Delft University of Technology

Delft University of Technology
Delft University of Technology
Technische Universiteit Delft
Delft University of Technology seal.png
Motto Challenge the Future
Established January 8, 1842[1]
Type Public, Technical
Endowment 382.7 million[2]
President Dirk J. van den Berg[3]
Rector Prof. Ir. Karel Ch.A.M. Luyben[3]
Academic staff 2,683[4]
Admin. staff 1,905[4]
Students 16,427[5]
Undergraduates 10,857[5]
Postgraduates 5,524[5]
Doctoral students 1,839[6]
Location Delft, South Holland, Netherlands
52°0′6″N 4°22′21″E / 52.00167°N 4.3725°E / 52.00167; 4.3725Coordinates: 52°0′6″N 4°22′21″E / 52.00167°N 4.3725°E / 52.00167; 4.3725
Campus Urban
Former names Koninklijke Akademie van Delft, Polytechnische School van Delft, Technische Hoogeschool van Delft
Nobel Laureates Jacobus van 't Hoff, Simon van der Meer, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes
Colors Cyan, Black and White[7]
TU Delft Logo

Delft University of Technology (Dutch: Technische Universiteit Delft), also known as TU Delft, is the largest and oldest Dutch public technical university, located in Delft, Netherlands. With eight faculties and numerous research institutes[8] it hosts over 16,000 students (undergraduate and postgraduate),[5] more than 2,600 scientists[4] (including more than 200 professors),[4] over 2,000 doctoral students,[6] and more than 2,000 people in the support and management staff.[4]

The university was established on January 8, 1842 by King William II of the Netherlands as a Royal Academy, with the main purpose of training civil servants for the colonies of the Dutch East India Company. The school rapidly expanded its research and education curriculum, becoming first a Polytechnic School in 1864, Institute of Technology in 1905, and finally gaining full university rights in 1986.[9]

Nobel laureates Jacobus van 't Hoff, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and Simon van der Meer have been associated with TU Delft. TU Delft is a member of several university federations including the IDEA League, CESAER, UNITECH, and 3TU.



Royal Academy (1842–1864)

King William II of the Netherlands, founder of Royal Academy in Delft.

Delft University of Technology was founded on January 8, 1842 by King William II of the Netherlands as Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers, for serving both nation and industry, and of apprentices for trade.[9] One of the purposes of the academy was to educate civil servants for the colonies of the Dutch East India Company. The first director of the academy was Antoine Lipkens, constructor of the first Dutch optical telegraph, called simply as Lipkens. Royal Academy had its first building located at Oude Delft 95 Street in Delft. On May 23, 1863 an Act was passed imposing regulations on technical education in the Netherlands, bringing it under the rules of secondary education.

Polytechnic School (1864–1905)

On June 20, 1864, Royal Academy in Delft was disbanded by a Royal Decree, giving a way to a Polytechnic School of Delft (Politechnische School van Delft). The newly formed school educated engineers of various fields and architects, so much needed during the rapid industrialization period in the 19th century.

Institute of Technology (1905–1986)

Yet another Act, passed on May 22, 1905, changed the name of the school to Technische College (Institute) of Delft (Technische Hogeschool Delft), emphasizing the academic quality of the education. Polytechnic was granted university rights and was allowed to award academic degrees. The number of students reached 450 around that time. The official opening of the new school was attended by Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands on July 10, 1905. First dean of the newly established College was ir. J. Kraus, hydraulic engineer. Corporate rights were granted to the College on June 7, 1956. Most of the university buildings during that time were located within Delft city center, with some of the buildings set on the side of the river Schie, in the Wippolder district.

Student organizations grew together with the university. The first to be established on March 22, 1848 is the Delftsch Studenten Corps housed in the distinctive Sociëteit Phoenix on the Phoenixstraat. This was followed by the de Delftsche Studenten Bond (est. October 30, 1897) and the KSV Sanctus Virgilius (est. March 2, 1898). In 1917 Proof Garden for Technical Plantation (Dutch: Cultuurtuin voor Technische Gewassen) was established by Gerrit van Iterson, which today is known as Botanical Garden of TU Delft. In that period a first female professor, Toos Korvezee, was appointed.

