In 1916 the “Naturforschende Gesellschaft Luzern” (Lucerne Society for Natural Sciences) set up a hydrobiology laboratory in Kastanienbaum. The time had come to reveal the depths of the lake, and besides, a well-equipped base was also needed for running the Society’s courses on algae, aquatic plants and fish, which they already been delivering, as well as courses on the chemical and physical properties of the lake. In 1960, at a time when the Swiss lakes were not in a terribly clean condition, the somewhat time-worn facility was taken over by Eawag. Countless middle school classes have spent their biology field trips here, and today, over 100 scientists from all over the world work in the upgraded and continually modernised buildings. From its humble beginnings as a small laboratory, it has grown into its current status as a competence centre for ecology, evolution and biogeochemistry.
In 2016 Eawag celebrated the 100-year anniversary of the establishment of the hydrobiology laboratory with various events aimed at specialists and the wider public.