Utrecht (province)

Last updated
Utrecht provincie wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Anthem: Langs de Vecht en d'oude Rijnstroom
Utrecht in the Netherlands.svg
Location of Utrecht in the Netherlands
Coordinates: 52°6′12″N5°10′45″E / 52.10333°N 5.17917°E / 52.10333; 5.17917 Coordinates: 52°6′12″N5°10′45″E / 52.10333°N 5.17917°E / 52.10333; 5.17917
Country Netherlands
(and largest city)
   King's Commissioner Hans Oosters (PvdA)
 (2017) [1]
  Total1,560 km2 (600 sq mi)
  Land1,485 km2 (573 sq mi)
  Water75 km2 (29 sq mi)
Area rank 12th
 (1 November 2019) [2]
  Rank 5th
  Density981/km2 (2,540/sq mi)
  Density rank 3rd
ISO 3166 code NL-UT
HDI (2018)0.953 [3]
very high · 1st
Website www.provincie-utrecht.nl
Dom Tower in the city of Utrecht. Vanaf Weerdsluis.JPG
Dom Tower in the city of Utrecht.
Wulperhorst Mansion near Zeist. Wulperhorst.JPG
Wulperhorst Mansion near Zeist.

Utrecht (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈytrɛxt] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )), officially the Province of Utrecht (Dutch: Provincie 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. The province of Utrecht has a population of 1,353,596 [4] as of November 2019. It has a land area of approximately 1,485 square kilometres (573 sq mi). Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Houten, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist. The busiest railway station in the Netherlands, Utrecht Centraal, is located in the province of Utrecht. [5]



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 greatly from the incursions of the Vikings. Better times appeared during the reign of the Saxon emperors, who frequently 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, and the cathedral chapter received the right to elect the bishop. It was, however, 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, also sought to acquire influence over the filling of the episcopal see. This often led to disputes and consequently the Holy See frequently interfered in the election. After the middle of the 14th century the popes repeatedly 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 (1470-1474) and Second Utrecht Civil War (1481-1483).

In 1527, the Bishop sold his territories, and thus his secular authority, to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the principality became an integral part of the Habsburg dominions, which already 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, Vianen and Leerdam were transferred from the province of South Holland to Utrecht in 1970, 1989, 2002 and 2019 respectively. In February 2011, Utrecht, together with the provinces of North Holland and Flevoland, showed a desire to investigate the feasibility of a merger between the three provinces. [6] This has been positively received by the Dutch cabinet, for the desire to create one Randstad province has already been mentioned in the coalition agreement. [7] The province of South Holland, part of the Randstad urban area, visioned to be part of the Randstad province, [8] and very much supportive of the idea of a merger into one province, [9] 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.


Map of the province of Utrecht (2019) Prov-Utrecht-OpenTopo.jpg
Map of the province of Utrecht (2019)

In the east of Utrecht lies the Utrecht Hill Ridge (Dutch: Utrechtse Heuvelrug), 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 that was formerly heath has been planted with pine plantations. The south of the province is a river landscape. The west consists mostly of meadows. In the north are big lakes formed by the digging of peat from bogs formed after the last ice age.


A site in Utrecht's nature reserve, "Blauwe kamer" near Rhenen Blauwe kamer vanaf de Grebbedijk1.jpg
A site in Utrecht's nature reserve, "Blauwe kamer" near Rhenen

One of the most attractive natural areas in the province is the Vechtstreek ("Vecht region"), 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 (at Zeist) is the WWF.

"Natuur en Milieu" ("Nature and Environment") [10] is a national nature protection organisation whose head office is in this province (at Utrecht city).


The Province of Utrecht is divided into 26 municipalities.

