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Houten

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Houten

Houten
Municipality
Town hall and station in Houten
Town hall and station in Houten
Flag of Houten
Flag
Coat of arms of Houten
Coat of arms
Highlighted position of Houten in a municipal map of Utrecht
Location in Utrecht
Coordinates:
Country Netherlands
Province Utrecht
Government[1]
 • Body Municipal council
 • Mayor Wouter de Jong (CU)
Area[2]
 • Total 58.99 km2 (22.78 sq mi)
 • Land 55.41 km2 (21.39 sq mi)
 • Water 3.58 km2 (1.38 sq mi)
Elevation[3] 2 m (7 ft)
Population (May 2014)[4]
 • Total 48,471
 • Density 875/km2 (2,270/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
Postcode 3990–3999
Area code 030
Website .nl.houtenwww
Dutch Topographic map of Houten (town), March 2014

Houten [ˈɦɔutə(n)] (   ) is a municipality in the Netherlands, in the province of Utrecht.

Population centres

The municipality consists of the following towns:

Houten (town)

The main town in the municipality is Houten, a commuter town about 9 km southeast of Utrecht. On 1 January 2012, the town had 48,314 (CBS) inhabitants. The built-up area was 5.08 km2 (1.96 sq mi) in area, and contained 18,451 residences.[5] The slightly larger statistical district of Houten had a population of about 39,100 in 2004.[6]

History of Houten

Historical map of Houten

Remains of a Roman villa have been found in the old centre of Houten, made visible in a street pattern. There used to be a Roman villa on that spot. This building was discovered in the fifties. In the Dark Ages Houten took shape as a rural centre. The area of the municipality of Houten was divided in the so-called 'gerechten' (districts). The names of these districts are still in use: Schonauwen, Wulven, Waijen, Heemstede.

A lot of elements in present-day Houten are reminders of its history. Prominent in the old centre 'Het Oude Dorp' are the Roman Catholic Church (1884) and the Protestant Church (1563). The first accounts of this church date from the ninth century, the oldest parts of the church are probably from the eleventh century. Another prominent building is the restaurant/cafe 'De Engel', already mentioned in the 16th century as a tavern.[7]

Former access roads to the old centre are still recognisable by their names, such as the 'Odijkseweg' and 'Loerikseweg'. Houten had many orchards, but few have survived.

The expanding city 1966-1998

Modern Houten started to take shape in the last decades of the 20th century (1966–1998). It was first designated by the office of Wissing-Derks as a 'Groeikern' - a centre of growth - to meet the needs of the growing city of Utrecht. From the beginning urban planner-designer Robert Derks was involved with the development of the New Town Houten. In 1979 the construction of 10,000 dwellings started and the population grew from 4,000 to more than 30,000 late in the nineties.

Second designation as a centre of urban growth 1992-2015

Until 2015, some 7,000 new houses are being built in Houten-Zuid, following the same urban design principles as the existing Northern part of Houten, but with some differences. The body of water to the east is large in comparison with water bodies in the old parts of Houten. The pentagonal green zone in Houten-Zuid embracing the centre is different from the greenzone in Houten-Noord, which runs through the whole city in a linear structure, crossing the new city centre and with larger parks at either end. Another difference is that in some places cars share the road with bicycle paths (this concept was later applied in the northern part as well). The southern part was also designed by Robert Derks and his office for urban design Stedebouw BV.

Transport

Rail

Houten has two railway stations, Houten (opened in 1868, closed in 1935, re-opened on a different location in 1982 and restructured in 2010) and Houten Castellum (opened in 2010). These stations are served by local commuter trains to Utrecht (northbound) and Geldermalsen (southbound, with subsequent connections to Tiel and 's-Hertogenbosch/Breda). The railway has been doubled from two tracks to four, to accommodate for an extra stop at Castellum with a frequency of four trains per hour in each direction.

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