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Utrecht counting down to its 900th in 2022

June 2 cityís official anniversary


Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

UTRECHT, the Netherlands Ė On June 2, the city of Utrecht marked its 889th anniversary of the year it was granted city rights by Holy Roman Emperor Henry V in 1122. The central Dutch city started its annual celebration only two years ago.

Visitors to the city were offered a guided tour of the central Dom Square, where archaeologists started an excavation a day earlier to study the foundations of the nave of the gothic Dom cathedral. The cathedralís tower was for centuries the tallest structure in the Netherlands. Its adjoining nave collapsed in 1674 and was never rebuilt, leaving space between the cathedralís remaining section and the tower.

The underground Dom Square Treasury, which includes one of the best preserved sections of a Roman castellum or fortress in the Netherlands, was opened to the general public. The Utrecht Guild of Bell-Ringers gave an anniversary concert on the 500-year-old Dom church bells, including music by Utrecht composers such as Johan Wagenaar.

Celebrations of Utrechtís City Day are intended to get more elaborate by the year, leading up to a very special event in 2022, when Utrecht marks its 900th anniversary as a city.

If the medieval charter ranking is used, Utrecht can be called the second oldest city in the Netherlands, with only Stavoren (a city since 1058-1068) older. Going by the merged Roman and medieval list, Utrecht will also need to take a bow to Nijmegen (year 98) and Voorburg (year 128). The age claim of certain other cities is deemed tenuous since no city charter is identical.