Een kleine en kwetsbare instelling: een geschiedenis van de Universiteit Twente, 1961-2011

Jorrit de Boer

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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The history of universities can be approached in several ways. Traditionally, an institutional approach was used, in which particular attention was given to matters concerning administration and management. The university itself was considered to be an autonomous intstitution. Other approaches, pay more attention to the environment in which the university operates. The approach used in this dissertation derives from the history of ideas: I want to show why the THT was founded, which ideas were decisive for the design of the technical university, and how it evolved over the last fifty years from a purely technical university to an entrepreneurial research university. At a theoretical level, I consider the university as an internally differentiated system that is trying, in various ways, to distinguish itself from and repond to its environment. Shortly after the Second World War the Dutch need for engineers was beyond dispute. Engineers were deemed necessary for the reconstruction and industrialization of the Netherlands. To meet this need, the TH Delft was expanded, and, in 1956, a new university of technology, the TH Eindhove, was founded. However, there was already speculation about a possible third university of technology, which would be located in the eastern part of the country. The candidate cities of Deventer and Enschede possessed the best papers. In 1961, Minister Cals chose in favour of Enschede and the Drienerlo estate situated. Already in September 1964, the first students would come. A preparatory committee, which had been installed by the minister, worked on the creation of a university of technology which would differ in several ways of the other institutions of higher education in the Netherlands. Initially, the curriculum offered mechanical engineering, chemical engineering and electrical engineering. Considering the overall development of future engineers, also a division of general science was founded. Experiments were undertaken with a baccalaureate degree, a general foundations course, integration of the social sciences within engineering education, a campus and a different form of university governance. After an initial success, all the experiments were terminated one by one. The number of courses and departments expanded over the years. Partly as a result of changing laws and regulations, the university board was forced to adapt and change the profile of the university. cores, after this as the ’entrepreneurial university’, and now as a research university of international stature. Hence, the idea of the University of Twente has always been pursued in changing ways and its history can be seen as a continuous search for new characteristics, new identities, or — perhaps even better — as a continuous redesign.
Original languageDutch
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Drukker, J.W., Supervisor
  • Eger, Arthur O., Supervisor
Award date24 Nov 2011
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3255-6
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2011


  • IR-78496
  • METIS-283094

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