August 05th,2020
Welcome to the Ruhr District Institute of Hygiene

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Info Point
Phone: 0209-9242-0
Fax: 0209-9242-105
History of the Institute

It began with an epidemic

The founding of the Ruhr District Institute of Hygiene goes back to 1901 when Robert Koch was asked to advise on the management of a devastating typhoid epidemic in Gelsenkirchen and the surrounding area. A few months later in January 1902, a Support Organization directly responsible for the creation of the Ruhr District Institute of Hygiene was formed.

In the course of the Hygiene Institute’s founding, Robert Koch stipulated that there must be
  • monitoring of water supply
  • a sewerage system put in place and
  • continuous epidemic outbreak monitoring
Photo right: 1901 Robert Koch’s handwritten orders on control of the typhoid epidemic.

Robert Koch: a pioneer of environmental and health protection

Koch was responsible for placing what we refer to today as preventive health care and environmental protection, firmly in the centre of public awareness. At the same time he decreed a mission to which the Ruhr District Institute of Hygiene has always remained loyal.

Finally, in the 1990s as part of the Coal and Steel Industries Futures-Initiative (ZIM) and supported by means from the state of North Rhine Westphalia, the Hygiene Institute was expanded to create a centre of excellence for environmental health and medicine.

Robert Koch’s important services to medicine
Robert Koch (1843-1910) was a doctor and microbiologist in Berlin. He specialized in bacteriology, in particular pure cultures, the detection of bacteria using microscopic staining techniques and the development of synthetic culture media. Robert Koch is credited with discovering the anthrax, tuberculosis and cholera pathogens. In 1905 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his research into tuberculosis.