The University of Twente was established as the Technische Hogeschool Twente (Twente Polytechnic), along with another technical college in Eindhoven, in 1961 on the former estate of Drienerlo, between the cities of Enschede and Hengelo, in the eastern part of the Netherlands. It involved a new concept in Dutch academic education: The Campus. It was to be the first university in the Netherlands with all university buildings, student housing and some facilities in one location. This is still unique in the Netherlands, although other universities also have adopted the name Campus for locations where a lot of their facilities are concentrated.

The campus displays some very interesting architecture and art. The Bastille building, up to its recent renovation, had a lot of winding staircases, plateaus and other nooks and crannies, making it a labyrinth, as was the case with the former Applied Mathematics building, half of which however fell prey to a pyromaniac in 2002. Other highlights of the campus include Het Torentje van Wim T. Schippers (a dutch artist), which is a church tower sunk in one of the many ponds of the Drienerlo estate, and "Het ding" (The thing), a structure of wooden poles and wire, which suddenly appeared one day.

The last ten years there has been a lot of talk about new buildings but no master plan has survived.

As Nijem points out in the w/u UT, a couple of higher education reforms later, the Technical College became a Technical University, and later on dropped the adjective 'technical' altogether with the adoption of applied social sciences into the offered acedemic courses. Also the number of Faculties had been reduced to five: Behavioral Sciences, Business, Public Administration and Technology, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Engineering Technology and Science and Technology.

The University of Twente is also the home of four major research institutions, for biotechnology, telematics and IT, nanotechnology, and process engineering and mechanics.

In 1998 the AKI art school took up residence in the former process hall of the (then) faculty of Chemical Engineering.

At the beginning it was mandatory for students to live on campus. Still a large part of the student population lives on campus, enjoying the benefits of ultra-fast internet acces (causing the UT to be a vital part in the redistribution of illegal software), and on-campus sports facilities. Once a year the race track features as the finish for the longest relay race in the world: the Batavieren Race.

Site: Campus tour:

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