Utrecht University

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Utrecht University
Latin: Universitas Rheno-Traiectina or Universitas Ultraiectina
Motto Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos
Motto in English
Sun of Righteousness, shine upon us
Established 1636
Type Public, general
Budget € 765 million (2013)
Rector Bert van der Zwaan
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 30,374[1]
Undergraduates 5,712[1]
Location Utrecht, Netherlands
Colours Yellow, Red & White
Website www.uu.nl

Utrecht University (Dutch: Universiteit Utrecht, formerly Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht) is a university in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. 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[citation needed] the French occupying authorities of the Netherlands downgraded Utrecht University to an école secondaire (high school), but after the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1813 it regained its former status. Leiden, Groningen and Utrecht were the three universities (Dutch: hoge scholen) of the new state, and Leiden received the title of eerste hoge school ("first university").

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 C. 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 is situated in the former Kromhout Kazerne, which used to be a Dutch military base.

Notable alumni and faculty

Utrecht University

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

University rankings
Times[6] 67
QS[7] 85
Times[8] 17

On the 2011 Academic Ranking of World Universities list, the University of Utrecht was ranked 48th in the world and the highest in the Netherlands. It was among the top 50 universities for six consecutive years starting from 2003. In the 2011 QS World University Rankings,[9] Utrecht was ranked 80th. In the The Times Higher Education 2014-15 World University Rankings, the university is ranked 79th.[10]

Academic Ranking of World Universities
Year Rank (Change)
2003 40
2004 39 (Increase 1)
2005 39 (Steady)
2006 40 (Decrease 1)
2007 42 (Decrease 2)
2008 47 (Decrease 5)
2009 52 (Decrease 5)
2010 50 (Increase 2)
2011 48 (Increase 2)
2012 53 (Decrease 5)
2013 52 (Increase 1)

In 2010 QS World University Rankings[11] ranked Utrecht University 83rd in the world.

On the 2009 THE–QS World University Rankings, the University of Utrecht was among the top 150 universities for the sixth consecutive year, and among the top 100 universities for the fourth consecutive year.

QS World University Rankings
Year Rank (Change)
2004 120
2005 120 (Steady)
2006 95 (Increase 25)
2007 89 (Increase 6)
2008 67 (Increase 22)
2009 70 (Decrease 3)
2010 83 (Decrease 13)
2011 80 (Increase 3)
2012 85 (Decrease 5)
2013 81 (Increase 4)

Human Resources & Labor Review, a human competitiveness index & analysis published in Chasecareer Network, ranked the university 50th internationally in 2010 as one of 300 Best World Universities.[12]

See also


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  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
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External links