be ford or crossed. The 'U' comes from the Old Dutch word uut, which means 'downstream' - Utrecht must therefore be understood as 'Trecht downstream' and in contrast to the other Trecht, Maastricht. Later Utrecht was referred to as Traiecti Batavorum (or Trai / jecti Batauorum, Trecht (Tricht) van de Bataven), for example as a placeholder in books in Latin that were published in Utrecht.

Because of the Domtoren, the emblem of the city and with 112.32 meters the highest church tower in the Netherlands, the city is also called Domstad. Two other nicknames are Utreg (in the city of Utrecht) and Utka (in the multicultural slang of the Randstad). During Carnival, the city of Utrecht is called Leemput, after Cathrijn van Leemput.


A resident of Utrecht prefers to be called Utrecht rather than Utrecht. This is due to the association by the so-called 'Utrecht sodomy processes': on the Domplein, male homosexuals met each other in the eighteenth century at the ruins of the collapsed nave of the Domkerk (for whom there is a memorial stone between the church and the tower). They were prosecuted by the government and 18 men were sentenced to death. This made Utrecht a swear word for homosexual. Shortly after the Second World War, one of the Utrecht newspapers of that time, the Utrechts Nieuwsblad, decided to ban the word Utrecht.

Inhabitants of the city are also referred to as 'receptionists', after the people of Utrecht who, hanging over the counters of the bridges of the Oudegracht, watched the activity in the city and met each other. 'Uitert' is the outdated name in dialect, and occurs as family names 'van Uitert' and 'van Uijtert'.



On and around the current Domplein is the place where the Romans lived around 50 AD. laid the foundations for the city of Utrecht. On the banks of the Rhine they built the castellum Traiectum of wood and earth. This fort was part of the defensive belt along the northern border of the Roman Empire, the so-called limes. Between 50 and 270 AD. the castellum was rebuilt four times. After the departure of the Romans, the Frisians and the Franks fought for the fortress for a long time. The remaining walls lived on as the castle of Trecht.

In 690, the Anglo-Saxon missionary and bishop Willibrord founded a spiritual center with two churches within the largely deserted frontier post of Utrecht, to which a third was later added. From this developed the complex of the Dom Church dedicated to Saint Martin, the Saint Salvator Church and the Chapel of the Holy Cross in between. From the eighth century, with an interruption due to Vikings, a bishop resided in Utrecht, which was therefore the religious center of the Northern Netherlands. From the tenth century, the bishop gained more and more secular power. He then became the most important monarch in the Northern Netherlands, who ruled over the Sticht. In the immediate vicinity of the castle, the thriving commercial district of Stathe arose, where merchants and craftsmen settled. In the eleventh century, the ecclesiastical center was expanded with three new collegiate churches and an abbey, which together formed the Utrecht church cross. That same century, the bishop and the emperor added their palaces to the castle.

On June 2, 1122, Utrecht received city rights confirmed by Emperor Hendrik V. The bishop lost a lot of influence on the city in favor of the brand new townspeople. They were now allowed to wall the city, and in 1122 the construction of the southern Oudegracht also began. The growth of the population is evidenced, among other things, by the fact that three new parishes were split off from the oldest parish, that of the Buurkerk. The city's administration initially consisted of sheriff and aldermen, but a council was formed as early as 1196, which is one of the oldest north of the Alps.

From the twelfth century, the power of neighboring princes increased, while that of the bishop of Utrecht declined. Throughout the Middle Ages, Holland and Guelders in particular tried to annex parts of the Sticht. Two dominant parties arose within the city, one of which was pro-Holland and the other pro-Gelre. For centuries, these parties have fought each other with fire and sword. Repeatedly one can safely speak of civil war within the city walls.

Despite this struggle and despite the increasing competition from the Dutch cities from the thirteenth century, Utrecht remained the largest and most prosperous city and the most important cultural center in the Northern Netherlands. The wealthy built large stone houses along the Oudegracht, especially after the use of brick became common around the middle of the thirteenth century. The characteristic wharves and wharf cellars were created along the canal itself. Numerous monasteries settled in the city. In 1253, among others, a major city fire took place in Utrecht. The current Gothic Dom Church was then built from 1254 after the example of the great French cathedrals.

