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(yo͞o`trĕkt, Du. ü`trĕkht), province (1994 pop. 1,056,000), c.500 sq mi (1,290 sq km), central Netherlands. UtrechtUtrecht,
city (1994 pop. 234,106), capital of Utrecht prov., central Netherlands, on a branch of the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) River. It is a transportation, financial, and industrial center. Manufactures include machinery, cement, and food products.
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 (the capital) and AmersfoortAmersfoort
, city (1994 pop. 110,117), Utrecht prov., central Netherlands. It is a transportation and manufacturing center. Points of interest include a 14th-century water gate, the 15th-century Gate of Our Lady, and the old town, which has medieval houses.
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 are the chief cities. It largely comprises low-lying land and is drained by the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) River. The province has a mixed economy, with prosperous farms and diverse industries.


city (1994 pop. 234,106), capital of Utrecht prov., central Netherlands, on a branch of the Lower Rhine (Neder Rijn) River. It is a transportation, financial, and industrial center. Manufactures include machinery, cement, and food products. It is also the site of a major trade fair.

Utrecht was founded by the Romans as Trajectum ad Rhenum [Lat.,=ford of the Rhine]. In the late 7th cent. it was made an episcopal center for St. Willibrord, the Apostle to the Frisians. The bishops of Utrecht, as princes of the Holy Roman Empire, later ruled the area around the city and the lordship (now province) of Overijssel. There was a recurring power struggle between the bishops and the city's merchants. Utrecht received a liberal charter in 1122, but its difficulties with the bishops continued sporadically until 1527, when the bishop was forced to transfer his territorial rights to Emperor Charles V.

One of the most important commercial centers of the Netherlands in the Middle Ages, Utrecht was incorporated with the rest of the Hapsburg-held Netherlands by Charles V. Utrecht joined (1577) in the rebellion against Philip II of Spain, and on Jan. 23, 1579, the seven provinces of the N NetherlandsNetherlands
, Du. Nederland or Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, officially Kingdom of the Netherlands, constitutional monarchy (2015 est. pop. 16,938,000), 15,963 sq mi (41,344 sq km), NW Europe.
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, from then on known as the United Provinces, the nucleus of the Dutch republic, drew together for their common defense in the Union of Utrecht. In the 17th cent., Utrecht became a center of Jansenism (see under Jansen, CornelisJansen, Cornelis
, 1585–1638, Dutch Roman Catholic theologian. He studied at the Univ. of Louvain and became imbued with the idea of reforming Christian life along the lines of a return to St. Augustine.
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). In 1713 several treaties forming part of the Peace of Utrecht were signed there.

The old inner city is picturesque, crossed by numerous sunken canals. Utrecht is the site of a 14th-century cathedral and a famous university (founded 1636) with a quaint old campus and vibrant new one. It also is the center of the Roman Catholic authority of the Netherlands.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a province in the central part of The Netherlands, in the basin of the Lower Rhine and its tributaries, the Lek and Vecht. Population, 857,700 (1975). Utrecht Province covers an area of 1,300 sq km, which makes it the smallest province in the country. Its capital is the city of Utrecht. The main branches of agriculture are the cultivation of vegetables and fruit and the raising of dairy cattle. Industry is concentrated primarily in the cities of Utrecht, Amersfoort, and Zeist. The historical province of Utrecht was formerly a part of the Union of Utrecht (1579).



a city and port in The Netherlands, situated at the fork formed by the Merwede Canal and two branches of the Rijn (Rhine)—the Oude Rijn and the Vecht. Capital of Utrecht Province. Population, 256,000 (1975; including entire conurbation, 462,000). Utrecht is a large trade and transportation center. Industrial enterprises produce metals, machines (including engines), chemicals, textiles, and ready-made clothing. International trade fairs are held in Utrecht. The city is the site of a university (founded 1636).

Utrecht was originally a Batavian settlement. It was called Trajectum ad Rhenum by the Romans, who had earlier built the fortress of Albiobola on the site of the settlement circa A.D. 47. In the eighth century it became a bishop’s see. It was the capital of an important principality and a leading religious center, and in the 11th and 12th centuries it was the most important trade and handicraft center of the northern Netherlands, producing woolen and linen fabrics. The city was the residence of Louis Bonaparte during his reign as king of Holland from 1807 to 1810 and was part of the French department of Zuider Zee from 1810 to 1813. From 1940 to May 1945 it was occupied by fascist German troops.

Utrecht, the layout of which is regular in the south and less so in the north, is elevated high above the water level on double embankments. The city’s architecture includes remains of 13th- and 16th-century fortifications, a church of Romanesque and Gothic design (llth-16th centuries), the Church of St. Peter (llth-14th centuries), and numerous Gothic churches from the 15th and 16th centuries, including the Church of St. Catherine, a Catholic cathedral. In the 1920’s the architecture of Utrecht shifted to functionalism; notable buildings in this style include numerous works by G. Rietveld, for example, the Schroeder House (1924) and working-class housing projects built in the 1930’s and 1950’s.

The Central Museum of Utrecht comprises the Central Museum, the Archiepiscopal Museum, and the Museum of the Utrecht Province Society of Arts and Sciences.


Oud Utrecht. Utrecht, 1926—.
Struick. J. E. A. L. Utrecht door de eeuwen heen. Utrecht-Antwerp, 1968.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. a province of the W central Netherlands. Capital: Utrecht. Pop.: 1 152 000 (2003 est.). Area: 1362 sq. km (526 sq. miles)
2. a city in the central Netherlands, capital of Utrecht province: scene of the signing (1579) of the Union of Utrecht (the foundation of the later kingdom of the Netherlands) and of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713), ending the War of the Spanish Succession. Pop.: 265 000 (2003 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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Utrecht, a mere 35 kilometres south-east of Amsterdam, has been sitting firmly in its more glamorous neighbour's shadow for centuries.
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Utrecht University has been a vital center of this activity, with a nearly unbroken record of 375 years of missiological involvement.
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