How the University of Twente Funds Foundation came into being


The story of the University of Twente actually goes all the way back to the years after World War II. At that time, practically everyone saw industrialization as a vitally important factor in the Dutch economy, and a committee set up by the Minister of Education recommended setting up a second university of applied sciences to function alongside what was then the Technical College of Delft. But where should that institution be founded? Twente started lobbying right away!

1948 saw the founding of the Stichting Technisch Hoger Onderwijs voor Noord- en Oost Nederland (Foundation for Technical Higher Education for the North and East of the Netherlands), the forerunner of today’s Twente University Fund. The businesses and local authorities involved in the foundation lobbied tirelessly for their region to get a university of applied sciences. They were convinced that an institution like that would boost employment and give their communities a sense of purpose. Although the minister ultimately opted to set up the new technical college in Eindhoven, it was clear very soon after it opened in 1956 that even with this second institute it was impossible to meet the explosive demand for engineers.

So the lobbying efforts resumed with a vengeance, revealing significant support among both local residents and businesses. In fact, a serious amount of money was spontaneously collected within just five days from a great many businesses and well-wishers. Partly as a result of these efforts, the government eventually decided to approve Technische Hogeschool Twente (‘Twente Technical College’). In the words of Minister of Education Jo Cals, ‘The powers of persuasion that were deployed […] to call for a technical college to be established on the Drienerlo estate, together with the self-sacrifice shown by industry actors and other businesses, give the undersigned reason to expect that, regarding the founding of a technical college in Twente, strong support can be expected from the local authorities and the population of this area.’


The canon is constantly evolving and is open to debate and discussion. Is there an event, feature or key person you think should be included?

Add your own story!