Utrecht is the Netherlands' fourth largest and most central city. Utrecht is incomparable to any other place. Where else can you walk straight from the train to the shops, where else can you have a beer or a delicious meal right beside the canal, what other city has such a striking and easily recognisable landmark as the Dom Tower, which is more than 600 years old? A city with a friendly shopping heart, friendly street cafés, as well as a bubbling night life; with busy pubs and cafés, simple eateries, but also stylish restaurants and contemporary congress and meeting centres.
Utrecht has a bright past. It all began with a Roman castle established in 47 AD as part of reinforcements along the Rhine. The city's name possibly came from a contraction of the words Uut (downstream) and Trecht (ford). At the end of the 7th century the English missionary Willibrord settled in Utrecht. Utrecht subsequently acquired great ecclesiastical power and developed into a trade centre. The canals and wharves date from this golden period.