Utrecht is a province of the Netherlands. It is located in the centre of the country, bordering the Eemmeer in the north-east, the province of Gelderland in the east and south-east, the province of South Holland in the west and south-west and the province of North Holland in the north-west and north. With an area of 1,400 square kilometres, it is the smallest of the twelve Dutch provinces. Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist. In the International Organization for Standardization world region code system Utrecht makes up one region with code ISO 3166-2:NL-UT; the Bishopric of Utrecht was established in 695 when Saint Willibrord was consecrated bishop of the Frisians at Rome by Pope Sergius I. With the consent of the Frankish ruler, Pippin of Herstal, he settled in an old Roman fort in Utrecht. After Willibrord's death the diocese suffered from the incursions of the Vikings. Better times appeared during the reign of the Saxon emperors, who summoned the Bishops of Utrecht to attend the imperial councils and diets.
In 1024 the bishops were made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire and the new Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht was formed. In 1122, with the Concordat of Worms, the Emperor's right of investiture was annulled, the cathedral chapter received the right to elect the bishop, it was, soon obligated to share this right with the four other collegiate chapters in the city. The Counts of Holland and Guelders, between whose territories the lands of the Bishops of Utrecht lay sought to acquire influence over the filling of the episcopal see; this led to disputes and the Holy See interfered in the election. After the middle of the 14th century the popes appointed the bishop directly without regard to the five chapters. During the Hook and Cod Wars, Utrecht was fought over by forces of the Duke of Burgundy leading to the First Utrecht Civil War and Second Utrecht Civil War. In 1527, the Bishop sold his territories, thus his secular authority, to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the principality became an integral part of the Habsburg dominions, which included most other Dutch provinces.
The chapters transferred their right of electing the bishop to Charles V and his government, a measure to which Pope Clement VII gave his consent, under political pressure after the Sack of Rome. However, the Habsburg rule did not last long, as Utrecht joined in the Dutch Revolt against Charles' successor Philip II in 1579, becoming a part of the Dutch Republic. In World War II, Utrecht was held by German forces until the general capitulation of the Germans in the Netherlands on May 5, 1945, it was occupied by Canadian Allied forces on May 7, 1945. The towns of Oudewater, Woerden and Leerdam were transferred from the province of South Holland to Utrecht in 1970, 1989, 2002 and 2019 respectively. In February 2011, together with the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland, showed a desire to investigate the feasibility of a merger between the three provinces; this has been positively received by the Dutch cabinet, for the desire to create one Randstad province has been mentioned in the coalition agreement.
The province of South Holland, part of the Randstad urban area, visioned to be part of the Randstad province, much supportive of the idea of a merger into one province, is not named. With or without South Holland, if created, the new province would be the largest in the Netherlands in both area and population. In the east of Utrecht lies the Utrecht Hill Ridge, a chain of hills left as lateral moraine by tongues of glacial ice after the Saline glaciation that preceded the last ice age; because of the scarcity of nutrients in the fast-draining sandy soil, the greatest part of a landscape, heath has been planted with pine plantations. The south of the province is a river landscape; the west consists of meadows. In the north are big lakes formed by the digging of peat from bogs formed after the last ice age. One of the most attractive natural areas in the province is the Vechtstreek, situated on either side of the Vecht river. An international nature conservation organisation that has settled the head office of its Netherlands branch in this province is the WWF.
"Natuur en Milieu" is a national nature protection organisation whose head office is in this province. The Province of Utrecht is divided into 26 municipalities. Pope Adrian VI, the only Dutch pope; the chemist and meteorologist C. H. D. Buys Ballot. Artists Piet Mondrian, Gerrit Rietveld and Theo van Doesburg. Publisher Anton Hart specializing in healthcare issues Website of the Province Utrecht Foreign Investment Office Visit Utrecht Region - Tourist Information Utrecht travel guide from Wikivoyage
A2 motorway (Netherlands)
The A2 motorway is a motorway in the Netherlands. It is one of the busiest highways in the Netherlands; the road connects the city of Amsterdam, near the Amstel interchange with the Belgian border, near Maastricht and Liège, the Belgian A25 road. The route of the A2 motorway is shared with two major European routes. Between its start, at Amstel Interchange, near Amsterdam, the Interchange Oudenrijn, near Utrecht, European route E35 follows the A2 motorway. From the Oudenrijn Interchange towards the Belgian border just south of Maastricht, European route E25 follows the route of the A2. Local and express lanes on A2 have different speed limits; the speed limit on express lanes is 120 km/h and locals is 100 km/h. In the past, the motorway A2 was interrupted near Maastricht; this section was referred to as N2, to make a distinction between the non-motorway. Until the motorway A2 was interrupted between the interchanges Kruisdonk and Europaplein through Maastricht; this road section was built as a highway with several at-grade intersections with traffic lights.