Foreign population

Population of the province of Utrecht by country of birth of the parents of citizens (2020) [11]
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Netherlands 1,036,856 (76.53%)
Flag of Morocco.svg Morocco 57,563 (4.24%)
Flag of Indonesia.svg Indonesia 31,934 (2.35%)
Flag of Turkey.svg Turkey 30,783 (2.27%)
Flag of Germany.svg Germany 20,089 (1.48%)
Flag of Suriname.svg Suriname 19,441 (1.43%)
Flag of the Netherlands.svg Dutch Caribbean 9,063 (0.67%)
Flag of Poland.svg Poland 8,006 (0.59%)
Flag of the Soviet Union.svg Soviet Union 6,873 (0.50%)
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg UK 6,864 (0.50%)
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China [lower-alpha 1] 6,276 (0.46%)
Flag of Yugoslavia (1946-1992).svg Yugoslavia 6,201 (0.45%)
Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Belgium 5,759 (0.43%)
Flag of Iraq.svg Iraq 5,145 (0.38%)
Flag of India.svg India 5,071 (0.37%)
Other98,910 (7.30%)


Religion in Utrecht (province) (2015) [12]

  Not religious (54.3%)
   Catholicism (13.2%)
  Other (6.6%)
   Islam (5.6%)


The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 71.5 billion € in 2018, accounting for 9.2% of the Netherlands economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 47,900 € or 159% of the EU27 average in the same year. [13]

Notable residents


  1. Excluding Hong Kong and Macau

Related Research Articles

South Holland Province of the Netherlands

South Holland is a province of the Netherlands with a population of just over 3.7 million as of November 2019 and a population density of about 1,373/km2 (3,560/sq mi), making it the country's most populous province and one of the world's most densely populated areas. Situated on the North Sea in the west of the Netherlands, South Holland covers an area of 3,419 km2 (1,320 sq mi), of which 605 km2 (234 sq mi) is water. It borders North Holland to the north, Utrecht and Gelderland to the east, and North Brabant and Zeeland to the south. The provincial capital is the Dutch seat of government The Hague, while its largest city is Rotterdam. The Rhine-Meuse-Scheldt delta drains through South Holland into the North Sea. Europe's busiest seaport, the Port of Rotterdam, is located in South Holland.

Utrecht City and municipality in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrecht is the fourth-largest city and a municipality of the Netherlands, capital and most populous city of the province of Utrecht. It is located in the eastern corner of the Randstad conurbation, in the very centre of mainland Netherlands; it had a population of 357,179 as of 2019.

Overijssel Province of the Netherlands

Overijssel is a province of the Netherlands located in the eastern part of the country. The province's name translates to "across the IJssel", from the perspective of the Episcopal principality of Utrecht by which it was held until 1528. The capital city of Overijssel is Zwolle and the largest city is Enschede. The province had a population of 1,162,215 as of November 2019.

North Holland Province of the Netherlands

North Holland is a province of the Netherlands in the northwestern part of the country. It is located on the North Sea, north of South Holland and Utrecht, and west of Friesland and Flevoland. In November 2019, it had a population of 2,877,909 and a total area of 4,092 km2 (1,580 sq mi), of which 1,430 km2 (550 sq mi) is water.

Amerongen Place in Utrecht, Netherlands

Amerongen is a village in the central Netherlands on the border of the Utrecht Hill Ridge. It lies about 7 km south west of Veenendaal.

IJsselstein City and Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

IJsselstein is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. IJsselstein received city rights in 1331. IJsselstein owes its name to the river Hollandse IJssel which flows through the city. It is a major commuting suburb for the Utrecht area, along with neighbouring towns Houten and Nieuwegein. It's surrounded by the municipalities of Utrecht, Montfoort, Lopik, Vijfheerenlanden and Nieuwegein.

Leersum Village in Utrecht, Netherlands

Leersum is a town in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is a part of the municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug, and lies about 7 km east of Doorn and 9 km west of Veenendaal.

Maarn Place in Utrecht, Netherlands

Maarn is a town in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is a part of the municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug, and is located about 10 km east of Zeist.

Nieuwegein Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

Nieuwegein is a municipality and city in the Dutch province of Utrecht. It is bordered on the north by the city of Utrecht, the provincial capital. It is separated from Vianen to the south by the river Lek and borders on IJsselstein in the southwest and Houten in the east.

