The story of TalTech
From Special Engineering Courses to Tallinn College of Engineering
TalTech was established on 17 September, 1918, when the Estonian Engineering Society uniting local technology intellectuals began to provide special engineering courses in German-occupied Estonia. When Estonia gained independence, the need for engineers, architects and technicians kept growing. In 1919, the activities were continued under a private school called Tallinn College of Engineering (TCE).
The times of Kopli “iron school”
For the sake of further development, TCE was nationalised in 1920 and it soon achieved the status of a public institution of higher education. Until 1931, TCE operated under tight conditions at Pikk Street, after which they moved to the main building of the former Russian-Baltic shipyard at Kopli. Although the objective was to construct a full campus for the university, it was not carried out due to a limited budget. Despite of financial difficulties, there were still plenty of enthusiastic young people who wished to acquire their engineering education at TCE.
Tallinn or Tartu: a university of technology is established in Tallinn
In the late 1920s, the development of TCE was slowed down by a merger plan with University of Tartu. The situation improved in 1936, when the government decided that the university of technology must remain in Tallinn. As a result, TCE was renamed Tallinn Technical Institute. Fast development was soon brought to a halt by World War II. The war cost the university both lecturers and students, not to mention assets.
Soviet-era Tallinn Polytechnic Institute as a leading university of technology
During the post-war occupation, the university was called Tallinn Polytechnic Institute (TPI). It was called so until restoration of independence of Estonia. Despite of general intellectual recession the quality of the university improved continuously. From the 1970s thoughts and ideas were disseminated more freely. The student body increased and the qualification of lecturers improved. TPI made significant progress in the field of scientific research, earning a status of a leading university of technology in the Soviet Union.
Own campus at Mustamäe
One of the most important turning points was starting the construction of the university campus at Mustamäe in the early 1960s. During the Singing Revolution, new winds began to blow. The university actively participated in social processes, contributing significantly to restoration of national independence. In 1989, the name Tallinn University of Technology was taken into use again.
TalTech becomes an international university of technology
During the following two decades, the study programmes have remarkably expanded, the student body and academic staff have undergone strong internationalisation and the operating conditions have also improved. At present, TalTech is one of the biggest and most renowned universities in Estonia. The university has 700 lecturers and more than half a thousand research staff. Prior to World War II, the number of students at TalTech remained under 500, while the number today is almost 30 times bigger. The university has around 70,000 alumni who all have contributed to Estonia’s development. In 2018, a new short name TalTech was adopted to present the university as more international and innovative.