The Province of Utrecht is one of the twelve provinces in the Netherlands. It is located right in the center of the country and the capital is Utrecht city. Although it's the smallest province in the country, it still has 1.213.618 inhabitants, making the 5th largest regarding people living here.
Utrecht lies in the middle of the country, bordering North Holland, South Holland, Gelderland and Flevoland. In the eastern part of the province, there is a chain of hills that is a lateral moraine leftover of the last ice age. In the north you find a lake called Eemsmeer, which marks the border with Flevoland. In the south you find the river Lek, one of the side rivers of the Rhine.
In 2013, the Dutch throne was passed on to King Willem-Alexander and what used to be Koninginnedag (Queen's Day) will from 2014 become Koningsdag (King's Day). The date will be changed to the 27th of April, which is the king's birthday. In 2014 however it will be on the 26th of April because the 27th falls on a Sunday. On this day the streets of almost every sizable town in the country come alive with activity. The centre of the action is in Amsterdam, but, if you prefer things a little less crowded, Utrecht is also a popular destination. Both cities have canals and it's just perfect to watch a boat parade with music while you are drinking a beer along the canal side terrace. There are also large outdoor concerts throughout the country, though the one in Amsterdam is the most popular. Several cities have night-markets which actually start the night prior to Koningsdag and last for about 24 hours.
Summers (June to August) are relatively cool with average daytime temperatures around 20 °C, but temperatures over 30 degrees are possible. Winters, on the other hand, are mild, and temperatures below 0 °C during the day do not occur that often. A snow carpet lasting for more than a few days is relatively rare. The best months to travel are probably May to July, when days are long and apart from occasional showers, rainfall is lowest.
Schiphol international airport near Amsterdam is the closest airport nearby, easily reached by direct trains from the city of Utrecht in about half an hour.
Dutch Railways offers trains to and from the province, mostly focused on Utrecht city, which is the center of the railways in the country. Check the website for more information about prices and schedules. Most of the Netherlands can be reached within 2 hours by train from Utrecht.
Utrecht is also a crossroads of main highways to the rest of the country and beyond. The A27 cross the province from north to south, linking Flevoland with Noord-Brabant provinces. The A2 connects Amsterdam to Utrecht and further towards Eindhoven and Maastricht. The A12 cross Utrecht on its way from Rotterdam towards Arnhem and Germany. The A1 travels west to east from Amsterdam, across Utrecht to Apeldoorn and Germany. Finally the A28 starts in Utrecht and travels northeast towards Drenthe and Groningen.
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