History of IHE Delft
Historical Time Line
In 1960, upon request of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in a mutual effort of Delft University of Technology and the Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation (Nuffic), IHE's curriculum was extended with the 'European Course in Sanitary Engineering'.
From 1966 onwards, due to increasing applications for the Sanitary Engineering Course, a parallel course has been organized, this parallel course is dealing with drinking water supply, sanitation and public health administration in agricultural and rural areas.
In 1976 the name International Institute for Hydraulic and Environmental Engineering (IHE) was introduced. Several years later, after a steady growth of courses and research themes, the word Infrastructural was added to the full name, not changing the abbreviation IHE however.
In 1977 IHE celebrated its 20th anniversary; in these 20 years about 2,500 engineers from 97 countries have attended the courses. From 1985 to 1998, under the leadership of rector Wil Segeren, the IHE yearly student numbers grew from 200 to 450 and staff grew from 35 to 130. IHE became a major player in water sector capacity building, be it by educating and training individuals, research activities or strengthening institutions in developing countries.
From 1990 to 1992 the building at Westvest 7, now the heart of IHE Delft, was built, extending the historical Oude Delft 95 complex and so physically representing IHE's growth. In 1995 IHE is recognised as an Institute for Technology by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. IHE became an independent institute after having been part of Nuffic for 39 years. As from January 1 1996, all staff is employed by the IHE foundation.
The process to establish UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education was concluded by a decision of the 31st General Conference of UNESCO in November 2001. In 2003, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education joined the UNESCO Water family by becoming a Category 1 Institute and changing its name to UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education. In discussion with the Netherlands Government and UNESCO, it became apparent that continuing as an integral part of UNESCO would not provide the best arrangement for working with UNESCO and its Member States and maintaining the functional autonomy and academic freedom needed in order to effectively implement the Institute’s mission. The Foundation Board, Ministries of Infrastructure and Environment, Foreign Affairs, Education, Culture and Science and the Dutch Representative to UNESCO together concluded that the establishment of a Category 2 institute under the auspices of UNESCO would in this context be a more viable scenario.