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Bucharest

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Travel Guide Europe Romania Bucharest

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Introduction

River view Bucharest

River view Bucharest

© All Rights Reserved AAY

Bucharest is the capital and largest city of Romania with over 2 million inhabitants. Located on the banks of the Dâmboviţa River, it is an important industrial and economic centre for the country. For many travellers, it is the gateway into Romania.
The earliest known reference to Bucharest comes from 1459, when it was known as the Citadel of Bucureşti and became the residence of the Wallachian prince Vlad III the Impaler. Throughout the Middle Ages, Bucharest grew in prominence. In 1861, Bucharest was made the capital of Romania.

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Neighbourhoods

Bucharest is divided into six sectors. Each sector is managed by a mayor and city council, who have responsibilities provides for local businesses, such as secondary streets, parks, schools and cleaning services. Each of the six sectors contains a number of districts which have no administrative function:

  • Sector 1: Dorobanți, Băneasa, Pipera, Floreasca
  • Sector 2: Pantelimon, Colentina, Iancului, Tei
  • Sector 3: Vitan, Dudești, Titan, Balta Albă, Centrul Civic
  • Sector 4: Berceni, Olteniței, Văcărești
  • Sector 5: Rahova, Ferentari, Cotroceni, Ghencea
  • Sector 6: Giulești, Drumul Taberei, Militari, Crângași.

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Sights and Activities

Palace of the Parliament

The palace

The palace

© All Rights Reserved cpcoelho

Nicolae Ceausescu, Romanian dictator from 1965 to 1989, is to thank for the Palace of the Parliament, the world's second largest administrative building. Construction was begun in 1983, but not before a large chunk of Bucharest's historic district was torn to the ground to make way for the indulgent dictator's dream. When Ceausescu was overthrown and executed in 1989, the building was nearly complete. Parts of it are still not completed. Tours of the palace are available.

Cişmigiu Gardens

The Cişmigiu Gardens are a welcome oasis in the heart of Bucharest. It is the city's oldest park and remains a popular hang-out for locals. During summer, boats can be hired to go out on the man-made lakes; in winter, many people skate on the lakes.

Memorial of Rebirth

The Memorial of Rebirth is found in Revolution Square. It commemorates the Romanian Revolution of 1989. The memorial, which features a tall pillar with a metal "crown", is quite controversial in Romanian society, owing largely to the fact that the symbolism in its design is very abstract.

Curtea Veche

Curtea Veche was the royal court during the Middle Ages. Today, it is a museum.

