Utrecht , city, Netherlands
Utrecht was founded by the Romans as
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 Netherlands, 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, Cornelis). 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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