Technical University of Denmark

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The Technical University of Denmark ( Danish: Danmarks Tekniske Universitet ), often simply referred to as DTU , is a university in Kongens Lyngby, just north of Copenhagen, Denmark. It was founded in 1829 at the initiative of Hans Christian Ørsted as Denmark's first polytechnic, and is today ranked among Europe's leading engineering institutions.

DTU, along with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Eindhoven University of Technology and Technical University of Munich, is a member of EuroTech Universities Alliance. [11]


DTU was founded in 1829 as the 'College of Advanced Technology' (Danish: Den Polytekniske Læreanstalt) with the physicist Hans Christian Ørsted, then a professor at the University of Copenhagen, as one of the driving forces. The inspiration was the École Polytechnique in Paris, France which Ørsted had visited as a young scientist. The new institution was inaugurated on 5 November 1829 with Ørsted as its principal, a position he held until his death in 1851. [12]

The new college's first home was two buildings in Studiestræde and St- Pederstræde in central Copenhagen. Although expanded several times, they remained inadequate and in 1890 a new building complex was inaugurated in Sølvgade in 1890. The new buildings were designed by the architect Johan Daniel Herholdt. [12]

In 1903 the College of Advanced Technology commenced the education of electrical engineers in addition to the construction engineers, production engineers and mechanical engineers already educated at the college.

In the 1920s space had once again become insufficient and in 1929 the foundation stone was laid for a new school at Østervold. Completion of the building was delayed by World War II and it was not completed until 1954. [12]

From 1933 the institution was officially known as Danmarks tekniske Højskole (DtH) , which was usually translated as the 'Technical University of Denmark'. On 1 April 1994, in connection with the joining of Danmarks Ingeniørakademi (DIA) and DTH, the Danish name was changed to Danmarks Tekniske Universitet , in order to include the word 'University', thus giving rise to the initials DTU by which the university is commonly known today. The formal name, Den Polytekniske Læreanstalt, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet , still includes the original name.

Main building in Lyngby.

In 1960 a decision was made to move the College of Advanced Technology to new and larger facilities in Lyngby north of Copenhagen. They were inaugurated on 17 May 1974. [12]

On 23 and 24 November 1967 the University Computing Center hosted the NATO Science Committee's Study Group first meeting discussing the newly coined term 'Software Engineering'.

On 1 January 2007 the university was merged with the following Danish research centers: Forskningscenter Risø, Danmarks Fødevareforskning, Danmarks Fiskeriundersøgelser (from 1 January 2008: National Institute for Aquatic Resources; DTU Aqua), Danmarks Rumcenter, and Danmarks Transport-Forskning.

Organization and Administration

The university is governed by a board consisting of 10 members: 6 members recruited outside the university form the majority of the board, 1 member is appointed by the scientific staff, 1 member is appointed by the administrative staff, and 2 members are appointed by the university students.

The President of DTU is appointed by the university board. The president in turn appoints deans, and deans appoint heads of departments.

Since DTU has no faculty senate, and since the faculty is not involved in the appointment of president, deans, or department heads, the university has no faculty governance. [13]


Research Centers

  • Arctic Technology Centre
  • Center for Facilities Management
  • Center for Biological Sequence Analysis – chair Søren Brunak
  • Center for Information and Communication Technologies
  • Center for Microbial Biotechnology
  • Center for Phase Equilibria and Separation Processes
  • Center for Technology, Economics and Management
  • Center for Traffic and Transport
  • Centre for Applied Hearing Research
  • Centre for Electric Power and Energy
  • Combustion and Harmful Emission Control
  • The Danish Polymer Centre
  • IMM Statistical Consulting Center
  • International Centre for Indoor Environment and Energy
  • Centre for Advanced Food Studies
  • Nano-DTU
  • Fluid-DTU
  • Food-DTU
  • EnergiDTU


The university is located on a plain known as Lundtoftesletten in the northeastern end of the city of Lyngby. The area was previously home to the airfield Lundtofte Flyveplads.