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Events and Festivals

  • Easter Gifts National Arts and Crafts Fair (April) - 100 artisans offer numerous treasures for purchase, such as embroidered carpets, wooden crafts and beautiful painted eggs. Craft demonstrations and folk dance performances also entertain and educate in traditional Romanian life. Address: Museum of the Romanian Peasant
  • Bucharest International Film Festival (End of March) - This festival of art cinema is the first and only competition festival of experimental film in Romania. It encourages emerging films and discovers and promotes young talented filmmakers. Prizes are given for the best films.
  • EUROPAfest (May) - Live quality music takes over Bucharest in May for two weeks as 300 musicians from 45 worldwide countries gather to perform. A huge variety of concerts host the Jazz, Blues, Pop and Classic music, and there are also Jam sessions and workshops guided by international specialists. It opens on Europe's Day and ends with the EUROPAfest Gala. It's an exciting evening with the best artists from the festival performing.
  • Jeunesses International Music Competition (End of May) - This large music competition discovers and promotes young talent. There are competitions in piano, flute, clarinet, violin and composition which take it in turns annually. 2013 will be the piano competition with a competition jury made up of international experts.
  • Old Bucharest Festival (The month of May) - The city returns to the 19th Century as locals parade through the town in period costume and drive horse drawn carriages. Music and food of the area is abundant, and a market of traditional arts and crafts is set up. There are also outdoor concerts of Romantic music to see too!
  • GayFest (May/June) - The annual Gay Pride Festival lasts for nearly a week and features various lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cultural events, such as film screenings, exhibitions, theatre, parties and parades.
  • "D'Ale Bucurestilor" Street Music Festival (June) - Against the beautiful backdrop of Bucharest's cobbled streets and Belle Epoque buildings, Romanian folk and medieval music are performed - the sound of the troubadours are brought back to the Old Town! Address: Historic Centre
  • Craftsmen's Fair ("Targul Mesterilor Populari") (June/July) - This fair takes place in one of Europe's biggest and oldest outdoor museums. There are free workshops in traditional glass-blowing, pottery mouldings, textile weaving and embroidery, wood carving, rug weaving and egg painting. Craftsmen from all over the country come to Bucharest to share their skills in these workshops. Address: Village Museum, Hours: 9:00am - 8:00pm
  • George Enescu Music Festival (September (biennial)) - Romania's most famous composer, George Enescu (1881-1955), is celebrated every two years with festivals and a competition in his name. Throughout the festivities, there are events in City Square including concerts from music academies, recitals and movie screenings. Address: Concerts are held at the Palace Grand Hall, Bucharest National Opera House, Palace Small Hall and the Ateneul Român.
  • Autumn Fair (October) - The patron saint, Saint Demeter, is celebrated through a Romanian wedding celebration with traditional dress, music and food, church services and a fair selling local handicrafts. Address: Village Museum
  • Winter Gifts Arts & Crafts Fair (December) - Christmas shopping can be done at the Winter Gifts Festival as over 150 local artists present their work which make ideal unique gifts. Address: The Museum of the Romanian Peasant

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Weather

In Bucharest, summers are hot and dry averaging around 30 °C in July and August, while winters are cold (around 0 °C). Alltime highs and lows are 41 °C and -32 °C respectively. Rain or snow in winter falls in every month, though summers are rather wetter, with sometimes heavy downpours. Spring and autumn are very pleasant seasons for a visit.

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Avg Max1.5 °C4.1 °C10.5 °C18 °C23.3 °C26.8 °C28.8 °C28.5 °C24.6 °C18 °C10 °C3.8 °C
Avg Min-5.5 °C-3.3 °C0.3 °C5.6 °C10.5 °C14 °C15.6 °C15 °C11.1 °C5.7 °C1.6 °C-2.6 °C
Rainfall40 mm36 mm38 mm46 mm70 mm77 mm64 mm58 mm42 mm32 mm49 mm43 mm
Rain Days666766765566

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Getting There

By Plane

The Henri Coandă International Airport (OTP/LROP) is located a short distance north of the city and is Romania's busiest airport. Most low-cost airlines fly into nearby Aurel Vlaicu International Airport (BBU), in Băneasa.
Numerous airlines serve these airports, from many European destinations and some cities further away, including New York. Tarom is the national airline with an extensive network. They also fly to several domestic destinations, including Timisoara and Constanta.

To/from Henri Coandă Airport

  • Car: Route DN1 connects the airport with downtown Bucharest. The A3 motorway will connect the airport and the city, when finished. Car rental agencies and taxis are both widely available.
  • Rial: A direct train service to the main railway station, Gara de Nord, runs from the Airport train station, about 900 metres from the airport. Shuttle buses connect this train station with the departures and arrivals halls and the tickets are valid both for the train and for the transfer bus. The next phase of the airport's expansion aims to locate the train station in the airport itself.
  • Bus: The airport is connected by public transport by the RATB system. The 780 route provides express bus service to Gara de Nord railway station in Bucharest and the 783 route provides express bus service to the city centre.

To/from Aurel Vlaicu Airport
The airport is situated 8 kilometres north of Bucharest city centre and is accessible by RATB buses 131, 335 and Airport Express 783, RATB tramway 5 and taxi.

By Train

International sleeper trains arrive in Bucharest from Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava, Kosice, Krakow, Belgrade, Sofia, Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Moscow, Kiev, and Chisinau. Train travel is generally slower than bus travel. See the Romanian Railways website for train timetables and fares. You can find a travelmap as well.
CFR operates many trains throughout the country from and to Bucharest. Have a look at this website for inter-city train timetables and fares.

