Utrecht, the Netherlands, a city and the capital of the province of Utrecht. It is on the Oude Rijn (Old Rhine), about 20 miles (32 km) southeast of Amsterdam. Several canals run through the city and are crossed by nearly a hundred bridges. Utrecht has two cathedrals—one Roman Catholic, the other Old Catholic. It is also the seat of a university, founded in 1636. Utrecht is a railway and financial center, and the national mint is here. There are railway shops and metal-rolling mills. The city's few factories produce machinery, textiles, woodwork, and food products.
Utrecht was a Roman town and became the seat of a bishop in 696. It was granted a town charter in 1122. In Utrecht in 1579 the seven northern provinces of the Netherlands signed a pact to support one another in their revolt against Spanish rule. This document, known as the Union of Utrecht, laid the foundation for Dutch independence.