Period IV

ETH Zürich. Photo/Foto: TES.

The ETH Zurich

The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich was given its current name in 1911. It was founded as a polytechnical institute (eidgenössische polytechnische Schule) in 1854 and 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 even 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, but the final results are never opportunistic, incomprehensible, undemocratic or illegal. One of the compromises in 1854 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 thus founded in 1854. The rapid industrialisation, permanent innovation, the development of the railways and road networks and their numerous tunnels and bridges after 1850 would not have been possible without these two cosmopolitan and internationally acclaimed institutions, without EU funding or EU rhetoric, but by merely performing, organising and openness to the world.