Delft University of Technology (1986–present)

After the end of the Second World War, TU Delft increased its rapid academic expansion. Studium Generale was established at all universities in the Netherlands, including TU Delft, to promote a free and accessible knowledge related to culture, technology, society and science. Because of the increasing number of students, in 1974 the first Reception Week for First Year Students (Ontvangst Week voor Eerstejaar Studenten, OWEE) was established, which became a TU Delft tradition since then.

On September 1, 1986 Delft Institute of Technology officially changed its name to Delft University of Technology, underlining the quality of the education and research provided by the institution. In the course of further expansion, in 1987 Delft Top Tech[10] institute was established, which provided a professional master education in management for people working in the technology-related companies. On September 1, 1997 13 faculties of TU Delft were merged into 9, providing better efficiency in management of the increasing in size university. In the early 1990s, because of an overwhelming outnumbering of female students by men, an initiative to increase the number of women studying at the university resulted in founding a separate emancipation commission at TU Delft. As a result Girls Study Technology (Meiden studeren techniek) days were established. In later years the responsibilities of the commission were distributed over multiple institutes.

The university's former main building has hosted the Faculty of Architecture since 2008.

Since 2006 all buildings of the university are placed outside of the historical city center of Delft. Relatively new building of Material Sciences department was sold, later demolished in 2007 to give place for a newly built building of the Haagse Hogeschool. Closer cooperation between TU Delft and Dutch universities of applied sciences resulted in physical transition of some of the institutes from outside to Delft. In September 2009 many institutes of applied sciences from the Hague region as well as Institute of Applied Sciences in Rijswijk, transferred to Delft, close to the location of the university, at the square between Rotterdamseweg street and Leeghwaterstraat street.

On May 13, 2008, a huge fire, presumably from the ruptured water pipe which short circuited a coffee machine in the building, completely destroyed the building of Faculty of Architecture. Luckily, architecture library, containing several thousands of books and maps, as well many architecture models, including chairs by Gerrit Rietveld and Le Corbusier, was completely saved. Currently, Faculty of Architecture has moved to the old Aula of TU Delft.

2007 marks the moment when three Dutch technical universities, TU Delft, TU Eindhoven and University of Twente, established a federation, called 3TU.

Through the course of the years the logo of TU Delft changed, as its official name did. The current logo is based on three official university colors cyan, black and white.[7] Letter "T" bearers on top a stylized flame, remembering the flame that Prometheus brought from Mount Olympus to the people, against the will of Zeus. Prometheus, is sometimes considered as the first ever engineer, since he brought the knowledge to mortals about fire which they did not possess, and is an important symbol for the university. Its statue stands in the center of the newly renovated TU Delft campus, Mekelpark.


Initially, all of the university buildings were located in the historic city centre of Delft. This changed in the second half of the 20th century with relocations to a separate university neighborhood. The last university building in the historic centre of Delft was the university library, which was relocated to a new building in 1997. On the September 12, 2006 the design of the new university neighborhood, Mekelpark, was officially approved,[11] giving a green light to the transformation of the area around the Mekelweg street (the main road on the university terrain) into a new campus heart. The new park replaced the main access road and redirect car traffic around the campus, making the newly created park a safer place for bicycles and pedestrians.


Entrance to the Mekelpark, with the statue of Prometheus, university's symbol.

New university neighborhood called Mekelpark (its name commemorating former TU Delft professor, working at the former mining department during the Second World War, Jan Mekel) was opened on July 5, 2009. Mekelpark replaced old parking structures, bike lanes and gas station, constructed between faculty buildings of the university in the late 1950s. Its 832-meter-long promenade eased the commute between faculty buildings. Both sides of the promenade are covered by stone benches, 1547 meters long in total.[11] Some of the university buildings around the Mekelpark deserve certain attention.


TU Delft Aula.

