Utrecht University

Utrecht University
Universiteit Utrecht
Latin: Universitas Rheno-Traiectina or Universitas Ultraiectina
Motto Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos
Motto in English
Sun of Righteousness, shine upon us
Type Public, general
Established 1636
Endowment € 765 million (2013)
Rector Prof. Dr. Bert van der Zwaan
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 30,374[1]
Campus Urban
Colours Yellow, Red and White

Utrecht University (UU; Dutch: Universiteit Utrecht, formerly Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) is a university in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. Established March 26, 1636, it had an enrollment of 30,449 students in 2012, and employed 5,295 faculty and staff. In 2011, 485 PhD degrees were awarded and 7,773 scientific articles were published. The 2013 budget of the university was €765 million.[4]

The university is rated as the best university in the Netherlands by the Shanghai Ranking of World Universities 2013, and ranked as the 13th best European university and the 52nd best university of the world.

The university's motto is "Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos," which means "Sun of Justice, shine upon us." This motto was gleaned from a literal Latin Bible translation of Malachi 4:2. (Rutgers University, having a historical connection with Utrecht University, uses a modified version of this motto.) Utrecht University is led by the University Board, consisting of prof. dr. Bert van der Zwaan (Rector Magnificus) and Hans Amman.


This section incorporates text translated from the Dutch Wikipedia article

Utrecht University was founded on March 26, 1636. The influential professor of theology Gisbertus Voetius delivered the inaugural speech, and Bernardus Schotanus (professor of law and mathematics) became the university's first rector magnificus. Initially, only a few dozen students attended classes at the university. Seven professors worked in four faculties: philosophy, which offered all students an introductory education, and three higher-level faculties (theology, medicine and law).

Utrecht University flourished in the seventeenth century, despite competition with the older universities of Leiden (1575), Franeker (1585) and Groningen (1614) and the schools of Harderwijk (1599; a university from 1648) and Amsterdam (1632). Leiden, in particular, proved a strong competitor and made further improvement necessary. A botanical garden was built on the grounds of the present Sonnenborgh Observatory, and three years later the Smeetoren added an astronomical observatory. The university attracted many students from abroad (especially from Germany, England and Scotland). They witnessed the intellectual and theological battle the proponents of the new philosophy (René Descartes lived for a few years in Utrecht) fought with the proponents of the strict Reformed theologian Voetius.

In 1806 the French occupying authorities of the Netherlands downgraded Utrecht University to an école secondaire (high school), but after the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813 it regained its former status. Leiden, Louvain, Groningen, Utrecht and Ghent were the five universities (Dutch: hoge scholen) of the new state, and Leiden received the title of eerste hoge school ("first university"). Two of the universities (Louvain and Ghent) became part of the new Belgian state after it separated from the northern Netherlands in 1830. This left Utrecht one of only three Dutch universities.

Utrecht played a prominent role in the golden age of Dutch science. Around 1850 the "Utrechtian School" of science formed, with Pieter Harting, Gerardus J. Mulder, Christophorus H. D. Buys Ballot and Franciscus Donders among the leading scientists. They introduced the educational laboratory (onderwijslaboratorium) as a practical learning place for their students. The University is represented in the Stichting Academisch Erfgoed, a foundation with the goal of preserving university collections.



The university consists of seven faculties:

There are three interfaculty units:

The two large faculties of Humanities and Law are situated in the inner city of Utrecht. The other five faculties and most of the administrative services are located in De Uithof, a campus area on the outskirts of the city. University College Utrecht is situated in the former Kromhout Kazerne, which used to be a Dutch military base. University College Roosevelt is located off-campus in the city of Middelburg in the south-west of the Netherlands.

Notable alumni and faculty

Utrecht University counts a number of distinguished scholars among its alumni and faculty, including 12 Nobel Prize laureates and 13 Spinoza Prize laureates.

International rankings

As of September 2016
University rankings
ARWU[6] 65
Times[7] 62
QS[8] 104

On the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities list, the University of Utrecht was ranked 56th in the world and the highest in the Netherlands. It has been among the top 60 universities since 2003:

Academic Ranking of World Universities
Year Rank (Change)
200439 (Increase 1)
200539 (Steady)
200640 (Decrease 1)
200742 (Decrease 2)
200847 (Decrease 5)
200952 (Decrease 5)
201050 (Increase 2)
201148 (Increase 2)
201253 (Decrease 5)
201352 (Increase 1)
201457 (Decrease 5)
201556 (Increase 1)

In the 2015/2016 QS World University Rankings,[9] Utrecht was ranked 94th, it has been among the top 100 universities since 2006:

QS World University Rankings
Year Rank (Change)
2005120 (Steady)
200695 (Increase 25)
200789 (Increase 6)
200867 (Increase 22)
200970 (Decrease 3)
201083 (Decrease 13)
201180 (Increase 3)
201285 (Decrease 5)
201381 (Increase 4)
201480 (Increase 1)
201594 (Decrease 14)

In the The Times Higher Education 2014–15 World University Rankings, the university is ranked 79th.[10]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Annual report 2014 (in Dutch)". Utrecht University. Retrieved 21 October 2015. e city = Utrecht t province = Utrecht / country = Netherlands c coor = 52°05′24″N 5°07′13″E / 52.09000°N 5.12028°E dNobel Prizes = 11 i website = www.uu.nl
  2. Huisstijlelementen: Kleur - website of the UU
  3. Flag (with colours) - website of the UU
  4. http://www.uu.nl/university/utrecht/EN/factsandfigures/Pages/default.aspx
  5. "Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance – Utrecht University". Uu.nl. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  6. "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  7. "World University Rankings 2016-2017". Times Higher Education. 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2016.
  8. "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  9. "QS World University Rankings Utrecht University". Topuniversities. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
  10. "World University Rankings Utrecht University". The Times Higher Education. Retrieved 2016-05-27.
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