By Bus

You can check timetables for many destinations online. There are quite a few bus station in the city: Băneasa (located in the northern part of town), Obor (east), Filaret (south), Rahova (southwest), Militari (west), Griviţa (northwest) as well as many other smaller stations. Buses and minibuses from Chişinău (10 hours) arrive mostly at Filaret bus station. Buses from Istanbul (12-14 hours) arrive at multiple stations along Viilor road. The only daily bus from Sofia (7 hours) stops near Tineretului subway station. Buses from Varna (5-6 hours) usually stop downtown. Buses from Athens (16-20 hours) arrive at stations along Viilor road. Buses for routes from Western Europe usually arrive at Rahova bus station. Also check out Eurolines for options further afield.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

The Bucharest Metro provides an extensive subway system, and combined with the buses, trolleybuses, trams and light rail of the RATB it is quite easy to get around by public transport in the city.

On Foot

Bucharest can be a very confusing place to walk around on foot. If you do decide to explore it on foot, make sure you have a decent map with you to help you find your way around.

Bucharest is nothing short of a nightmare to walk around, and if I ever find myself teaching a class on how not to organize a city, this city would without a doubt be the best example Europe has to offer.

AAY, in his blog.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Amzei Hotel8 Piata Amzei Street, 1st District, Bucharest - ROHotel-
Apartment Blue23rd, Balcescu blvd.APARTMENT-
Arc De Triomphe Oliviers Hotel Residence19 CluceruluiHotel-
Bella B&Bbellahostel@yahoo.com dorina.jurca@yahoo.comGUESTHOUSE-
BestFlatBd. Dacia Nr.53Apartment81
StayInBucharest23 A Nicolae Balcescu BoulevardAPARTMENT-
Butterfly Villa HostelStirbei Voda, no. 96 entrance around the corner of Str. C. StahlHostel-
Calea Victoriei StudioCalea Victoriei Bd. Stirbei VodaApartment92
Central Hostel BucharestStr. Salcimilor nr.2Hostel-
Central Hotel - Bucharest13 Brezoianu strHotel-
Citadella HotelStr. Popa Lazar nr. 12Hotel-
City Hotel - BucharestTimisoara Bd. no. 46Hotel-
Club Palace Hotel Residence Citroniers137A Odaii StreetHotel-
Confort Traian HotelStr. Traian 55A, sector 3Hotel-
Coral Apartment23rd, Balcescu blvd.Apartment-
Dalin Center HotelStefan Cel Mare 33 AHotel-
Diplomat Hotel73 Poligrafiei Bv.Hotel-
Domenii Plaza Hotel Residence Cerisiers33 Alexandru Constantinescu StreetHotel-
Duke HotelBld. Dacia, no.32, sector 1HOTEL-
Est HotelSoseaua Pantelimon, Nr. 23, Sector 2Hotel-
Friends Hostel BucharestMircea Vulcanescu 114 (former Stefan Furtuna St.),Hostel87
Grand Accommodation29 Ion Campineanu AvenueApartment84
Green Apartment23rd, Balcescu blvd.Apartment-
Happy HostelStreet Drumea Radulescu No.32Hostel-
Hello Hotels - BucharestCalea Grivitei nr. 143Hotel-