TU Delft Aula was designed by Van den Broek en Bakema architecture bureau founded by two TU Delft alumni Jo van den Broek and Jaap Bakema. It was officially opened on 6 January 1966 by Dutch Prime Minister Jo Cals. It is a classical example of a structure built in Brutalist style. TU Delft Aula, which symbolically opens the Mekelpark, houses main university restaurant and store, as well as lecture halls, auditoria, congress center, and administrative offices of the university. All doctoral promotion, honoris causa ceremonies, as well as academic senate meetings take place in the Aula.


The snow-covered grass roof of the TU Delft library.

The TU Delft Library, constructed in 1997, was designed by Delft-based Mecanoo architecture bureau. It is located behind university aula. The roof of the library is covered with grass, which serves as a natural insulation. The structure lifts from the ground on one side allowing to walk to the top of the building. The library is topped by the steel cone, giving its unique shape. The wall, opposite to the Aula is completely filled with glass. The library has won the Dutch National Steel Price in 1998 in the category buildings of steel and hybrid constructions.

Cultural and Sports Center

TU Delft Cultural Center (Cultureel Centrum) is located at Mekelweg 10 street, at the edge of the Mekelpark, opposite of the Aula. It was designed by architect Vera Yanovshtchinsky and opened to TU Delft student's and staff in 1995.

TU Delft Musea

Three musea are associated with the university: Science Centre Delft,[12] Mineralogy-geology museum and Beijerinck en Kluyver archive.[13]

Science Centre Delft was opened in September 2010 and is located at Mijnbouwstraat 120 in Delft. Science Center Delft is a successor of Technical Exhibition Center. [14] Technical Exhibition Center was established by a group of TU Delft professors with the aim of presenting the recent advances in technology to a wider audience. Parts of the collection were shown outside of Delft: in the Netherlands and abroad, including Israel and Czech Republic. The collection was permanently hosted in the building of former department of geodesy. The historical collections of Technical Exhibition Center were moved Delft Museum of Technology, located at Ezelsveldlaan street, in the buildings of the former department of naval architecture (Werktuig- en Scheepsbouwkunde), next to the city center of Delft. As Delft city council together with TU Delft decided to move the collection close to the university campus (currently the building of the former museum are transformed into lofts), Science Centre Delft shows visitors current TU Delft research projects are available, including Eco Runner and Nuna.

Beijerinck en Kluyver archive hosts a collection of documents, exhibits and memorabilia of two scientists historically connected with the university.

Mineralogy-geology museum is a part of Civil Engineering and Geosciences and contains around 200,000 geological, mineralogical and crystallographical items divided into numerous sub-collections. The oldest items date back to 1842 when the TU Delft (then Delft Royal Academy) was established.

Botanical Garden

TU Delft botanical garden dates back to 1917, where Proof Garden for Technical Plantation (Dutch: Cultuurtuin voor Technische Gewassen) was established[15] by Gerrit van Iterson Jr., TU Delft graduate and assistant to Martinus Beijerinck.[16] Iterson Jr. was the first director of the garden until 1948. Creation of botanical gardens at TU Delft was partially a result of the increasing needs of systematized development of tropical agriculture in then Dutch colony of Dutch East Indies.[16] Currently, the garden is located behind historical buildings of the university, at Julianalaan street in Delft, right next to old microbiology laboratory of Beijerinck. Over 7000 different species of plants, including tropical and subtropical plants, herbs, and ornamental plants cover the area of almost 2.5 ha.[15] Furthermore, more than 2000 unique species are preserved in university's greenhouses. All facilities of TU Delft botanical garden are open to the public.


TU Delft comprises eight faculties.[17] These are (official Dutch name and faculty abbreviation are given in brackets): Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering (3mE) (Werktuigbouwkunde, Maritieme Techniek & Technische Materiaalwetenschappen (3mE)), Architecture (A) (Bouwkunde (BK)), Civil Engineering and Geosciences (CEG) (Civiele Techniek en Geowetenschappen (CiTG)), Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) (Elektrotechniek, Wiskunde en Informatica (EWI)), Industrial Design Engineering (IDE) (Industrieel Ontwerpen (IO)), Aerospace Engineering (AE) (Luchtvaart- en Ruimtevaarttechniek (LR)), Technology, Policy and Management (Techniek, Bestuur en Management (TBM)), and Applied Sciences (AS) (Technische Natuurwetenschappen (TNW)).

Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science viewed from the Civil Engineering department.

Since 2004 TU Delft education system is divided into three tiers: bachelor, master and doctorate. Academic year is divided into two semesters: first semester from September until January and second semester from the end of January until July. Most of the lectures are available through OpenCourseWare on

Bachelor-level Studies

As of 2010 TU Delft offers 14 BSc programmes.[18] TU Delft students obtain their degree after a three-year study. The test project finalizes the BSc studies. All BSc programmes are taught in Dutch, except for Aerospace Engineering programme, which is taught in Dutch and English.[19]

Master-level Studies

As of 2010 TU Delft offers around 40 MSc programmes. The MSc studies take two years to complete. First year is devoted to theoretical studies, assignments and laboratory work. Second year is dedicated to research work, internships and thesis preparation.[20]

TU Delft adopted European Credit Transfer System, where each year MSc student are required to obtain 60 ECTS points. Study progress of each TU Delft MSc student is monitored through faculty counsellor. An honors track exists for motivated MSc students, who obtained a mark of 7.5 or higher (in Dutch grading scale) and did not fail any courses. This track, associated with 30 ECTS points, is taken alongside regular MSc programme and must be related to student's regular degree courses or the role of technology in society. The honors track must be completed within the allowed time for MSc programme.

MSc programmes are also offered through 3TU federation, Erasmus Mundus programmes, and through IDEA League joint MSc programmes.

Doctoral-level Studies

Typical photo following a TU Delft doctoral defense. The Promovendus (center) is accompanied by two Paranymphs. Madame Bedel is on the left, holding the staff. The red tube holds the doctoral diploma. The Promovendus, as well as the Paranymphs must wear white ties, while all professors in the defense committee wear togas.

Doctoral studies at TU Delft are divided in two phases. First phase, one-year long, serves as a test during which doctoral candidate must prove that he is capable performing research on a doctoral level. If the candidate passed the evaluation performed by his/her promotor, then during the next three years candidate performs research which must be finalized by submitting a doctoral dissertation. Doctoral thesis is evaluated by doctoral committee composed of TU Delft professors and academics outside of the university (within and outside of the Netherlands). Once the thesis is revised and comments of the committee members are applied, the candidate can approach the formal doctoral defense. In contrast to USA doctoral-level studies, doctoral candidate does not follow any lectures nor pass additional exams, instead he/she focuses solely on research.

Doctoral Defense

Doctoral defense is of ceremonial nature. It lasts exactly for an hour, during which doctoral candidate must answer all questions from every committee member. Sometimes doctoral candidate is accompanied by one or two Paranymphs, who theoretically might help defend a question asked by a committee member. The defense is ended by Bedel, who enters a senate room, holding a university staff and says in Latin It's time (Latin: Hora Est). After that committee moves to a separate room to decide whether to grant a doctorate or not. After that committee moves back to a room where a defense is held, introduced by a Bedel, and if the doctorate is granted promotor presents laudation praising a new doctor. All ceremony is chaired by a rector or its representative. Doctoral defense at TU Delft is public.

Other degree programmes

TU Delft also offers Professional Doctorate in Engineering.


Research Institutes

Building of Reactor Institute Delft.

TU Delft has three officially recognized research institutes: Research Institute for Housing, Urban and Mobility Studies,[21] International Research Centre for Telecommunications-transmission and Radar,[22] and Reactor Institute Delft.[23] Apart of those three institutes TU Delft hosts numerous smaller research institutes, including Delft Institute of Microelectronics and Submicron Technology,[24] Kavli Institute of Nanoscience,[25] Netherlands Institute of Metals Research[26] (now part of Materials innovation institute[27]), Delft Centre for Aviation,[28] Delft Centre for Engineering Design,[29] Delft Institute of Earth Observation and Space Systems,[30] Delft University Wind Energy Research Institute,[31] International Research Institute for Simulation, Motion and Navigation Technologies.[32] Full list of research schools is available on TU Delft website.[8]

Research Schools

Vital part of Dutch university system are research schools. They combine cutting-edge education, training and research for PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers in a given field. The main goal of the research schools is to coordinate nationwide research programs in a given area. Research schools of TU Delft cooperate with other universities in the Netherlands. Research schools are required to have an accreditation of Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. TU Delft is taking the lead in ten research schools, and participates in nine. The full list of research schools affiliated with TU Delft is available on TU Delft website,[8] see for example TRAIL Research School.