The campus is roughly divided in half by the road Anker Engelunds Vej going in the east-west direction, and, perpendicular to that, by two lengthy, collinear roads located on either side of a parking lot. The campus is thus divided into four parts, referred to as quadrants, numbered 1 through 4 in correspondence with the conventional numbering of quadrants in the Cartesian coordinate system with north upwards.


DTU was the subject of controversy in 2009 because the former institute director of the Department of Chemistry [15] was a high-ranking member of Scientology. [16] In relation to this, the university was accused of violating the principles of free speech by threatening to fire employees who voice their criticism of the institute director. [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] On 7 April 2010, his successor was announced, at a department meeting, as Erling Stenby, [22] who officially took over as Director on 1 May 2010.

Shortly thereafter, the university management threatened Rolf W. Berg with dismissal for publicly criticizing the university.


In November 2007 the Times Higher Education Supplement put the university as number 130 in their ranking of the universities of the world and number 122 in 2010. [24]

  • In "The World's Most Innovative Universities" 2015 ranking by Thomson Reuters, DTU is ranked: [25]
    • No. 1 in the Nordic countries
    • No. 43 in the World
  • In the "engineering" category in the QS subject rankings, DTU is ranked:
    • No. 2 in the Nordic countries
    • No. 36 in the World
  • On the Leiden Ranking's 2008 "crown indicator" list of Europe's 100 largest universities in terms of the number of Web of Science publications in the period 2000–2007, DTU is ranked: [27]
    • No. 1 in the Nordic countries
    • No. 5 in Europe
  • In the 2015 QS World University Rankings [28] DTU is ranked:
    • No. 112 in the World
  • In the 2013 Leiden Ranking [29] DTU is ranked:
    • No. 45 in the World
    • No. 7 in Europe
  • In the 2013-2014 Times Higher Education World University Rankings [30] DTU is ranked:
    • No. 121 in the World (No. 31 in the "Engineering & Technology" category)

Student Organizations and Clubs


The biggest student union at DTU is the 168-year-old Polyteknisk Forening (PF). PF advocates student interests both locally at DTU and nationally. Furthermore they plan and support many social activities, such as the annual skiing trip, SenSommerFesten (summer party) and support student clubs for activities in a diverse range of activities, such as music, photography, amateur radio, motorbiking and board games [32] ​.

DTU Dancing

DTU Dancing offers lessons in many different dances and levels [33] ​. In Fall 2017 there were 7 different dances offered at various levels:

  • Argentine Tango (Beginner/Intermediate)
  • Bachata (Beginner/Intermediate)
  • Belly Dancing
  • Salsa (cuban) (Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced)
  • Standard Latin (Beginner/Intermediate)
  • Swing (Beginner/Intermediate)
  • Zumba Fitness

Membership count is 250+. The most popular class is usually Salsa. The first dancing class cost 500 DKK for 12 weeks and every additional class costs 200 DKK.

DTU Choir

DTU Choir [34] ​ practice every thursday 17:00-18:30 in the Spring and Fall semesters. There are no auditions for joining the choir, but members are expected to show up most of the time. The song repertoire is both classical and modern rock and pop. The choir sings at several occasions at DTU during the semester: the annual ball, graduation events, the DTU marathon. The choir also sings outside DTU at events such as the Copenhagen Marathon ​ in May or Christmas songs at Fisketorvet ​ in December and occasionally in Tivoli Gardens ​.

Membership count is typically 40-60. Membership is free​.

DTU Sport

DTU has a large selection of indoor and outdoor sports facilities. Indoors you can play soccer (football) and badminton, dance, sing, attend yoga classes or sweat it out in the fitness centre. Outdoors you can play soccer (football), rugby, basket or beach volleyball. You can also go sailing on Øresund or soar through the air in a hang glider [35] ​.

Miscellaneous Clubs and Unions

A list of non-PF clubs can be found at [35] ​. A list of PF supported clubs can be found at [32] ​. Another student union at DTU is the maritime student association Nul-kryds formed in 1947.

Notable Alumni and Faculty

See Also

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