The Dom Tower (built between 1321 and 1382) is a distinguishing feature of Utrecht. It is 112.5 meters (368 feet) high and it can be climbed all the way. The Dom Tower is situated at the Dom square, less than a hundred yards from the entrance of University Hall where ISHS2014 is held. Originally, the tower was connected to a nave, which was destroyed in 1674 by a tornado See 2011 Science article on this storm. At the foot of the tower, you will find the Utrecht Tourist Office.Joost Cornelisz. Droochsloot, around 1630 (Centraal Museum, Utrecht)]
Utrecht University, established in 1636, has a long history and a rich tradition. Reminders of the University’s history can be found throughout the city, in the form of buildings, gardens and street names. Despite its focus on the future, Utrecht University does not lose sight of the past. The institution cherishes its history in the form of precious library collections, museums, accessible databases and active historiography. Utrecht University from the 7th-12th century, the 12th to 17th century, the 17th to 19th century and the 19th to 20th century.
The conference venue is University Hall, which is situated next to the Dom Tower in the medieval Museum Quarter of Utrecht. It consists of two main parts. The oldest part of the building is the Main Hall, which was built in 1462. This was originally a religious building used by catholic priests for their meetings. It was also the place where the Union of Utrecht was signed. This Union is considered to be the origin of the Dutch state, and the document that was signed is considered as its first constitution. University Hall, containing the main entrance, was built much later, in 1889 in a neo-classical style. The picture on the left shows University Hall seen from the Dom Tower, courtesy Willem van Driel.
Utrecht University is the only university of Utrecht but certainly not the only center of higher education in the city.It was founded in 1636 and it is one of the best research and teaching universities of The Netherlands. It is ranked as the best Dutch university in the Shanghai ranking (rank 52 in 2013). Utrecht University has always had strong bonds with the city and its inhabitants. Almost 30.000 students were enrolled in 2012, following 45 bachelor’s programmes and 75 master’s programmes. In the same year, 373 professors, 2828 other scientific staff and 2278 supportive staff were appointed. The university’s motto is Sol Iustitiae Illustra Nos (Let the Sun of Justice Enlighten Us). The leading strategic theme until 2016 is ‘Curiosity-driven, relevant to society’. Find more in An overall impression of 2012.
Utrecht started off in 47 AD as a Roman Castellum (fortress) called Traiectum. In 695 AD, it was redesigned by the catholic bishop Willibrord as a mission post. He used the post to convert the Netherlands. Until the 16th century Utrecht developed as one of the main cities in the country, both religiously and economically.