During an academic year TU Delft publishes a weekly magazine TU Delta,[33] which aims at student and employee community of the university. The newspaper is predominantly in Dutch, with last few pages published in English. TU Delta is distributed freely in paper form over the campus and is also available for free on the Internet. Articles focus mainly on current university affairs and student life. Weekly agenda including PhD promotions, inaugural lectures, etc. is also published therein.

Also, approximately four times a year TU Delft publishes a magazine devoted only to research conducted by the university, called Delft Outlook.[34] Delft Outlook is published in English, while the same content is published in Dutch in Delft Integraal magazine. Both magazines present interviews with TU Delft researchers, university officials. Columns of some university professors are published therein, as well as alumni letters and excerpts from recently published PhD theses.


TU Delft is governed by the executive board (College van Bestuur),[3] controlled and advised by student council, workers council, board of professors, board of doctorates, assistant staff office, committee for the application of the allocation model, operational committee, advisory council for quality and accreditation, deans of each TU Delft faculty, and directors of TU Delft research centers, research schools and research institutes.[35]

Executive board is chaired academically by the Rector Magnificus. The currently appointed Rector Magnificus, Prof. Dr. Karel Ch.A.M. Luyben[3] holds his position since 2010. Previous Rectors of TU Delft include Prof. K.F. Wakker (1993–1997 and 1998–2002), Prof. J. Blauwendraad (1997–1998) and Prof. J.T. Fokkema (2002–2010). Executive board is accountable to the Supervisory Board, appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science. One of the many tasks of executive board is the approval of management regulations.

Board of professors advises in the matter of academic quality, deciding on the selection of guest lecturers, research fellows as well as revising proposals submitted for royal honors for professors. Board of doctorates appoints supervisors for PhD students, forms promotion committees, determines promotional code, and confers PhD and doctorate Honoris Causa degrees. Committee for the application of the allocation model reports to the executive board regarding allocation model. Further, it controls output data supplied to the executive board. Operational committee is composed of members of the executive board and the s. The committee collaborates on the issues of general importance, related in part to the specific interests of the faculties, and strengthens the unity of the university overall.

Student life

Student life at TU Delft is organized around numerous student societies and corporations. They can be generally categorized into professional societies, social societies and sport societies. More than half of TU Delft students belong to a officially recognized society[1].

Building of the Koornbeurs Society in the old town of Delft.

There are two student parties at TU Delft: ORAS[36] (Organisatie Rationele Studenten) and AAG[37] (Afdelings Actie Groepen). AAG started as an action group of students in the 1960s, willing to have more impact on the quality of education at then Polytechnic Institute Delft. ORAS became active in the earl 1970s as a counter-balance to AAG. Currently those two parties are competing each year for seats in TU Delft's Students Council (Studenten Raad). Further, all student organizations of TU Delft are associated with The Council of Student Societies Delft VeRa (De VerenigingsRaad) and The Society for Study and Student Matters Delft VSSD (Vereniging voor Studie- en Studentenbelangen Delft).

Apart from bachelor and master student organizations, PhD students of TU Delft have their own organization called Promood (PhD Students Discussion Group Delft) (Promovendi Overleg Delft), which represents TU Delft PhD students at then university. It is also a member of Dutch PhD Students Network (Promovendi Netwerk Nederland).

Each faculty of TU Delft has its own set of professional student organizations. Numerous societies are present at the university,[38] many of them with rich traditions, customs and history. For example aerospace engineering department hosts Foundation for Students in Airplane Development, Manufacturing and Management (Stichting Studenten Vliegtuigontwikkeling, -bouw en -beheer), while civil engineering department Society for Practical Studies. International professional student organizations are also present at TU Delft, including European Association of Aerospace Students.

