History of the Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrometry

In 1913, our institute was founded as a research facility for hydraulic engineering. This makes us one of the oldest hydraulic engineering laboratories in the world.

The grand opening took place on March 23, 1914. At that time, the Institute was part of the Ministry of Public Works. From 1918, it was part of the Ministry of Commerce and Transport. From 1938 to now, the Institute is part of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (today Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management). The first preparations for the construction of the building began as early as 1904.

After the Second World War, the calibration of hydrometrical current meters was integrated into the institute. This was also reflected in the name of the institute. As part of the expansion, there were plans for a new location in the Arsenal area in Vienna. In fact, the expansion took place at the previous location in Severingasse in Vienna's 9th district. The enlarged building was opened on January 28, 1953.

In 1995, the Institute became part of a newly established larger administrative unit, the Federal Agency for Water Management. The name of the Institute changed from Federal Institute for hydraulic physical model test and Hydrometry to Institute for Hydraulic Engineering and Hydrometry. The new name reflects that the field of activity had expanded significantly over the years. In 1995, the field of activity already included numerical modelling and consulting activities.

The overview over the finished projects from the last decades reflect the change in the main activities of the Institute. From the predominantly technically oriented engineering projects in the early years to ecological hydraulic engineering and river morphology in connection with the protection against flood hazards in the more recent history.

Despite numerous advances in numerical modelling, hydraulic model experiments are still an indispensable tool for science and practice. For this reason, and in order to increase the technical and economic efficiency, a cooperation agreement between our Ministry and the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences was concluded on February 14, 2012. The agreement includes the use of synergies and provides for the bundling of forces at a joint new location.

In February 2023 the time had come. We moved our offices, workshop, measurement technology and a lot of other material for conducting model tests from Severingasse 7 to the new building at Am Brigittenauer Sporn 3.

For more information on the new hydraulic engineering lab, please see the "Additional Information" below.

Handmade drawing of the General Project for the Construction of a River Engineering Laboratory in Vienna, "minimal space requirement" from the year 1904

Construction of the testing tanks in 1913

Construction site of the laboratory hall from 1913, the river engineering flume was on the left and the glass flume on the right. Both test channels existed until the beginning of 2023 and were in use, supplemented with current measurement technology.