Utrecht University looks to the future, without losing sight of the past.

Established in 1636, Utrecht University has a long history and is rich in tradition. The history of Utrecht University is reflected in the buildings, gardens and street names across the city.


Utrecht University actually has its origins in the 7th century, but it was not until the 17th century that the City Council officially made this Illustere School ('Illustrious School') into a university. It was officially opened on 26 March 1636, which remains the Anniversary Day or Dies Natalis to this day. Read more about the history of Utrecht University.

Academic tradition

In September of each year, the traditional opening of the Academic Year is held in the city's Dom Church. The Dies Natalis, the Anniversary Day of Utrecht University, is also celebrated there on 26 March. As part of university tradition, a special anniversary, or lustrum, is held every five years. In 2016, Utrecht University will celebrate its 380th anniversary.

Specials occasions

Utrecht University also holds special events such as the Koningsberger lecture and a ceremony marking Memorial Day on 4 May.

Awards and distinctions

Utrecht University presents various awards and distinctions for people who have been of service to the University.