In 1304 the guilds successfully seized power, and they would continue to play a major role in the city government until 1528. With the excavation of the Nieuwegracht at the end of the fourteenth century, the street pattern within the city was largely completed and the urban area was largely built up. Remarkable is the large number of guesthouses (shelters for the needy) that arose in this century. A prestige project in the fourteenth century was the construction of the Dom Tower, one of the tallest towers ever built.

The threat from the neighboring states of the Sticht remained great, and residents of the Nedersticht forced the bishop to issue the Stichtse Landbrief in 1375, which enabled them, as States of the Nedersticht, to exercise control over the way in which politics was conducted. The States of Utrecht consisted of representatives of the clergy, the nobility and the cities. Due to its dominant position, Utrecht took a predominant position in the States assemblies. Due to further growth, Utrecht was the largest city in the northern Netherlands until the mid-16th century.

In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Utrecht, with its Utrecht School, also played an important role in Dutch painting. Well-known painters were the Renaissance painter Jan van Scorel, the "mannerists" Joachim Wtewael, Abraham Bloemaert and Paulus Moreelse, the "Utrecht Caravaggists" Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerard van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen, the "Italians" Cornelis van Poelenburch, Jan Both and Jan Baptist Weenix.

From the beginning of the 19th century, utilities in a broad sense were built and expanded, which greatly improved the situation for the city. The first urban expansion took place in the second half of the 19th century. Before and - especially - after the Second World War, Utrecht would expand on a large scale. Around 1925 a large part of the population was employed in industry. The metal industry in particular, with companies such as Demka, Werkspoor and Jaffa, was a major employer. After the Second World War, Utrecht increasingly became a service and knowledge centre.



Utrecht is centrally located in the Netherlands and in the province of Utrecht. The city originated on a curvature of the Rhine, when the main arm of the river that followed the course of the current Kromme Rijn and Oude Rijn. A Roman castellum was located on the site of the current Domplein. Today, a modest Kromme Rijn flows into Utrecht in the east to leave the city canals like Vecht (north) and Leidse Rijn (west). West of the city is the wide Amsterdam-Rhine Canal, to the south is the Vaartsche Rijn, a much older canal.

To the west of the city, 'across the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal', lies the suburban expansion project Leidsche Rijn, the largest Vinex location and new-build project in the Netherlands. A series of new housing estates will house approximately 90,000 residents upon completion. North, south and east of the city are some suburbs and commuter and satellite cities. The metropolitan agglomeration coincides with the BRU (Management Region Utrecht).


Administrative division

In 2019, the municipality has slightly more than 350,000 inhabitants and has an area of ​​99 km² (of which only a very small part is water).

The former municipality of Vleuten-De Meern has been part of the municipality of Utrecht since 1 January 2001. On that date, part of the municipality of Nieuwegein, namely the polder area of ​​Rijnenburg, was also added to the municipality of Utrecht. After the annexation, the newly elected municipal council decided not to alter the existing division into places of residence, namely De Meern, Haarzuilens, Utrecht and Vleuten. However, it was decided to slightly shift the boundaries between Utrecht and De Meern and between Utrecht and Vleuten. This was related to the desired district layout of some new-build neighborhoods.

Before the annexation, the city of Utrecht consisted of eight districts, namely Inner City, West, Northwest, Overvecht, Northeast, East, South and Southwest. The annexation added two, namely Leidsche Rijn and Vleuten-De Meern. The annexed area of ​​the municipality of Nieuwegein was assigned to the Vleuten-De Meern district, but to the residence of Utrecht. Due to the reclassification of 2001, the original intention was to delete the residences Vleuten, De Meern and Haarzuilens from the postcode book and replace them with a Utrecht postcode. Due to fierce protest from the population of the former municipality of Vleuten-De Meern, this plan was not implemented.


Regional classification

Utrecht is represented in at least twenty regional collaborations, each of which has a different composition.


