Board: ‘TU Delft opens branch in Rotterdam, fewer students in Delft’

TU Delft plans to open a branch in Rotterdam which should become ‘a full campus with a substantial number of students’. In Delft, student numbers are to shrink from 2026.

The Executive Board’s decision is not yet definitive. It hopes to present its plans to the representative bodies and the Supervisory Board in the short term. (Photo: Thijs van Reeuwijk)

In a notice to all staff, the Executive Board says that the location of the Rotterdam campus is ‘yet to be determined’. It is also unclear when the new branch will be ‘a full campus’, nor what a ‘substantial number of students’ is. The Executive Board initially stated that it hoped to grow to 40,000 students, but has since not mentioned this figure as it took on ‘a life of its own’. 

The idea is that the expansion to Rotterdam should make it possible to reduce student numbers in Delft. Delft is unable and unwilling to house the current numbers. There is increasing resentment in the city about TU Delft’s size. The Executive Board hopes to ease this situation by reducing student numbers to 25,000 starting in 2026. There are currently about 28,000 students.

There are several loose ends which have to be addressed

New degree programmes should attract students to Rotterdam. There will be bachelor and master programmes on the themes of Future of Health, Climate & Energy Systems Engineering, and Resilient Living Environment. Their associated research activities will also be located in Rotterdam. As yet unknown is which staff members will be affected by this.

The Executive Board’s decision is not yet definitive. It hopes to present its plans to the representative bodies and the Supervisory Board in the short term and to take a definitive decision before the summer holidays. The Executive Board speaks of ‘a milestone in the Contours2030 process’, within which various working groups will have the opportunity to explore opportunities for growth.

Even when the final decision is taken, there are several loose ends which have to be addressed. Among these are the finances which need to be worked out and there needs to be a real estate plan. The latter does not only cover office and educational spaces, but also housing for students and staff.

If it were up to TU Delft, most of these students should come from the Netherlands. But before that group can grow significantly, much work needs to be done. The number of young people that opt for technical courses in high school is dropping and TU Delft is now just approaching the eve of a campaign to attract a more diverse group of Dutch students. The Executive Board realises that recruiting new personnel needs an ‘HR action plan’. Personnel is hard to find in a tight labour and housing market.

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UPDATE Wednesday 14 June, 21:40: The part earlier in this post about The Hague has been removed. This is to avoid confusion. The proposed decision is about Rotterdam. About The Hague, the message to employees only mentions that TU Delft’s activities there will continue to grow.
In an email, a communications manager reports that ‘from 2025, TU Delft will expand in The Hague in the university building Spui together with Leiden University, among others. For this location, TU Delft will develop a programme of activities involving research, education and impact in the coming years. The location will accommodate around 600 students of [the] TU Delft’.

Editor in chief Saskia Bonger

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