Utrecht is a city and municipality in the Netherlands and the capital of the province of Utrecht. Also, the city in the year 1808 briefly the capital of the Kingdom of Holland (1806-1810). Utrecht is the fourth city of the Netherlands population and is home to 316,448 people (1 February 2012 Source: CBS). The city district of Utrecht, the agglomeration which coincides with the BRU, includes more than 640,000 inhabitants. The municipality of Utrecht coincides with the city.
The city is located in the Randstad and is centrally located on a junction of roads, railways and waterways, making it a leading exhibition and conference city and thefastest growing economic center - especially in the service - both Randstad and the Netherlands.
Utrecht was one of the first cities in the Netherlands with the current city charter and has a long history and an important historical center. Characteristic of the city includethe yards and the Cathedral of Utrecht (in the 112 meter high Dom Tower) which gave the city the nickname derives Domstad.
The city has three universities, the largest Utrecht University. This university is the second largest in the Netherlands. In addition there are three major colleges, theheadquarters of the Dutch Railways, ProRail, Rabobank Netherlands and the Jaarbeurs Utrecht established. Utrecht is also the seat of the Roman CatholicArchbishop of the Netherlands (see Archdiocese of Utrecht) and the Old CatholicArchbishop. There is also the national organizer of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) is located.
The name Utrecht comes from the Latin Utrecht Traiectum and indicates a place in Roman times the Rhine river was fordable or to stabbing. The ’U’ comes from the Old Dutchword uut that ’downstream’ means - Utrecht must therefore be understood as “from-trecht ’.
Because of the Dom Tower, symbol of the city with a tower with 112.32 meters the highest church tower in the Netherlands, the city also known as Cathedral City. Two other nicknames are Utereg (in the City-Utrecht) and Utka (in the multicultural slangof the Randstad). During Carnival called the city of Utrecht Leemput.
Around the current Cathedral Square is the place where the Romans around 50 AD. created the basis 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 along the northern border of the Roman Empire, called limes.Between 50 and 270 AD. castellum was rebuilt four times. After the departure of the Romans fought the Frisians and the Franks long time to the fortress. The remaining walls lived on the castle trecht.
In 690 and founded the Anglo-Saxon missionary Willibrord bishop in the largely deserted border post Utrecht a spiritual center with two churches, where later a third was added. It developed the complex of the cathedral dedicated to Saint Martin, St. Saviour’s Church and located between the Holy Cross Chapel. From the eighth century, with an interruption due Vikings, was the seat of a bishop in Utrecht, undermining the religious center of the Northern Netherlands was. From the tenth century the bishop increasingly secular power. He was then the major frost in the northern Netherlands, who ruled over the diocese. In the immediate vicinity of the castle was the thriving commercial district Stathe where merchants and craftsmen settled. In the eleventh century, the ecclesiastical center, three new collegiate churches and a monastery, which together formed the Utrecht church cross. Same century, added the bishop and the emperor their palaces to the castle.
The bishop thus lost much influence on the city in favor of the brand new city dwellers. This allowed the city now omwallen, and in 1122 also began the construction of the piece Oudegracht between Ledig Erf and Gaard Bridge. Utrecht became the only city of significance in the Northern Netherlands. The growth of the population is evident from the fact that three new parishes were split off from the oldest parish, that of the Buurkerk. The board of the city initially consisted of sheriffs and aldermen, but already in 1196 a council was formed, which is the oldest north of the Alps.
From the twelfth century the power of larger neighboring princes, while that of the bishop of Utrecht declined. Throughout the Middle Ages, especially Holland and Gelderland parts of the diocese tried to annex. Within the city emerged two dominant parties with a pro-Holland, and the other pro-Guelders. For centuries, these parties together with fire and sword fought. Repeatedly can safely speak of civil war within the city walls.
Despite this struggle, and despite increasing competition from the Dutch cities from the thirteenth century, Utrecht was the largest and most prosperous city and the main cultural center in the Northern Netherlands. The wealthy built large stone houses along the Old Canal, especially after the middle of the thirteenth century the use of brick was generally. Along the canal itself formed the characteristic yards and wharfs. Numerous monasteries settled in the city. In 1253, inter alia, held in Utrecht, a city fire-place. The present Gothic cathedral was then built from 1254 to preview the great French cathedrals.
In 1304, the guilds did a successful power grab, and they would to 1528 a large role in the city continue to play. With the excavation of the New Canal late fourteenth century, the pattern of streets within the city largely completed and the city area became largely built up. Striking is the large number of guest houses (shelters for the needy) in this century. The most prestigious of the fourteenth century was the construction of the colossal Dom Tower, one of the largest towers that until then had been built.
The threat of the neighboring states of the Sticht remained high, and residents of the Nedersticht forced the bishop in 1375 the Land Stichtse Letter to be issued, identifying them as States of the Nedersticht could exert control on the way politics was practiced. States consisted of representatives of the clergy, the nobility and the cities. Utrecht took his dominant position in a dominant position in the States Assemblies. Further growth was Utrecht until the mid 16th century the largest city in the northern Netherlands.
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries played with Utrecht, Utrecht School also has an important role in Dutch painting. Famous painters were the Renaissance painter Jan van Scorel, the “mannerists” Joachim Wtewael, Abraham Bloemaert and Paul Moreelse, the “Utrecht Caravaggists” Hendrick ter Brugghen, Gerard van Honthorst and Dirck van Baburen, the “Italianate” Cornelis van Poelenburch, Jan Both and Jan Baptist Weenix.
From the late Middle Ages to the early 19th century the city experienced several periods of collisions and shifts between and within various powers, including through the Reformation, guilds and occupations by Spanish and French. During this period, Utrecht University was founded.
From the beginning of the 19th century, in the broad sense, utilities built and expanded, what the situation for the city improved. In the second half of the 19th century, the first city expansion took place. For, particularly after the Second World War Utrecht extend this scale.