The Fourth WINIR Conference was held in the beautiful city of Utrecht, the capital of the province of the same name in the Netherlands.
Utrecht was founded by the Romans roughly in 50 CE, and from the 8th century became the center of Dutch Christianity. In 1024 its bishops were made Princes of the Holy Roman Empire, with the resulting Prince-Bishopric of Utrecht lasting until 1528. In 1713 Utrecht hosted one of the first international peace negotiations when the Treaty of Utrecht settled the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1768 a revolt againt Phillip II of Spain and the persecution of Protestants initiated the Dutch War of Independence, during which the seven northern provinces joined forces in the Union of Utrecht. The Dutch Republic was formed in 1781, but it succumbed to French revolutionary forces in the 1790s. Independence from France followed from the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814, and the current Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed following Belgium’s independence in 1830.
Today Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the country, with a population in excess of 300,000. With its medieval city center, its unique wharf terraces and the iconic Dom Tower, and thanks to fast and frequent railway connections to many cities in the Netherlands, Utrecht offers an unique experience to visitors. It is a modern and vibrant city, with contemporary art at the Central Museum, many new start-up stores, a large young population, and the second highest number of cultural events in the Netherlands. More information here.
The conference was held in the city center on the grounds of Utrecht University, one of the leading research universities in the Netherlands founded in 1636. The university is home to 30,000 students and 6,300 staff. Given that the strategic theme “Institutions for Open Societies” is one of the university’s main research pillars, organised around a multidisciplinary knowledge centre comprising scholars from economics, history, public administration, law, sociology, ethics, innovation studies, and geography, it was the perfect host for the conference. All conference sessions took place at the Utrecht University Hall, just a few steps away from the Dom Tower.