Apart from professional student societies, students organize themselves only for the purpose of enriching their social life. Many of the societies have sectarian roots, like a catholic Wolbodo Student Society, Katholieke Studentenvereniging Sanctus Virgilius Delft, Sint Jansbrug, that during the course of the years lost the religious affiliations and accepts students from any denomination. Also organization that has its roots in Rover Scout movement Delftsche Zwervers (at the same time the oldest scouting group in the world) is present or local branch of the European AEGEE.

Student sports are organized around clubs, that focus mostly on single discipline. Those include rowing club Proteus-Eretes (with many Olympic medals won by the members of the club) or American football club Delft Dragons.


Nuna 5, from a series of Nuna solar-powered cars that won the World Solar Challenge four times, constructed by the students of TU Delft.

TU Delft researchers developed many new technologies used today, including Glare, a Fibre Metal Laminate used in Airbus A380 skin and Vision in Product Design design method. Cees Dekker's lab at TU Delft demonstrated in 1998 the first transistor made out of single nanotube molecule. Delta Works plan was, in part, a child of TU Delft graduates, including Johan Ringers and Victor de Blocq van Kuffeler. TU Delft was a precursor of Open design concept.

In architecture, TU Delft is famous for Traditionalist School in Dutch architecture. TU Delft was a home to many prominent microbiologists including Martinus Beijerinck, who in 1898 discovered viruses while working at TU Delft, and Albert Jan Kluyver, father of comparative microbiology, which resulted in the creation of so-called Delft School of Microbiology.

Some recent projects being developed at the university include Flame, first humanoid robot possessing the ability to walk as humans, Superbus, project aiming to design a high speed busses reaching the speeds of 250 km/h, Nuna, solar-powered race car and four times winner of the World Solar Challenge, DUT Racing, electrical Formula Student project having won multiple competitions, Delfly, Micro air vehicle and the smallest ornithopter so far fitted with a camera, Fhybrid, world's first hydrogen-powered scooter, Tribler, an open source peer-to-peer client with online TV functionalities, Delfi-C3, CubeSat satellite constructed by TU Delft students, Greenchoice Forze, hydrogen fuel cell-powered racing car, as well as Eco-Runner vehicle participating in Eco-marathon.



TU Delft is a male-dominated institution. In 2009 among all students of the university (MSc and BSc level) only 20% were women. The biggest imbalance between men and women is experienced by Mechanical engineering and Aerospace Engineering faculty, while the smallest is seen at Industrial Design and Architecture departments.[39] Despite many efforts of the university to change that imbalance, the number of women studying at TU Delft stays relatively constant over the years.[39]

TU Delft student body demographics[6][39][40]
2009 2008
PhD Students (total) 2,027 (increase) 1,839
PhD Students (men) 1,474 (increase) 1,356
PhD Students (women) 547 (increase) 482
MSc and BSc students (total) 16,427 (increase) 15,321
MSc and BSc students (foreign) 2,236 (increase) 2,110
MSc and BSc students (women) 3,351 (increase) 3079
BSc students (total) 10,857 (increase) 10,082
MSc students (total) 5,524 (increase) 5,151
Undivided students (total) 46 (decrease) 88

Since 2002 the number of students admitted to TU Delft increases rapidly (from approximately 2,200 in 2002 to almost 3,700 in 2009).[40] The same applies to the total student population (from approximately 13,250 in 2002 to almost 16,500 in 2009).[40]

Number of international students also increases steadily.[41] Approximately half of the international students are European, among them the biggest group comes from (in decreasing order, number of students admitted in 2009): Belgium (approximately 340 students), Germany (approximately 100 students), Greece (approximately 100 students), and Italy (approximately 100 students). Among non-Europeans, the biggest nationality group comes from China (approximately 340 students; the number of Chinese and Belgian newly admitted students is relatively equal since 2003), then Iran (approximately 150 students), India (approximately 140 students), Suriname (approximately 100 students), Indonesia (approximately 80 students) and Turkey (approximately 80 students),.[41] Large number of students from Suriname and Indonesia can be admitted to historical ties between those two countries and the Netherlands, as both of them were the former Dutch colonies. Interestingly, due to TU Delft presence, the city of Delft has one of the biggest population of Iranians in the whole Netherlands. It resulted in one of the biggest Iranian opposition centers against Iranian government in Europe,[42] with many protests organized at TU Delft campus by Iranian TU Delft students during 2009 Iranian Election Protests. The biggest number of international students studies at Aerospace Engineering and Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science departments.