In December 2016 the Koning Willem-Alexandertunnel was opened traffic, a 4-lane tunnel built in two layers, which put an end to this situation. The beltway around the city of Eindhoven, the so-called Randweg between the interchanges Ekkersweijer and Leenderheide, uses a system of local-express lanes; the inner two lanes do not have any exits, so it is for express traffic passing the city of Eindhoven. The outer two lanes are used by vehicles to and from the neighbouring towns, it does not meet the Dutch standards of a motorway, has a maximum speed of 80 km/h. These outer lanes have road number N2; the A2 motorway was subject to multiple reconstruction projects. Next to the project around Eindhoven, as described above, the A2 was being rebuilt at the following locations: Between interchanges Holendrecht and Oudenrijn, the road has been widened from six to ten lanes, it has enough space to expand the road to fourteen lanes. Near the city of Utrecht, a system of local-express lanes has been applied, with the inner three lanes serving express traffic, the outer two lanes serving local traffic.
Unlike the situation near Eindhoven, the motorway status is maintained for local lanes, which means that all ten lanes will keep the name A2. Between interchanges Oudenrijn and Everdingen, the A2 was expanded to 2x4 lanes. Between interchanges Everdingen and Deil, the road is widened from four to eight lanes; the A2 around the city of's-Hertogenbosch was rebuilt to the future situation near Utrecht. However, there are only just four express lanes, instead of the six near Utrecht, so the road has 4x2 lanes. Since both the's-Hertogenbosch and Eindhoven beltways were finished in 2009, a new bottleneck appeared between both cities; the motorway has only 2x2 lanes. Construction of expanding this section to 2x3 lanes started on December 13, 2011. A tunnel underneath the city of Maastricht has been constructed, to eliminate at-grade intersections, it has both local and express lanes
The Netherlands is a country located in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. The six largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Tilburg. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General and Supreme Court; the Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union.
It hosts several intergovernmental organisations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, dubbed'the world's legal capital'. Netherlands means'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 1 metre above sea level, nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.30 million people, all living within a total area of 41,500 square kilometres —of which the land area is 33,700 square kilometres —the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products, owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, intensive agriculture; the Netherlands was the third country in the world to have representative government, it has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848.
The country has a tradition of pillarisation and a long record of social tolerance, having legalised abortion and human euthanasia, along with maintaining a progressive drug policy. The Netherlands abolished the death penalty in 1870, allowed women's suffrage in 1917, became the world's first country to legalise same-sex marriage in 2001, its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, quality of life, as well as happiness; the Netherlands' turbulent history and shifts of power resulted in exceptionally many and varying names in different languages. There is diversity within languages; this holds for English, where Dutch is the adjective form and the misnomer Holland a synonym for the country "Netherlands". Dutch comes from Theodiscus and in the past centuries, the hub of Dutch culture is found in its most populous region, home to the capital city of Amsterdam.
Referring to the Netherlands as Holland in the English language is similar to calling the United Kingdom "Britain" by people outside the UK. The term is so pervasive among potential investors and tourists, that the Dutch government's international websites for tourism and trade are "holland.com" and "hollandtradeandinvest.com". The region of Holland consists of North and South Holland, two of the nation's twelve provinces a single province, earlier still, the County of Holland, a remnant of the dissolved Frisian Kingdom. Following the decline of the Duchy of Brabant and the County of Flanders, Holland became the most economically and politically important county in the Low Countries region; the emphasis on Holland during the formation of the Dutch Republic, the Eighty Years' War and the Anglo-Dutch Wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th century, made Holland serve as a pars pro toto for the entire country, now considered either incorrect, informal, or, depending on context, opprobrious. Nonetheless, Holland is used in reference to the Netherlands national football team.
