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Studying on campus in Twente

Eerste lichting studenten aan de THT 01-07-1964 (

The University of Twente launched in 1964 as the first campus university in the Netherlands. The idea was that of civitas academia, an academic community where even first-generation students would feel at home. On campus there would be peace and regularity, with a focus not only on studies, but also on cultural development and living together. The establishment of student associations in the form of sports and cultural clubs was encouraged, but corporal associations were kept out. There was an effort to integrate technical and social sciences, and in 3.5 years, students could pass the baccalaureate, which in principle made them ready for a job in business.


The story of the early years of the then Technische Hogeschool Twente is well documented. What is less clear is how all the ideals of the founders turned out in practice. The Archive Department of the LISA (Library, IT Services & Archive) department has set up an oral history project in collaboration with the Stichting Universiteitsfonds Twente in which about 20 students from the first batch are interviewed about their experiences between 1964 and 1972. Why did students choose Twente, what were their expectations? How did female students experience their time on campus? What did studying at UT and the process of coming of age on campus give students of that time? An interesting area of tension is the desire to better prepare students for social life than was common at technical universities, while at the same time housing and educating them on a campus far from the city.


Marjan Beijering (History Lab) supervised the project. About five interviewers (almost all members of GEWIS, the association of UT pensioners) attended oral history workshops and worked closely with the UT video team, which lent recorders and secured the recordings afterwards. Arjan van Hessen helped work with ASR. By the end of September, 20 oral history interviews will be ready, recorded on audio and including permission for inclusion in archives, metadata, summaries. Some of the interviews will also be recorded on film. Interviewer Martin Bosker will use some of the interviews as the basis for his podcast Campuswalks.