Foundation of the faculty

Old logo faculty of science and mathematics Wim Thijssen writes in his book entitled "De Genesis van een Faculteit - Wiskunde en Natuurwetenschappen K.U. Nijmegen" that the foundation of the former Catholic University Nijmegen (KUN) was nurtured by the strive after emancipation of the Catholic part of the population and the observance of the Catholic conviction in teaching and research, in particular to provide young people the opportunity to study in their 'own environment'. In this view a science faculty was indispensible. In the fifties, characterized by the reconstruction and modernization of the Dutch society, it was agreed that the catholics should take part into the innovative events in the scientific and economical field. In this spirit the opening of the FWN (Originally Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, later Faculty of Science, Mathematics and Computer Science) became a fact on Thursday September 26 1957, with an official opening ceremony in the aula and the benediction of the provisiorium at the Kapittelweg. The section Biology knew at that time three full professors: Profs van Nieuwenhoven, Linskens and van Melsen. At that occasion the section planted the 'faculty tree' (see Photo C here below, zoom of C and faculty tree in 2005).
In 1958, under the guidance of the project leader-intendant with the title of director, C.J.M. Aarts (photo E here below), the decision was taken to erect a great building at the Driehuizerweg (Toernooiveld) to host the faculty, starting with the Universal Laboratory (UL, see photo A, B and G here below and zoom of A). Architect Ir. Peutz from Heerlen (photo D here below) designed a building consisting of six layers with a volume of approximately 21000m3, carried by stable central skeleton of heavy concrete columns. The lateral arms reached to the facades as projections on which aluminium front panels were hanged. Since the internal walls were not carrying charges, the structure was flexible and adaptable to wishes of successive users. All teaching facilities (see photo I here below) were located at the ground floor, the research laboratories were at the upper levels (see photo foto H here below), store and technical workshop for instruments and photography were in the basement. The opening of part II of the building was celebrated in October 1961 in presence of minister Cals. In the following period, until 1971, the A-unit and the N-wing (only a part of the original plan) were realized in the same architural style. The main set-up of the present green house complex with a stonen bungalow-like side building is from the mid-seventies (see photo F here below), as well as the original Botanical garden (Historical views of the construction); present botanical and experimental garden, which is specialized in the family of the nightshades = Solanaceae).

Historical views of the foundation of the faculty
People and building: beginning science faculty
Historical views of the Faculty of Mathematics and Science.
A Foundation of the Universal Laboratory (UL) on 2 December 1958. Mgr Post set the first spage into the ground. (zoom). B Aerial view of the UL in the sixties. C Opening of the faculty on 26 September 1957. Prof. Linskens plants the 'faculty tree', a Metasequoia glyoptostroboides, in front of the provisorium at the Kapittelweg (see also zoom view, other views of the provisorium and the faculty tree in the middle of recent constructions in March 2005). D Ir. Frits Peutz, architect of the UL and the other "old buildings". E Dr. Aarts, director of the FWN (zoom for a view taken at the start of the construction of the green house complex mid-seventies). F Overview of the green house facility mid-seventies. G The UL around 1963. H A modern physiological laboratory around 1960 (with Prof. Linskens in view). I Lecture hall IV in the UL in 1963.
Source of photographic material: personal archive Prof. Linskens, except D: Stadsarchief Heerlen.



Thijssen, W. Th. M. 1985. Genesis van een faculteit. De oprichting en opbouw van de faculteit der wiskunde en natuurwetenschappen aan de Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen.
Stadsarchief Heerlen
Prof. H.F. Linskens
Volkskrant 25 september 1957
With thanks to those who contributed to this page

last modified: 17 Oct 2011