The region called the Low Countries and the Country of the Netherlands. Place names with Neder, Nieder and Nedre and Bas or Inferior are in use in places all over Europe, they are sometimes used in a deictic relation to a higher ground that consecutively is indicated as Upper, Oben, Superior or Haut. In the case of the Low Countries / Netherlands the geographical location of the lower region has been more or less downstream and near the sea; the geographical location of the upper region, changed tremendously over time, depending on the location of the economic and military power governing the Low Countries area. The Romans made a distinction between the Roman provinces of downstream Germania Inferior and upstream Germania Superior; the designation'Low' to refer to the region returns again in the 10th century Duchy of Lower Lorraine, that covered much of the Low Countries. But this time the corresponding Upper region is Upper Lorraine, in nowadays Northern France; the Dukes of Burgundy, who ruled the Low Countries in the 15th century, used the term les pays de par deçà for the Low Countries as opposed to les pays de par delà for their original
Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, in the centre of mainland Netherlands, had a population of 345,080 in 2017. Utrecht's ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the High Middle Ages, it has been the religious centre of the Netherlands since the 8th century. It remains the main religious centre in the country. Utrecht was the most important city in the Netherlands until the Dutch Golden Age, when it was surpassed by Amsterdam as the country's cultural centre and most populous city. Utrecht is host to Utrecht University, the largest university in the Netherlands, as well as several other institutions of higher education. Due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport, it has the second highest number of cultural events after Amsterdam.
In 2012, Lonely Planet included Utrecht in the top 10 of the world's unsung places. Although there is some evidence of earlier inhabitation in the region of Utrecht, dating back to the Stone Age and settling in the Bronze Age, the founding date of the city is related to the construction of a Roman fortification built in around 50 CE. A series of such fortresses was built after the Roman emperor Claudius decided the empire should not expand north. To consolidate the border, the Limes Germanicus defense line was constructed along the main branch of the river Rhine, which at that time flowed through a more northern bed compared to today; these fortresses were designed to house a cohort of about 500 Roman soldiers. Near the fort, settlements would grow housing artisans and soldiers' wives and children. In Roman times, the name of the Utrecht fortress was Traiectum, denoting its location at a possible Rhine crossing. Traiectum became Dutch Trecht. In 11th-century official documents, it was Latinized as Ultra Traiectum.
Around the year 200, the wooden walls of the fortification were replaced by sturdier tuff stone walls, remnants of which are still to be found below the buildings around Dom Square. From the middle of the 3rd century, Germanic tribes invaded the Roman territories. Around 275 the Romans could no longer maintain the northern border and Utrecht was abandoned. Little is known about the next period 270–650. Utrecht is first spoken of again several centuries. Under the influence of the growing realms of the Franks, during Dagobert I's reign in the 7th century, a church was built within the walls of the Roman fortress. In ongoing border conflicts with the Frisians, this first church was destroyed. By the mid-7th century and Irish missionaries set out to convert the Frisians. Pope Sergius I appointed Saint Willibrordus, as bishop of the Frisians; the tenure of Willibrordus is considered to be the beginning of the Bishopric of Utrecht. In 723, the Frankish leader Charles Martel bestowed the fortress in Utrecht and the surrounding lands as the base of the bishops.
From on Utrecht became one of the most influential seats of power for the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands. The archbishops of Utrecht were based at the uneasy northern border of the Carolingian Empire. In addition, the city of Utrecht had competition from the nearby trading centre Dorestad. After the fall of Dorestad around 850, Utrecht became one of the most important cities in the Netherlands; the importance of Utrecht as a centre of Christianity is illustrated by the election of the Utrecht-born Adriaan Florenszoon Boeyens as pope in 1522. When the Frankish rulers established the system of feudalism, the Bishops of Utrecht came to exercise worldly power as prince-bishops; the territory of the bishopric not only included the modern province of Utrecht, but extended to the northeast. The feudal conflict of the Middle Ages affected Utrecht; the prince-bishopric was involved in continuous conflicts with the Counts of Holland and the Dukes of Guelders. The Veluwe region was seized by Guelders, but large areas in the modern province of Overijssel remained as the Oversticht.
Several churches and monasteries were built inside, or close to, the city of Utrecht. The most dominant of these was the Cathedral of Saint Martin, inside the old Roman fortress; the construction of the present Gothic building was begun in 1254 after an earlier romanesque construction had been badly damaged by fire. The choir and transept were finished from 1320 and were followed by the ambitious Dom tower; the last part to be constructed was the central nave, from 1420. By that time, the age of the great cathedrals had come to an end and declining finances prevented the ambitious project from being finished, the construction of the central nave being suspended before the planned flying buttresses could be finished. Besides the cathedral there were four collegiate churches in Utrecht: St. Salvator's Church, on the Dom square, dating back to the early 8th century. Saint John, originating in 1040. Besides these churches, the city housed St. Paul's Abbey, the 15th-century beguinage of St. Nicholas, a 14th-century chapter house of the Teutonic Knights.