Hostel LitovoiStrada Litovoi, Nr.60Hostel84
Hotel ArmoniaCalea Mosilor nr.112, Calea Mosilor nr.112,Hotel-
Berthelot HotelBulevardul Berthlot, nr.9Hotel-
Hotel BlissStr. Sapte Drumuri nr. 4CHotel-
Hotel Funny TimeCalea vitan nr 275Hotel-
Herastrau Hotel - BucharestSoseaua Nordului, 7 - 9HOTEL-
Hotel Piccolo Mondo-Bucharest9, Clucerului Road, 9, Clucerului Road,Hotel-
Hotel Suter InnAleea Suter 3, sector 4, BucharestHotel-
Ibis Hotel Gara de NordCalea Grivitei 143Hotel-
Intercontinental Hotel4 Nicolae Balcescu Bld.HOTEL-
Nelisse HotelPopa Lazar Street, no.12,Hotel-
Nelisse One HotelStr Popa Lazar No 10Hotel-
Opera HotelStr. Brezoianu nr. 37Hotel-
Orange Apartment23rd, Balcescu blvd.Apartment-
Ramada Park Hotel3-5 Poligrafiei AvenueHotel-
Razvan HotelNo 159 Calarasilor Str.Hotel-
Rembrandt Hotel11 Smardan StHotel-
RomPromo Plus AccommodationMendeleev str. 17 - 5th fl. - apt 35 - Bucharest 0APARTMENT-
Suter Inn HotelAleea Suter no.3Hotel-
Tempo HotelArmand Calinescu 19Hotel-
The Funky Chicken HostelStr. Gen. Berthelot 63 Sector 1Hostel81
The Midland Youth HostelStr Biserica Amzei, nr 22 Apt 3, Sector 1Hostel90
Trianon HotelStr. Cobalcescu Grigore, nr 9Hotel-
Venezia Hotel2 Pompiliu Eliade StHotel-
Victoria Apartment23 Bulevardul Regina ElisabetaApartment-
Vila 11Strada Institutul Medico Militar Nr.11Guesthouse73
Vila GabrielaStr.Margaritarului 18, Vila A 104 Otopeni, Judet IlfovGuesthouse86
Villa Helga Youth HostelBusolei 7AHostel76
YMCA Universitaria HostelStrada Theodor Stefanescu 1HOSTEL-
Accommodation CazareCalea Grivitei 123Hostel-
Alex Villa HostelAvram Iancu Street, no5Hostel82
Class Hotel30A Garlei Street 1st DistrictHotel-
Relax Comfort Suites Hotel22 Nicolae Balcescu Bulevard , sector 1Hotel-
Hostel TinaOdobesti 2B Street Mansion N3B, 9th Floor No 38 (interphone 38 C)Hostel94
DidahouseStrada Albinelor nr32 Bloc 32 Scara 4 Etaj 2 Ap.62 Sector 4Apartment80
Charter Airport Hotel Bucharest1D, Drumul Odall StreetHotel-
Prince ResidenceStrada Principatele Unite nr. 42 sector 4Apartment-
Finitconsult Apartments4 Emil Garleanu StreetApartment-
Studio AmzeiMendeleev str 17Apartment92
2 Open Rooms AmzeiBiserica Amzei street 27Apartment84
Dacia RRT Hotel19th Matei Basarab 3rd districtHotel-
Dalin HotelBd. Marasesti 70-72Hotel-
AVIS HotelB-dul Aerogarii nr 10Hotel-
Zava Boutique HotelStrada Stefan Mihaileanu 21 District 2Hotel-
Rin Grand Hotel7D Vitan Bârzesti StrHotel-
Comfort Rin ResortCalea Bucurestilor 255 A OtopeniHotel-
Prince Park ResidenceStr. Principatele Unite 38-40Apartment-
Vila Arte78, Vasile Lascar Street Bucharest 2Guesthouse-
Doors HostelOlimpului Street No 13,Hostel90
CarpatiNo. 16, Matei Millo StreetHotel-
Elizeu HotelElizeu Street 11/13 Sector 1Hotel-
Horoscop HotelDimitrie Cantemir, Nr 2 District 4Hotel-
Hotel CantemirDimitrie Cantemir 13AHotel-
Regim HotelierStr.Magheru Gheorghe General Nr.32-36Apartment-
