The city (population as of 2007: 23,377) is located on the Rhine. At Wijk bij Duurstede, the Kromme Rijn (Crooked Rhine) branches off, and the main branch is called Lek River downstream from Wijk bij Duurstede.
The name 'Wijk bij Duurstede' means 'neighbourhood near Duurstede'. Duurstede is the name of the nearby castle/ruin, also called Dorestad, where the bishop of Utrecht used to live. Wijk bij Duurstede is located at the place where Dorestad used to be, an important trade settlement, that was pillaged around 850 by the Vikings.
Wijk bij Duurstede has the only drive-through wind mill in the world. The mill is often confused with the mill that was made famous by Ruisdael's 1670 painting The windmill at Wijk bij Duurstede. That mill however no longer exists (its foundations can still be seen a couple of blocks away from the remaining mill). At the market place of Wijk bij Duurstede is one of the few church towers in the Netherlands with a flat roof, so built because the bishop couldn't afford to build a spire. Inside the tower a picture displays the planned construction of the tower. The tower was supposed to become higher than the Domtoren in Utrecht.