From residential house to Faculty Club

Originally, the street Achter de Dom had two names. The part behind the choir of the Dom Church up to number 7 was called Achter de Dom, the part from number 7 to Pausdam was called Domtrans.

Gezicht in Achter de Dom te Utrecht uit het noorden met de kapittelzaal en een klaustraal huis van de Dom; geheel rechts de oostelijke ingang van de kruisgang.
View of Achter de Dom in Utrecht from the north showing the claustral house of the Dom. Dates from 1950-1960. Photo by The Utrecht Archives.

The house that was right on the border of these two streets dates from the early 14th century and was a so-called 'claustral house' - a residence of a canon or choirmaster. Canons were responsible for justice, administration and also education within their community. In the middle of a plot surrounding their church, the canons built their houses, which were eventually extended on all sides, making them hard to recognise today. The building in which the Faculty Club is located was one such claustral house that used to belong to the community of St Martin's Cathedral.

In the 19th century, the headquarters of the police were located in the building, complete with jailer's house, cells and the district court.

Quite a few different residents

Plattegrond van het politiebureau aan Achter de Dom te Utrecht, met in rood aangegeven enige voorgenomen verbouwingen.
Map of the police station at Achter de Dom in Utrecht, with some proposed renovations indicated in red. Dates from 1940.

Over the many years, the house has had many different owners. The restoration in 1998 revealed a cartouche. This is a framed shield with text or a coat of arms on a map or building. It shows that one of those owners was probably Johannes de Hornes, baron of Boxtel, lord of Baucignies, Kessel and Lokeren. He died in Utrecht in 1606. The last private occupant sold the property in 1810 to the Empire, which had to hand it over to the city of Utrecht in 1813 in accordance with a decree by Napoleon. As early as the same year, it housed the police headquarters, complete with jailer's quarters, cells and the subdistrict court. The cells were located at the top of the tower, which can still be seen by the bars in the windows. There were also cells in the attic.

From prison to university building

In the early nineteenth century, the rapidly growing university needed more buildings. Traditionally, university education had been concentrated around Domplein (then called Munsterkerkhof), especially in the Great Chapter House, now the university's auditorium. Expansion opportunities were therefore initially sought mainly around that Aula: on Korte Nieuwstraat, on Trans and Achter de Dom. Because the municipality moved the police station to four connected buildings on the Ganzenmarkt around 1867, the Achter de Dom station became available to the university. The building was rented out, providing the university with six extra rooms, one of which (part of what is now the Living Room) was used as a curators' room - i.e. as an office for the university administrators and their administration. The former jailer's house became the accommodation of the beadles. The remaining rooms served as lecture and examination rooms, especially for Theology, Law, Literature and Philosophy.

Renovation into Faculty Club

In 1998, architect Jaap Dijkman was commissioned to renovate the premises into the Faculty Club. During that renovation, a Gothic painting from the late 15th century emerged under a beam from behind the stripped away plaster. The composite beam ceiling was painted in a historic bright red, as discovered during the building archaeological survey. Just as the entire Utrecht University Hall was to be given a more ceremonial and representative function in the late twentieth century, the Faculty Club would serve as the living room for the academic community.

Lustrum book 25 years Faculty Club

The rich history of the property, the experiences of our members and plans for the future. Extraordinary stories that deserve to be collected. In November, we will therefore present our lustrum book. Here you will read more about the history, (former) board members will tell their stories, members look back on their favourite activities and the Rector Magnificus dreams about an expansion at the Utrecht Science Park.

You can order your lustrum book now for only €12.50 each.

Order your lustrum book