„150 Years of RWTH“


Lernen. Forschen. Machen.

Stage in the RWTH main building Copyright: Andreas Schmitter

RWTH Cancels Anniversary Celebrations

In light of the progressive spread of the coronavirus and the associated effects on society, RWTH Aachen University has decided to cancel the festivities for its 150th anniversary this year.



Thorsten Karbach

Head of Department 3.0 – Press and Communications


+49 241 80 94323



Dear Friends of RWTH Aachen University,

When the “Königliche Rheinisch-Westphälische Polytechnische Schule” was founded in 1870, it was intended to strengthen the creative power of the economy in the region. Today, we would say the power of innovation. 150 years on, this goal is more relevant than ever, yet this does not mean that the University – now “Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule” – has not substantially changed or developed over time.

Yes, our RWTH turned 150 in 2020 – the Year of the Coronavirus. Poor timing, you might be thinking! Of course, we wanted to celebrate this very special birthday with you – our instructors, employees, students, friends, and supporters, as well as everyone who is keen to get to know us better. We wanted to both look back on the past and look to the future, too. And then reality caught up with us. We here at RWTH had to react quickly. A completely normal summer semester turned into an online one; in our everyday work, we faced the daily challenge of maintaining the University’s operations under constantly changing conditions. Under these circumstances, we felt we had no choice but to cancel all the planned events to celebrate our anniversary. We made this decision with heavy hearts, but at the same time we are convinced that our focus must be on overcoming the crisis in the current situation.

And yet all is not lost! For Albert Einstein said “In the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.” So we are happy to announce that we will make up for many of our anniversary plans or adapt them to the circumstances. And we will start right with the actual birthday of RWTH, where we will create a real alternative community experience with our special anniversary movie. We warmly invite you to tune in to YouTube to watch our virtual show live at 8:15pm on October 10, 2020. The television producers Ralph Caspers and Shary Reeves will show insights into current research and make the topic of sustainability particularly tangible. Science journalist Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim will hold the keynote and RWTH graduate Renzo Vitale will perform a symphony composed especially for the occasion with the University’s Collegium Musicum.

In these extraordinary times, let us all see this movie together as a sign of our unbroken power of innovation, which is also reflected in other specific projects addressing the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic hands on.

Stay tuned!

150 Jahre RWTH: Der Auftakt.