Tache HostelStr. Madrid nr 6Hostel83
Wonderland HostelColtei nr 48 BucharestHostel86
Alia Accommodation Bucharest18 Bulevardul Nicolae BalcescuGuesthouse-
Studio MagheruBld Magheru, 20Apartment89
Miramont HostelSTRADA MORILOR NR 25 B Sector 3 , Timpuri NoiHOSTEL75
Tripoli HotelStada Hagiului 10HOTEL77
A&A Accommodation91-93, Calea Victoriei sector 1Apartment-
RIN Central55 Traian St.Hotel-
Le Boutique Hotel Moxa129 Calea Victoriei crossroads 4 Mihail Moxa Str.Hotel-
RIN Grand7D Vitan-Barzesti Str,Hotel-
Hotel Green Forum-BucharestStr. Pictor Barbu Iscovescu 19, Sector 1 Str. Pictor Barbu Iscovescu 19, Sector 1Hotel-
Unirii ResidenceCuza Voda 40-42Hotel-
Victoriei ResidenceMaltopol 22Hotel-
Hotel Casa Victor-BucharestStr. Emanoil Porumbaru nr. 44, Sector 1HOTEL-
Green Frog HostelStr. G-ral Dona nr.11HOSTEL90
Byzanthin HostelDoctor Caracas Constantin no.22 streetHOSTEL78
Hotel Tranzzit-BucharestStr. Lipova, Nr 24HOTEL-
Hemingway Residence HotelStr. Mantuleasa, 31 sect.2HOTEL-
Phoenicia Express Hotel441- 443 Odai Street, DristricHOTEL-
Michelangelo BucharestStr. Henri Coanda Nr.25, Sector 1HOTEL-
Tecadra HotelStrada Erou Iancu Nicolae 67AHOTEL-
Amphitryon HotelStr. Ardeleni nr 2-4 sect.2HOTEL-
Kretan Hostel84 Stirbei-Voda Street, sector1HOSTEL84
Confort Traian HotelStr. Traian 55A sector 3Hotel-
Best Western Plus Mari Vila-BucharestBalta Doamnei nr 44-50 Sector 3HOTEL-
Agentia H Apartments2 Stirbei Voda street 1 LuteranaAPARTMENT-
Zenix HotelBasarabilor 18HOTEL-
Starlight Suites Hotel - BucharestGrigore AlexandrescuHOTEL-
Holiday Hostel BucharestRomulus Street, No. 79HOSTEL86
X Hostel BucharestBalcesti 9HOSTEL88
Counting Crows Hostel20 Ocolului StreetHOSTEL-
East HostelHristo Botev no.11HOSTEL73
Puzzle HostelLuigi Cazzavillan Street, No. 44, District 1HOSTEL85
Explorers HostelLuigi Cazzavillan Street, Number 21HOSTEL87
Peaches HostelOrzari Street No 52HOSTEL85
Hotel MioritaStr. Lipscani nr.12HOTEL-
Umbrella HostelChristian Tell Str, No 21HOSTEL93
Zorba HostelStrada Viitorului 93A Sector 2HOSTEL-
Hotel SiquaCalea Plevnei nr. 59AHOTEL-
Hotel Litovoi CentralToamnei Street, 68HOTEL-
Antique Hostel BucharestG-ral Constantin Coanda nr 16HOSTEL90
The Cozyness Downtown HostelDomnita Anastasia street, nr 15 Apt 17, 6th floorHOSTEL-
Casa Sofia BucharestStr. Paul Greceanu 14GUESTHOUSE-
Bucharest Accommodation ApartmentStrada Camil Ressu nr28 blA8 et4 ap20 Sector3APARTMENT-
Scala HotelC.A. Rosetti nr. 19HOTEL-
Phoenicia Grand HotelBlvd. Alexandru Serbanescu, no.87, sect.1HOTEL-
Magic Grand HotelOccidentului 2 Sector 1Hotel-
Relax Comfort Suites22 Nicolae Balcescu Bulevard Sector 1HOTEL-
Studio in the Center of BucharestPiata Alexandru Lahovari 1AAPARTMENT-
Costa ApartmentsAleea Lunguletu nr 6 Street, bloc d14APARTMENT-
Green Olive GuesthouseGeneral Dona nr. 11 etaj 1GUESTHOUSE-
EVS Apartments SebastianCalea Rahovei 297APARTMENT-

