The VIIth catalogue of galactic Population I Wolf-Rayet stars provides improved coordinates, spectral types and bv photometry of known WR stars and adds 71 new WR stars to the previous WR catalogue. This census of galactic WR stars reaches 227 stars, comprising 127 WN stars, 87 WC stars, 10 WN/WC stars and 3 WO stars. This includes 15 WNL and 11 WCL stars within 30 pc of the Galactic Center. We compile and discuss WR spectral classification, variability, periodicity, binarity, terminal wind velocities, correlation with open clusters and OB associations, and correlation with H I bubbles, H II regions and ring nebulae. Intrinsic colours and absolute visual magnitudes per subtype are re-assessed for a re-determination of optical photometric distances and galactic distribution of WR stars. In the solar neighbourhood we find projected on the galactic plane a surface density of 3.3 WR stars per kpc 2, with a WC/WN number ratio of 1.5, and a WR binary frequency (including probable binaries) of 39%. The galactocentric distance ( RWR) distribution per subtype shows overlineR WR increasing with decreasing WR subtype, both for the WN and WC subtypes. This overlineR WR distribution allows for the possibility of WNE→WCE and WNL→WCL subtype evolution.