The European campus — heritage and challenges: Information to support decision makers


Alexandra den Heijer
TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
George Tzovlas
TU Delft, Architecture and the Built Environment
Keywords: European Campus, European commission, European Universities


The European campus is a crucial enabler for the future of Europe. This proposition triggered a comprehensive research project that explores university campuses in all 28 European Union (EU) member states. The current publication summarizes the state of the European campus. It highlights the heritage — illustrated with many photos — and underlines the challenges that more than 800 European universities are confronted with.

The quality of European universities, including their physical infrastructure, not only affects policy agendas of education, research and innovation, it affects Europe’s position in the global ‘battle for brains’. The ‘fitness for purpose’ of the European university campuses should be explicitly part of a strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.

This book — covering the data of 28 EU member states — emphasizes that the European campus (still) has the heritage and inner-city locations that provide students with a life experience as much as a learning experience. The unique qualities of European cities add to ‘sense of place’ and attract students from all over the world.

However, the last part of the book compares country data and draws conclusions about age profile, condition, footprint etc. Many universities are investing in new state-of-the art facilities, but this heavily affects their financial sustainability. At the same time, many existing European campuses are in very poor functional and physical condition, which negatively influences productivity and satisfaction of users. This requires reinvestment, but most of all: smart strategies.

Based on thorough data collection, best practices and prior research about managing university campuses this book suggests campus stress testing as a tool for assessing the ‘fitness for use’ of today’s campuses. Sharing knowledge, benchmarking and self-assessment tools will map the readiness of Europe’s higher education infrastructure to engage global competition. And, crucially, pinpoint key areas of deficiency, just as banking stress tests do. Some of these challenges are operationalized in this book.

This research project is conducted in close collaboration with European university networks and policy officers of the European Commission (EC). In the coming years Alexandra den Heijer (associate professor) and George Tzovlas (PhD researcher) will explore new theories for managing university campuses and provide information and tools to support decision- making in practice.

This first book — with its many facts, maps, figures and photos — sets the European campus agenda. It is relevant for presidents, university board members and policymakers from university to EC level, but also for (future) students, staff and visitors who are more than welcome at the European campus.



March 30, 2018


Details about this monograph

ISBN-13 (15)


Date of first publication (11)


Physical Dimensions

210mm x 240mm