Utrecht (; ) is the capital and most populous city in the dutch province of utrecht. it is located in the eastern corner of the randstad conurbation, and is the fourth largest city in the netherlands with a population of in . utrecht's ancient city centre features many buildings and structures several dating as far back as the high middle ages. it has been the religious centre of the netherlands since the 8th century. currently it is the see of the archbishop of utrecht, the most important dutch roman catholic leader. utrecht is also the see of the archbishop of the old catholic church, titular head of the union of utrecht, and the location of the offices of the main protestant church. utrecht was the most important city in the netherlands until the dutch golden age, when it was succeeded by amsterdam as the country's cultural centre and most populous city. utrecht is host to utrecht university, the largest university in the netherlands, as well as several other institutes for higher education. due to its central position within the country, it is an important transport hub for both rail and road transport. it has the second highest number of cultural events in the netherlands, after amsterdam.