IHS history

The Bouwcentrum: rebuilding Rotterdam

The birth of IHS is associated with the foundation of the Bouwcentrum and the reconstruction of Rotterdam. This city was heavily bombed during World War II, so as part of the post-war reconstruction, a building centre of excellence called Bouwcentrum was founded in 1948. Its primary mission was to develop methodologies and technologies to foster fast production of affordable and adequate housing and generate innovative approaches of addressing severe housing shortage experienced in the Netherlands. 

International training wing

In response to an increasing international demand for the expertise of the Bouwcentrum, an international training wing was established in 1958 to provide international education and transfer knowledge to professionals from developing countries, seeking solutions in housing and construction sectors. This was called the Bouwcentrum International Education-BIE.

From BIE to IHS

Bouwcentrum International Education became independent in the ‘70s. In 1982, it was transformed into the Institute for Housing Studies – IHS. In the beginning of the ‘90s, IHS changed its name into Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies

Joining Erasmus University

In the early 2000s, IHS joined the Woudestein campus of Erasmus University Rotterdam, which came in line with the Dutch governmental policy of stimulating the collaboration between international education institutions like IHS and universities of the Netherlands. That same year, an organizational reform started at IHS, which marked the first step towards integration with Erasmus University Rotterdam. This status was formalised in 2004 and since then, IHS is officially a part of Erasmus University Rotterdam

A centre of excellence

In 2007, IHS received the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour award, for leading the way as a global centre of excellence and knowledge through its high-quality teaching programmes in housing, urban management and urban environmental management and planning. This award is granted every year on World Habitat Day, a day established by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness about the state of human settlements.

"This is the most prestigious award given by the United Nations in recognition of work carried out in the field of human settlements development." (UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka)

Making cities work

In 2008, humankind reached a historic milestone: more than half of the world’s population was living in urban areas. IHS recognizes the global impact of cities, as well as the importance of sustainable development, which is why our research, educational programmes and advisory services provide valuable assistance in tackling the multi-faceted challenge of urbanization. In over 55 years of activity, more than 8,500 professionals from 140 countries have received training at IHS. The IHS alumni are active urban experts, ranging from architects, social scientists, economists, to public administration workers, civil servants, and government officials.

60 years and counting

This year, we celebrate 60 years of activity. During these decades, IHS has built a strong network of partners and over 9000 alumni worldwide contributing to sustainable urban development.