'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' (litterally: '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 farmer, Teunis van Scherpenzeel, a third generation
inhabitant, left the farm in 1960, only 30 hectares remained.
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 reopend in 2006.
'De Uithof', picture taken March 18, 1962