Zamenhofdreef on Thursday morning from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM



With approximately 360,000 inhabitants (in 2022), the municipality of Utrecht is the fourth largest municipality in the Netherlands. Including suburbs such as Maarssen, Nieuwegein and Houten, Utrecht has approximately 520,000 inhabitants. Approximately 710,000 people live in the urban area of Utrecht, which also includes the municipalities of Zeist and De Bilt. The city is part of the G4, a partnership of the four largest cities, which also includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Utrecht is growing very fast (see Population Development Table). At the beginning of 2009, the city passed the limit of 300,000 inhabitants and in 2018 that of 350,000 inhabitants. The forecast for 2022 is 370,000 and if the rapid growth continues, the milestone of 400,000 could be reached around 2025.


Population composition

Utrecht is a multicultural city; the percentage of residents with a migration background is roughly one third and is likely to remain stable in the coming decades. This amounts to approximately 100,000 inhabitants of which at least 1 parent or grandparent was not born in the Netherlands.

Utrecht is a city with many young people and relatively few elderly people. More than 64,000 students live in Utrecht; there are a number of universities, colleges and ROCs, of which Utrecht University and Hogeschool Utrecht are the most numerous. The nightlife is largely geared to this.

Especially neighborhoods such as Voordorp, Wittevrouwen and neighborhoods of the Leidsche Rijn district are rich in children. Parts of Overvecht-Zuid, among others, on the other hand, house many elderly people. Nevertheless, due to the urban expansion, it is expected that the city will certainly rejuvenate until 2011. While aging is already taking place in many other cities, Utrecht will not experience this phenomenon for the time being. Partly due to strong economic growth in the BRU and also the construction of the Leidsche Rijn districts and large parts of Vleuten-De Meern, the share of low incomes, as well as unemployment, has been falling percentage-wise for several years now, and Utrecht is starting to deviate from this. the other major cities.


Population development

The following table shows the population development of Utrecht. Until the mid-sixteenth century, Utrecht was the largest city in the northern Netherlands. From that time until about 1825, the population fluctuated around 30,000. Utrecht therefore did not benefit from the flourishing of the Golden Age, as the cities in Holland and Zeeland did, but also did not experience the decline experienced by some of those cities in the eighteenth century. Around 1550 Utrecht was overtaken in terms of population by Amsterdam, around 1600 by Haarlem and Leiden, around 1650 by Rotterdam and around 1700 by The Hague. With Middelburg, Utrecht was now the sixth largest city in the Netherlands. Around 1750 Haarlem fell below Utrecht again, around 1800 Leiden did. Since then, Utrecht has been the fourth largest city in the Netherlands.

From about 1825 a long period of population growth followed; the number of 100,000 inhabitants was reached in 1899. The growth lasted until 1970, when a rapid decline set in as a result of a housing shortage and suburbanisation, which came to a halt around 1985 thanks to urban renewal. From 2000 the population grew rapidly and the Leidsche Rijn district was built. Area expansions of the municipality of Utrecht in 1954 and 2001 led to a rapid increase in the number of inhabitants. In January 2009, the municipality of Utrecht reached the limit of 300,000 inhabitants.



Stad-Utrechts (Uterechs, Utregs or Uteregs) belongs to the Utrecht-Alblasserwaardse dialects of the Dutch language.

In August 2018, the word 'boy' was chosen as the most Utrecht word. Of the 16,000 voters, 38 percent preferred that word to 'wijffie', 'dakhaos', 'gladiolus' and 'woar'.



Tap water
Water company Vitens extracts part of the mains water for the city of Utrecht from the Utrechtse Heuvelrug source. It is only one of seven springs used by the city. These are: De Meern 1927, Soestse Pracht, Beerschoten, Tull en 't Waal, Groenekan, Utrechtse Heuvelrug and Leidsch Soft. A catering entrepreneur in Utrecht sells tap water in half-litre bottles under the name Eau de Gracht.

Electricity for the city and province of Utrecht was generated in the PEGUS power plant on the Merwede Canal; this plant is now part of the national electricity network.



