The university was established on 8 January 1842 by William II of the Netherlands as a Royal Academy, with the main purpose of training civil servants for the Dutch East Indies. The school rapidly expanded its research and education curriculum, becoming first a Polytechnic School in 1864, Institute of Technology in 1905, gaining full university rights, and finally changing its name to Delft University of Technology in 1986.
Dutch Nobel laureates Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff, Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, and Simon van der Meer have been associated with TU Delft. TU Delft is a member of several university federations including the IDEA League, CESAER, UNITECH International, and 4TU.
Delft University of Technology was founded on 8 January 1842 by William II of the Netherlands as Royal Academy for the education of civilian engineers, for serving both nation and industry, and of apprentices for trade. One of the purposes of the academy was to educate civil servants for the colonies of the Dutch East India Company. The first director of the academy was Antoine Lipkens, constructor of the first Dutch optical telegraph, called simply as Lipkens. Royal Academy had its first building located at Oude Delft 95 in Delft. On 23 May 1863 an Act was passed imposing regulations on technical education in the Netherlands, bringing it under the rules of secondary education.
On 20 June 1864, Royal Academy in Delft was disbanded by a Royal Decree, giving a way to a Polytechnic School of Delft (Politechnische School van Delft). The newly formed school educated engineers of various fields and architects, so much needed during the rapid industrialization period in the 19th century.