NCSA Mosaic

Former legal status separate from the rest of the city of Utrecht. 

'De Uithof', what does it mean?

'De Uithof' was created on the former peat bog area between the rivers 'Kromme Rijn' and 'Vecht' on the one hand and the elevated 'Utrechtse heuvelrug' on the other. Up until around 1300 AC the area, known as 'Wildernisse' (literally: 'wilderness'); could not be penetrated easily. In 1122, the Utrecht bishop Godebald lent the area to Benedictine monks who built themselves a residence, the Abbey of St. Laurens at 'Oostbroek' ('Oost' = 'east' (of Utrecht) and 'broek' = boggy land). They initiated the cultivation of the area and started building farmhouses. The farms produced the food for the abbey. These farms were called 'uithoven' (plural of 'Uithof').

After 1122 the 'Hoofddijk' was extended towards the abbey at 'Oostbroek' and probably this road was the oldest paved road in the country. (Roman roads excluded.) The abbey's most influential period was in the 12th and 13th century; after that decline started. Around 1580 only 3 or 4 monks remained. In 1581 the buildings of the abbey were taken down. The possessions were taken over by the States of Utrecht and lent out.

In 1699 the States of Utrecht sold the most prominent farm 'De Uithof' thus introducing private ownership in the area. At its peak, the farm held 80 hectares of land. When the last private farmer, Antony (Teunis) van Scherpenzeel (1903 - 1967), a third generation inhabitant, left the farm in 1960, only 30 hectares remained. At the time, the 'Zandlaan', which passed the farm from Bunnik, was widely known as 'Laantje van Toon van Scherpenzeel'. Notorious by young lovers to find some quiet spots between the trees and shrubberies.

On May 1st, 1960, the farm was transferred to the university which used it as a farm for teaching purposes in the veterinary faculty until the 1980s. Since then the building has been used as a children's daycare centre. On January 25th 2004 the building, a national monument with thatched roof, burnt down. It has been rebuilt and reopened in 2006.

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