Period IV

ETH Zürich. Photo/Foto: TES.

ETH Zurich and EPFL Lausanne

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich was given its current name in 1911.

Founded as a polytechnical institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) in 1854,  it initially consisted of a few technical departments: architecture, civil- and mechanical engineering, chemistry and forestry.

It was a federal institution under the control of the federal government, which itself had been established only a few years earlier, in 1848.

The ETH (not to confuse with the cantonal University of Zurich) has 16 departments nowadays, some of which are among the best in the world and,  in various technical fields,  the best in Europe.

In the Swiss Federation of different languages, religions, cantons and urban and rural centres, legislation and the development of projects are sometimes slow.

One of the compromises was the creation of a technical college in the French-speaking region of the country. The Swiss Federal School of Technology (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL) was founded in 1854.

The country’s rapid industrialisation, its permanent innovation, its development of railways, road networks, the tunnels and bridges after 1850 would not have been possible without these two institutions.