„150 Years of RWTH“


Lernen. Forschen. Machen.

Rektor Rüdiger Copyright: RWTH



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 started right with the actual birthday of RWTH, where we created a real alternative community experience with our special anniversary movie. If you did not seen it for the first screening on October 10, 2020, we warmly invite you to see the movie now, which is available on YouTube. In the movie, television producers Ralph Caspers and Shary Reeves show insights into current research and make the topic of sustainability particularly tangible. Science journalist Mai-Thi Nguyen-Kim holds the keynote and RWTH graduate Renzo Vitale performs 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!

Professor Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h. c. mult. Ulrich Rüdiger
Rector of RWTH Aachen University

#150YearsofRWTH – The Show.
#150YearsofRWTH: Opening Speech for the Anniversary by RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger
150 Jahre RWTH: Der Auftakt.