Utrecht is a province of the Netherlands. It is located in the center of the country, bordering the Eemmeer and the province of Flevoland in the north, the province of Gelderland in the east, the river Rhine in the south, the province of South Holland in the west and the province of North Holland in the north-west. With an area of approximately 540 square miles (1,398.6 km2), it is the smallest of the twelve provinces. Apart from its eponymous capital, major cities in the province are Amersfoort, Houten, Nieuwegein, Veenendaal, IJsselstein and Zeist.
In the International Organization for Standardization world region code system Utrecht makes up one region with code ISO 3166-2:NL-UT.
In the east of Utrecht lies the Utrecht Hill Ridge (Dutch: Utrechtse Heuvelrug), a chain of hills left as lateral moraine by tongues of glacial ice after the Saline glaciation that preceded the last ice age. Because of the scarcity of nutrients in the fast-draining sandy soil, the greatest part of a landscape that was formerly heath has been planted with pine plantations. The south of the province is a river landscape. The west consists mostly of meadows. In the north are big lakes formed by the digging of peat from bogs formed after the last ice age.
One of the most attractive natural areas in the province is the Vechtstreek ("Vecht region"), situated on either side of the Vecht river.
An international nature conservation organization that has settled the head office of its Netherlands branch in this province (at Zeist) is the WWF.
"Natuur en Milieu" ("Nature and Environment") is a national nature protection organization whose head office is in this province (at Utrecht city).