Utrecht University

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Utrecht University (Universiteit Utrecht in Dutch) is a university in Utrecht, Netherlands. It is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands and one of the largest in Europe. It is rated as the best university of the Netherlands,[1] 11th best university in Europe,[2] and 50th best in the world[3] in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. Established March 26, 1636, it had an enrollment of 29,082 students in 2008, and employed 8,614 faculty and staff, 570 of which are full professors. In 2004, 358 Ph.D. degrees were awarded and 7,010 scientific articles were published. The 2008 budget of the university was 715 million.

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. Utrecht University is led by the University Board, consisting of Yvonne van Rooy (President), prof.dr. Hans Stoof (Rector Magnificus) and Hans Amman.



Utrecht University was founded on March 26, 1636. The inaugural speech was held by influential professor of theology Gisbertus Voetius. Bernardus Schotanus, professor of law and mathemetics, was the university's first rector magnificus. Initially, a few dozen students attended classes at the university. Seven professors worked at the four faculties: the philosophical, that offered all students a propaedeutic education, and the three higher faculties: the theological and medical faculties and the faculty of law.

Utrecht University flourished in the seventeenth century, despite of the competition with the older universities of Leiden (1575), Franeker (1585) and Groningen (1614) and the schools of Harderwijk (1599, university since 1648) and Amsterdam (1632). Leiden in particular was a strong competitor. Therefore, further investments were necessary. A hortus botanicus was built on the stronghold of Sonnenborgh and three years later the Smeetoren received a astronomical observatory.

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