Utrecht is the fourth-largest city in the Netherlands, with a population of more than 300,000. Utrecht’s central location in the country, as part of the Randstad conurbation that also includes Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, along with its easy accessibility (30 minutes from Schiphol airport), make it an attractive place to live and a popular location for business.
Utrecht is home to some major educational institutions—the University of Utrecht is not only the largest of the Netherlands but is also the highest-ranked Dutch university in several international indexes. The city has 70,000 students in higher education, giving it a relatively young population and the most highly educated workforce in the country. Utrecht is a well-developed knowledge-based economy, with life sciences being one of its most prominent clusters.
The qualities of the city and its surroundings make Utrecht a good environment for residents, visitors and businesses. To cater for that popularity, the largest new development in the Netherlands is being built here: the Leidsche Rijn. Around 30,000 dwellings will be built to house some 80,000 people, with around 40,000 people expected to find employment in Leidsche Rijn. The Utrecht region was ranked No. 1 by the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Regional Policy in its latest research on European competitiveness.
Along with its business potential, Utrecht also has a rich culture. The historic centre—with its Dom Tower, wharfs and canals—is one of the assets of the city. Its many national and international festivals contribute to Utrecht’s cultural heritage.