In 1986, the municipality of Utrecht first introduced a gay and lesbian emancipation policy to promote the social integration of these groups. In the same year, the national Pink Saturday took place in the city for the first time. At that time, the gay movement also protested specifically against Roman Catholic views on homosexuality, for example during the visit of Pope John Paul II in May 1985 and in February and April 1987 against statements by Cardinal Simonis.

In June 1997, the "Pink Spring" was organized on the initiative of the municipality, an event to make homosexuality visible to a wider audience. The closing MidzomerGrachtspektakel grew into the annual Midzomergracht Festival, which in 1998 marked the start of five Pink Spring Days. The Pink Saturday was again the conclusion of this.

In 2005, the European LGBT sporting event EuroGames was held in Utrecht, with more than 2,800 athletes and approximately 25,000 visitors. Utrecht has been one of the Rainbow Cities since 2008 and when Pink Saturday took place in the city for the third time in 2013, the first rainbow zebra crossing in the Netherlands was constructed in the Lange Viestraat. Since 2017, following Amsterdam's example, there has been a boat parade under the name Utrecht Canal Pride.


Traffic and transport

Utrecht Central Station is the most important railway junction in the Netherlands and has direct train connections with all but three other provincial capitals (with the exception of Lelystad, Haarlem and Middelburg). The first railway line was opened in 1843. This was the line to Amsterdam Weesperpoort station. In 1844-1845 the connection with Arnhem followed. In 1855 the connection with Gouda - Rotterdam was established and from 1870 also to The Hague, in 1863 that to Amersfoort and in 1868-1870 the line to Boxtel. The last connection to Hilversum was opened in 1874.

Bus and tram
The city of Utrecht has an extensive Qbuzz bus line network. Buses run from Qbuzz to Maarssen, Vleuten/De Meern and Kockengen. Most buses run every 10 minutes from Monday to Saturday, every 15 minutes in the evening and on Sunday. Utrecht is the first city in the Netherlands to have bi-articulated buses.

Qbuzz provides most regional transport, including the Utrecht express tram, which runs from the central station via Kanaleneiland to Nieuwegein-Zuid/IJsselstein. Since the end of 2019 there is a tram line to De Uithof, the university centre. This replaces the overcrowded bus line 12.
The Utrecht Region Board (BRU) has launched the brand name U-OV for public transport in the Utrecht region.
The bus station near Utrecht Central Station is the largest bus station in the Netherlands.

The municipality of Utrecht is working on the development of a HOV network for fast connections within the conurbation.

A green roof with succulents has been placed on top of 316 bus stops in Utrecht. Solar panels will also be installed at 96 bus stops.

Furthermore, international bus transport is offered by Flixbus.

The city is enclosed on three sides by highways. West of the city is the A2, south the A12 and east the A27. Important traffic junctions are Oudenrijn, Lunetten and Rijnsweerd. A fourth motorway begins just west of the last mentioned traffic junction, the A28 to the north to Amersfoort, Zwolle, Assen and Groningen. North of Utrecht, the ring road is closed by the N230.

These roads together form the Ring Utrecht.

The bicycle is the most commonly used means of transport within the city of Utrecht. According to a study by the Fietsersbond in 2016, even the three busiest cycle paths in the Netherlands are located in Utrecht.


Mayor's referendum in 2007

The Utrecht city council decided on 12 October to organize a mayoral referendum. A confidential committee from the council then selected two candidates, after which the population was allowed to determine by means of a vote who would succeed Annie Brouwer-Korf, who had indicated that she would step down on 1 January 2008. Supporters of the plebiscite were PvdA, GroenLinks and D66 (a total of 25 of the 45 seats). A turnout of at least 30% was the condition for the referendum to be valid. The mayoral referendum took place on October 10, 2007, the people of Utrecht could choose from Aleid Wolfsen and Ralph Pans, both members of the PvdA.

Turnout was only 9.25%, making the referendum invalid. Also, 16.3% voted blank or invalid. Of the valid votes, Aleid Wolfsen received 60.7% (13,014 votes) and Ralph Pans 22.9% (4,914 votes). Utrecht was the seventh municipality where a mayoral referendum was held, the turnout was the lowest until then. On October 11, 2007, the city council decided to nominate Wolfsen to the government. Thirty votes were cast for him in the city council. Pans received two votes and eleven councilors cast a blank vote.