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes exist in most cities and towns. The number of internet cafes seems to be declining in bigger cities recently because of cheap availability of computers and the rising living standard here. Wifi is widely available in University areas, airports, public squares, parks, cafes, hotels and restaurants. Pay-as-you-go Wifi is also available in many venues. If uncertain, look for plazas near the Town Hall, large parks or other important buildings. Most (if not all) McDonald's restaurants and Starbucks in Romania have Wifi access and so do most 3-star (and higher) hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Romania's country code is +40. To dial to other countries from Romania, dial 00 and then the international number usually without the first 0.
Public phones work well and are available in all areas. You must purchase a phonecard from a kiosk to use them. When dialing within Romania, dial 0 + three digit area code + six digit telephone.

There are five networks - four GSM/3G (Orange Romania, Vodafone, Cosmote and DigiMobil) and one CDMA (Zapp). Orange and Vodafone have almost full national coverage (98-99% of the surface of the country), while the newly-merged Cosmote+Zapp are expanding quickly. Tariffs are average for the European Union (€0.08-0.30/min, €0.04 per SMS). Both pre-paid cards and subscriptions are available, and special options for discounted international calls exist with some pricing plans. Roaming is available but is, like in most of the EU, rather expensive. Pre-paid cards or recharge codes can be bought in almost every shop, either rural or urban.

On prepaid SIMs you can activate extra options ("extraopţiune") starting from €5 (+ 24% VAT) in total = RON27-32, with a validity period of 30 days, containing thousands (200 -3,000) of minutes and SMSs within the same network and up to 100 minutes outside the network, including most European Union fixed land-line networks and two or three mobile networks.

Post

Posta Romana is the national postal service of Romania. Postal services are generally very affordable, reliable and reasonably fast. Post boxes are red and can be found near the post offices, along the street or in main train stations. Post offices can be found in even the smallest towns and the opening hours are generally Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00am to 12:00, closed on Sunday. You can buy stamps here or at kiosks. Prices for international mail start at around €0.55 and takes at least 3-5 days to countries within Europe. It's slightly cheaper and faster for domestic mail to be send. Intercontinental post is slightly more expensive but takes much longer. For slightly more expensive but faster and more reliable services you can also try international courier companies like TNT, DHL, FedEx or UPS.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 44.447924
  • Longitude: 26.097879

Contributors

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Bucharest Travel Helpers

  • carmenggq

    I am from Bucharest, and enjoy going out, so I can advice on how to spend a lovely time in the city

    Ask carmenggq a question about Bucharest
  • Focus_on_travel

    I live in Bucharest, I love it, I would best describe it as an European capital, that has all the things a tourist might be interested in: a rich history, a mix of arhitecture, a lively night life, quite a few shopping venues, the accessibility from/to other parts of the world is also very good and people are friendly. I would love to see Bucharest receiving more and more tourists, because it has many things to offer. I will give only few examples: the House of Parliament - the second largest building in the world, the Village Museum - an open-air museum showing houses from all over Romania, old center of Bucharest - with its narrow streets, and lovely arhitecture, the Arch of Triumph and the Kiseleff Avenue - our Champs Elysees - testifying why Bucharest was called the ''Little Paris''. Bucharest is also a green city, with several parks/gardens, the most famous being the Garden of Cismigiu, Herastrau Park and Botanical Garden. Other specific features are the orthodox churches, which are numerous, very beautiful and worth to be visited, because religion was always a part of our history, culture, and people's soul. Nightlife consists in many pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs, discos, one of the best place to enjoy this variety is Lipscani or the Old Center of Bucharest. Once there, you will meet a happy crowd, which celebrates the joy of life, maybe some birthday/name day, but there is also a reason for hapiness because Romanian people have a particular way to cope with the good or bad things happening in their lives.

    Ask Focus_on_travel a question about Bucharest

This is version 46. Last edited at 8:55 on Mar 5, 14 by Utrecht. 61 articles link to this page.

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