Woerden City and Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

Woerden is a city and a municipality in central Netherlands. Due to its central location between Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, and Utrecht, and the fact that it has rail and road connections to those cities, it is a popular town for commuters who work in those cities.

Zeist Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

Zeist is a municipality and a town in the central Netherlands and is the capital of the municipality Zeist, located east of the city of Utrecht.

Weesp City and municipality in North Holland, Netherlands

Weesp is a city and municipality in the province of North Holland, Netherlands. It had a population of 19,334 in 2019. It lies on the river Vecht and next to the Amsterdam–Rhine Canal in an area called the Vechtstreek. Weesp is part of the Amsterdam metropolitan area even if the city is surrounded by open grassland and lakes.

Randstad Conurbation in Netherlands

The Randstad is a conurbation in the central-western Netherlands consisting primarily of the four largest Dutch cities and their surrounding areas. Among other things, it contains the Port of Rotterdam, the Port of Amsterdam, and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. With a population of approximately 8.4 million people it is one of the largest metropolitan regions in Europe, comparable in population size to the Milan metropolitan area or the San Francisco Bay Area, and covers an area of approximately 8,287 km2 (3,200 sq mi). With a population density of 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi) it also is one of the most important and densely populated economic areas in northwestern Europe. It encompasses both the Amsterdam metropolitan area and Rotterdam–The Hague metropolitan area. It is part of the larger Blue Banana megalopolis.

Utrecht (agglomeration)

The city of Utrecht and the surrounding cities, villages, and townships form an agglomeration in the middle of The Netherlands. It is located entirely in the province of Utrecht, and is the eastern part of so-called North Wing the larger Randstad urban area.

Utrechtse Heuvelrug Municipality in Utrecht, Netherlands

Utrechtse Heuvelrug is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht. It was formed on 1 January 2006 by merging the former municipalities of Amerongen, Doorn, Driebergen-Rijsenburg, Leersum, and Maarn.

Utrecht Centraal railway station

Utrecht Centraal, officially Station Utrecht Centraal, is the transit hub that integrates two bicycle parkings, two bus stations, two tram stops and the central railway station for the city of Utrecht in the province of Utrecht, Netherlands.

Driebergen-Zeist railway station Railway station in the Netherlands

Driebergen-Zeist is a railway station located between Driebergen-Rijsenburg and Zeist, Netherlands. It is located in the municipality of Utrechtse Heuvelrug. The station was opened on 17 June 1844 and is located on the Amsterdam–Arnhem railway. The station is operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen. In 2018 there were approximately 8,787 passengers per day using Driebergen-Zeist station. The station underwent a major uprade between 2017 and 2020 which provided additional bicycle parking and removed a nearby level crossing.

Maarssen railway station

Maarssen is a railway station in Maarssenbroek and on the opposite side of the Amsterdam Rijnkanaal to Maarssen, Netherlands. The station opened on 18 December 1843 and is located on the Amsterdam–Arnhem railway. The services are operated by Nederlandse Spoorwegen.

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park

Utrechtse Heuvelrug National Park is a national park in the Dutch province of Utrecht. When it was founded in 2003, the park covered 6,000 ha of heathlands, shifting sands, forests, grass lands and floodplains. In 2013 the park was extended to 10,000 ha, adding the area north of highway A12 when the ecoduct Mollebos was realized. The most striking landscape feature is the glacial ridge after which the park is named.


  1. http://www.waarstaatjeprovincie.nl/Paginas/Ruimtelijke%20ordening/Oppervlakte.aspx
  2. https://opendata.cbs.nl/statline/#/CBS/nl/dataset/37230ned/table
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  6. "Drie provincies denken over fusie". nos.nl. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  7. "Randstadprovincies bekijken fusie". rtlnieuws. 2011-02-04. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  8. "Randstadprovincies onderzoeken fusie". nrc.nl. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 2011-02-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "Gezond en Duurzaam-Natuur & Milieu". Natuur & Milieu. Archived from the original on 5 January 2014. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
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  12. Helft Nederlanders is kerkelijk of religieus, CBS, 22 december 2016
  13. "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.