Utrecht is located in the heart of the Netherlands and is the country’s fourth largest city (with 316,000 residents). Utrecht is well-known for its institutions of higher education and as home to some 70,000 students, it is a real student city. Utrecht is centrally located in the Netherlands and it is at once dazzlingly modern and impressively old. It has the intimacy of a small town, but the amenities and ambitions of a big city. Utrecht’s population is relatively young and this is reflected in the many activities organized around the city. Utrecht has student organizations of all shapes and sizes and the opportunities in the field of culture, sports and entertainment are endless. Because of its central location and easy accessibility, Utrecht is a meeting place for the whole of the Netherlands. International Companies like Cap Gemini, Rabobank, Fortis and Origin all have their head offices in Utrecht. Utrecht has also developed into a pool of talent that the city nurtures and invests in, so that it can continue to grow as a centre for knowledge and culture.
The Netherlands is located at the heart of north-west Europe. More than a quarter of the country’s territory lies below sea level. Over many centuries, the Dutch have constructed a remarkable system of sea defenses to protect themselves from flooding, and about one-fifth of all Dutch land has actually been reclaimed from the sea, lakes or marshland. The Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world: its 16.8 million people live in an area of just 41,500 km2 (404 per km2). In recent decades, immigration has boosted the population still further; people of over 200 different nationalities now live in the country. The official language is Dutch, but some three-quarters of the population also speak English. An open attitude towards people from other countries has always been a trademark of Dutch culture. The nation’s capital is Amsterdam, although The Hague is actually the seat of government. Several important international institutions are based in The Hague, including the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice. The country is a member of the European Union, its currency is the euro.
The Netherlands realizes that excellent higher education is vital to a successful modern economy, and so it has made higher education a key policy priority. We have been given the task of training the professionals of tomorrow, both for the Netherlands and internationally, and schools like HU are in the vanguard of this knowledge revolution.