Currently TU Delft is a home to 227 faculty,[4] with more than 2,500 academic staff.[4] The responsibility of TU Delft professors is lecturing, guiding undergraduate and graduate students, as well as performing original research in their respective fields.

Many notable people were TU Delft faculty. In science, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, a 1913 Nobel Laureate in physics, a discoverer of superconductivity, was a former TU Delft faculty member, working as an assistant to Johannes Bosscha. Discoverer of the Prins reaction Hendrik Jacobus Prins, co-founders of National Research Institute for Mathematics and Computer Science Hendrik Anthony Kramers and David van Dantzig, developer of crystal bar process Jan Hendrik de Boer, discoverer of particle spin Ralph Kronig, discoverer of Einstein–de Haas effect Wander Johannes de Haas and discoverer of element Hafnium Dirk Coster, all were at some point the faculty members of the university. Faculty members of Delft School of Microbiology were the founder of modern microbiology Martinus Beijerinck and the father of comparative microbiology Albert Jan Kluyver.

In engineering, the inventor of penthode and gyrator Bernard Tellegen and Balthasar van der Pol developer of Van der Pol oscillator, were TU Delft faculty. Currently Vic Hayes, and the father of Wi-Fi, is affiliated with the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management. STS-61A of the Space Shuttle Challenger crew member Wubbo Ockels is currently a professor of Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, Delft University of Technology. TU Delft faculty geologist were Berend George Escher, Johannes Herman Frederik Umbgrove, discoverer of Bushveld complex Gustaaf Adolf Frederik Molengraaff and discoverer of gravity anomalies above the sea level Felix Andries Vening Meinesz.

Since TU Delft is a home to a major architecture school in the Netherlands, many important architects were a faculty of the university, including Hein de Haan, founder of Traditionalist School in Architecture Marinus Jan Granpré Molière, Bent Flyvbjerg, co-founder of Mecanoo architects bureau Francine Houben, co-founder of MVRDV architects bureau Winy Maas and Nathalie de Vries, co-founder of Team 10 Jacob B. Bakema and Aldo van Eyck, as well as Herman Hertzberger and Jo Coenen. Some notable designers were faculty of TU Delft, including Paul Mijksenaar, developer of visual information systems for JFK, LaGuardia and Schiphol airports.

Political figures that were faculty of TU Delft include former mayor of Lisbon Carmona Rodrigues and the first Dutch prime minister of the Netherlands after the second world war Wim Schermerhorn.


Two TU Delft alumni were awarded Nobel Prize: Jacobus van 't Hoff awarded first Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1901 for his work with Solution and Simon van der Meer awarded Nobel Prize in physics in 1984 for his work on stochastic cooling.

Some of the mathematicians include Jan Arnoldus Schouten, contributor to the tensor calculus. Chemists and TU Delft alumni include Willem Alberda van Ekenstein, Dutch chemist and discoverer of Lobry-de Bruyn-van Ekenstein transformation. TU Delft alumni and computer scientists include Adriaan van Wijngaarden, developer of Van Wijngaarden grammar and co-designer of ALGOL. Famous TU Delft alumni electrical engineers include Jaap Haartsen, developer of Bluetooth.

Political figures that studied at TU Delft include Karien van Gennip, Dutch secretary of state for economic affairs, Anton Mussert, Dutch politician of the Second World War era and founder of National Socialist Movement in the Netherlands, Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan nuclear program, and Dutch politician Wim Dik. Famous TU Delft alumni architects include Erick van Egeraat, Herman Hertzberger and Hein de Haan. Dutch designers that graduated at TU Delft include Alexandre Horowitz, designer of Philishave, and Adrian van Hooydonk, Dutch automobile designer and head of design at BMW.