Utrecht occupies an important place within the province in the field of education. Utrecht University (founded in 1636) is the second largest in the Netherlands in terms of size, and is regarded nationally and internationally as one of the better universities. The Domstad has three colleges; all higher education institutions together can accommodate approximately 65,000 students. There are also twenty secondary schools in Utrecht (depending on the definition) and more than 80 primary schools.



Football club FC Utrecht won the KNVB Cup three times and plays in the premier league, from which it has never been relegated. The club plays its home games in Stadium Galgenwaard. FC Utrecht was created in 1970 from a merger of three Utrecht football clubs: DOS, USV Elinkwijk and Velox. The first two still exist as amateur clubs. DOS is the only club from Utrecht that ever became champion of the Netherlands, in 1958. Before the war, Hercules, which was founded in 1882, was also the third football club in the Netherlands. Hercules contributed to the spread of football. Elinkwijk became champion of the Netherlands in the Sunday amateurs in 1974.

There are more sports clubs in the city. At UVV, the first baseball men's team plays in the Baseball Hoofdklasse, the highest baseball division in the Netherlands. The first softball women's team plays in the Softball major league (women), the highest softball division in the Netherlands. Kampong plays in both the men's and women's majors. The teams have been Dutch champions several times and have also won the European Cup I and II. In 1998, the World Hockey Championships for men and women were held simultaneously in Utrecht, the first doubles tournament in hockey history. In chess, Chess Club Utrecht plays in the Master Class, the highest competition in the Netherlands. The ladies of Uball Amazone play basketball at the premier league level. In addition, lacrosse is played at a high level in Utrecht: at the Domstad Devils, both men and women play in the highest league, the highest league in the Netherlands. In recent years, both teams have competed in the playoffs for the championship. The ladies of the Domstad Devils became national lacrosse champions in 2011. wrestling association U.K.V. (Utrechtse Krachtsport Vereniging) De Halter competes in the top class of the Netherlands together with Olympia, also from Utrecht.

Since 1978, the Utrecht Marathon has been organized annually by the city and Leidsche Rijn. The Singelloop Utrecht is also held annually, the oldest athletics road race in the Netherlands. Other events, including skating competitions and darts, regularly take place in the Vechtsebanen.

Every Friday evening from the beginning of May to the end of September, Stichting Utrecht Skateparade organizes a skating tour for inline skaters and rollerbladers of about 23 kilometers through Utrecht. In Skatepark Utrecht there is an indoor facility for skateboarding.



Utrecht is the only city that has hosted the three Grand Tours in cycling. The second stage of the 2010 Tour of Italy (Giro d'Italia) went from Amsterdam to Utrecht. The Tour de France 2015 (Tour de France) started in Utrecht. 800,000 people were present at the start of the tour and the costs amounted to around 15 million euros.

The 2022 Tour of Spain (Vuelta) started on Friday, August 19, 2022 in Utrecht with a team time trial. On Saturday, August 20, 2022, Utrecht was also the finishing place of the second stage (starting place was 's-Hertogenbosch) of the Tour of Spain 2022. The initial total budgeted costs for the start of the Tour of Spain in the Netherlands amounted to € 14.3 million, of which the municipality of Utrecht paid € 2.1 million and the province of Utrecht € 2.1 million. The rest was contributed by private parties (€ 4.8 million), a subsidy from the Ministry of VWS (€ 2.5 million) and other public bodies such as the municipality of Breda € 0.95 million, the province of North Brabant € 0.95 million and the municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch € 0.3 million. Initially, the Tour of Spain 2020 was supposed to start on August 14, 2020 in Utrecht, but this had to be canceled due to the corona pandemic. Later that year, the round started in Spain. In 2022, the start of the Tour of Spain finally took place in the Netherlands, however, the organizational costs had risen. As a result, the municipality of Utrecht and the province of Utrecht each made an additional amount of € 250,000 available, bringing the total contribution from both the municipality and the province to € 2.35 million.