Organic-Chemical and Hygienic laboratory
Former scientific laboratory of Nobel prize winners — This beautiful building is regarded as one of the prettiest buildings along the imposing Catharijnesingel. Tucked in between modern-day government institutes such as the District Court Midden-Nederland on the left and the Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority on the right, you will find this wonderful façade behind which hugely important experiments were conducted.
The former Organic-Chemical and Hygienic laboratory was built in 1893 and commissioned by the Government Buildings Agency for Utrecht University. The monumental building was designed by the Dutch architect Jacobus van Lokhorst, who in addition to realising this building for Utrecht University also delivered various other buildings such as the Technical University Delft and parts of Leiden University. The architectural style of this former laboratory is Neo-Renaissance as you can tell by the horizontal stripes running across the building and by the step gables.
The building first served as a workshop for ‘inorganic chemistry, hygiene and forensic medicine’, as can be read from the text above the door. In this laboratory these disciplines came together, and some pioneering research was conducted. Partly due to the research on vitamins he performed in this laboratory, the Dutch bacteriologist and nutritionist Christiaan Eijkman was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1929. Eijkman’s successor, Ludwig Karl Wolff, continued this research and together with pharmaceutical company Organon he founded Davitamon. The jars of vitamins this company produces are still a household name!
For forty years, the laboratory remained in this building until it moved to the Croeselaan in Utrecht in 1932. Nowadays, the building is not used a laboratory anymore, but is part of the District Court Midden-Nederland and serves as a courtroom.