TU Delft alumni executives include Jeroen van der Veer, former CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, Frits Philips, fourth chairman of the board of directors of Philips and Gerard Philips, co-founder of Philips.

Other interesting TU Delft alumni include Lodewijk van den Berg, Dutch-American payload specialist on STS-51B mission and Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, member of the Dutch Royal Family. Other interesting figures that studied at TU Delft were mathematician Diederik Korteweg, responsible for Korteweg–de Vries equation, who studied at TU Delft before moving to University of Amsterdam and painter Maurits Cornelis Escher who studied at TU Delft for a year. Thomas Jan Stieltjes, co-developer of Riemann–Stieltjes integral studied at TU Delft but never passed his final exams.

TU Delft alumni who are currently a faculty of other universities include Wilhelmus Luxemburg, Dutch mathematician and California Institute of Technology professor, as well as Walter Lewin, Dutch physicist, Alexander van Oudenaarden, Dutch biophysicist, who both are currently MIT professors.

Honoris Causa Laureates

In 1906 TU Delft obtained the right to award PhD degrees. This also marked the date since when university was able to award honorary doctorates. Between 1906 and 2006 exactly 100 honoris causa degrees have been awarded. Honorary doctoral degrees are awarded to people that presented extraordinary contributions in their respective fields. Some of the most recognized recipients of TU Delft honorary doctorate include: Gerard Philips (1917), co-fonder of Philips corporation, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz (1918), winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics known for work on electromagnetic radiation, Prince Bernhard (1951), prince of the Netherlands, John Douglas Cockcroft (1959), winner of Nobel Prize in Physics for work on atom splitting, and Santiago Calatrava (1997) architect.

TU Delft in University Rankings

TU Delft has strong research profile with the main focus on engineering and applied sciences. Therefore university scores highly in any engineering school ranking. Below a table describing a position of TU Delft in various university rankings is presented. The list include THE-QS World University Rankings, QS World University Rankings, Times Higher Education World University Rankings, Academic Ranking of World Universities, Leiden Ranking and Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities and Research Performance Index. Markers indicating a raise or fall in the ranking are shown for ease of comparison. Empty spaces mean that no ranking was performed for a given year.

2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
THES-QS Rankings (2003-2009) QS Rankings (2011-) (World) 103[43](increase) 108[44](decrease) 83[45] (decrease) 78[46] (decrease) 63[47] (increase) 86[48] (decrease) 53[49] (increase) 78[50]
THES-QS Rankings (2003-2009) QS Rankings (2010-) (Europe) 29[51] (decrease) 14[52] (increase) 24[53]
THES-QS Rankings (2003-2009) QS Rankings (2010-) (World - Technology) 18[54] (decrease) 15[55] (increase) 17[56] ( — ) 17[57] (decrease) 13[58] (increase) 15[59] (increase) 24[60]
Times Higher Education World University Rankings 151[61]
Times Higher Education World University Rankings (Technology) 33[62]
Academic Ranking of World Universities (World) 152-200[63] ( — ) 152-200[64] ( — ) 152-200[65] ( — ) 151-202[66] ( — ) 151-200[67] ( — ) 203-300[68] (increase) 202-301[69] (decrease) 201-250[70]
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Europe) 57-74[71] (increase) 59-79[72] ( — ) 57-79[73] ( — ) 57-80[74] ( — ) 57-78[75] (increase) 80-123[76] (decrease) 80-125 (decrease) 77-99
Academic Ranking of World Universities (Engineering - World) 76-100[77] ( — ) 78-100[78] ( — ) 76-107[79] ( — ) 77-106[80]
Leiden Ranking (Green Indicator - Europe) 20[81](decrease) 11[82]
Leiden Ranking (Green Indicator - World) 92 [83](decrease) 86[84]
Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities (Engineering - World) 42[85] (decrease) 30[86]
Research Performance Index (World) 205[87]
Research Performance Index (Engineering - World) 32[88]

Note, that since 2010 THES-QS University Rankings no longer exists. Since then two separate rankings are produced: QS World University Rankings and Times Higher Education World University Rankings, with QS World University Rankings continuing using the same methodology as THES-QS University Rankings.


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