Utrecht (city)

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Utrecht (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈy.trɛxt]  ( listen)) city and municipality is the capital and most populous city of the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern end of the Randstad, and is the fourth largest city of the Netherlands, with a population of 300,030 in 2009.[2]

Utrecht's ancient city-centre features many buildings and structures from the early Middle Ages. It has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the eighth century. Currently it is the see of the Archbishop of Utrecht, the most important Dutch Roman Catholic leader.[3][4] Utrecht is also the see of the archbishop of the Old Catholic church, titular head of the Union of Utrecht (Old Catholic), and the location of the offices of the main Protestant church. Until the golden age, Utrecht was the city of most importance in the northern Netherlands (the present-day country of the Netherlands, excluding Belgium and Luxembourg), until Amsterdam became the cultural and populous centre of the Netherlands.

Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university of the Netherlands, as well as several other institutes for higher education. Due to its central position within the country it is an important transportation hub (rail and road) in the Netherlands. It has the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands, after Amsterdam.[5]

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