Relief portraits of famous Utrecht professors. Do you recognize anyone?

Probably not...

On the gable you can see the portraits of Utrecht professors. It would be impressive if you recognized any of them. The names might sound familiar though.  Many streets and buildings have been named after them.

  • Christophorus Buys Ballot (1817-1890): mathematician, physicist and founder of the KNMI
  • Franciscus Cornelis Donders (1818-1889): physician and founder of ophthalmologic research
  • Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676): theologist
  • Antonius Matthaeus (1601-1654): law scholar
  • Willem van der Straten (1593-1681): physician and founder of the medical clinic in Utrecht
  • Arnold Drakenborch (1684-1748): Latin scholar and philosopher
  • Philip Willem van Heusde (1778-1839): philosopher and founder of the Socratic school in Utrecht
  • Jodocus Heringa (1765-1840): theologian and rector magnificus
  • Gerardus Johannes Mulder (1802-1890): mathematician, physicist, founder of modern-day chemistry education
  • A.C. Holtius (1786-1861): law scholar; expert on Roman law and trade law

Not just outside, also indoors...

Another place that you will find portraits of professors is the Senaatszaal (Senate Hall). The Senaatszaal was where professors organized meetings under the supervision of the rector magnificus. The main subjects of these meetings were education and research, teaching facilities and student affairs.

And portraits of women

Since 2017, the Johanna Westerdijk centenary year, the University Hall has also had portraits of female professors in room1636 (the year in which the university was established). Johanna Westerdijk became the first female Dutch professor in 1917 at Utrecht University, where she delivered her oration.


The building contains 19 rooms and halls and has an extraordinary interior, including this stained-glass window depicting Saint Martin, the patron saint of Utrecht. The University Hall also offers various guided tours of the building, check out

Students in the Resistance

In 1942, five students performed a heroic act of resistance. In those days, all student records were kept in the University Hall. The students decided to burn the records to prevent the automatic deportation of Jewish students. The statue of Hermes in the corridor, on the left as you come in, reminds us of this as it is missing a leg, which melted during the fire!

Time Machine
© 2023 Utrecht Time Machine
Geolocation is not supported by this browser
You have denied the use of geolocation
Geolocation information is unavailable
Geolocation request timed out
An unknown error occurred
Time Machine