Humboldt University of Berlin

Humboldt University of Berlin

:"For other universities in Berlin, see List of Universities in Berlin. For the American university of a similar name in Arcata, California, see Humboldt State University."

name=Humboldt University of Berlin
native_name=Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
latin_name=Alma Universitas Humboldtiana Berolinensis"
(older: "Universitas Friderica Gulielma Berolinensis")
type=Public university
president=Christoph Markschies

footnotes=Data as of 2004

The Humboldt University of Berlin (German "Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin") is Berlin's oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin ("Universität zu Berlin") by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities. From 1828 it was known as the Frederick William University ("Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität"), later also as the Universität unter den Linden. In 1949, it changed its name to "Humboldt-Universität" in honour of both its founder Wilhelm and his brother, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.


The first semester at the newly founded Berlin university occurred in 1810 with 256 students and 52 lecturers in faculties of law, medicine, theology and philosophy. The university has been home to many of Germany's greatest thinkers of the past two centuries, among them the subjective idealist philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte, the theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, the absolute idealist philosopher G.W.F. Hegel, the Romantic legal theorist Savigny, the pessimist philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, the objective idealist philosopher Friedrich Schelling, cultural critic Walter Benjamin, and famous physicists Albert Einstein and Max Planck. Founders of Marxist theory Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels attended the university, as did poet Heinrich Heine, German unifier Otto von Bismarck, Communist Party of Germany founder Karl Liebknecht, African American Pan Africanist W. E. B. Du Bois and European unifier Robert Schuman, as well as the influential surgeon Johann Friedrich Dieffenbach in the early half of the 1800s. The university is home to 29 Nobel Prize winners.

The structure of German research-intensive universities, such as Humboldt, served as a model for institutions like Johns Hopkins.

Third Reich

After 1933, like all German universities, it was transformed into a Nazi educational institution. It was from the University's library that some 20,000 books by "degenerates" and opponents of the regime were taken to be burned on May 10 of that year in the Opernplatz (now the Bebelplatz) for a demonstration protected by the SA that also featured a speech by Joseph Goebbels. A monument to this can now be found in the center of the square, consisting of a glass panel opening onto an underground white room with empty shelf space for 20,000 volumes and a plaque, bearing an epigraph from an 1820 work by Heinrich Heine: "Das war ein Vorspiel nur, dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen" ("That was only a prelude; where they burn books, they ultimately burn people"). Jewish students and scholars and political opponents of Nazis were ejected from the university and often deported.

East Germany

In 1946, the university opened again. The Soviet administration soon took over control of the university, relegating all students who did not conform to Communist ideology. As a reaction, the Free University of Berlin was founded in 1948 in the Western part of the city. The communist party forced it to change the name of the university in 1949. Until the collapse of the East German regime in 1989, Humboldt University remained under tight ideological control of the Sozialistische Einheitspartei Deutschlands (Socialist Unity Party of Germany), or SED, which, by rigorously selecting students according to their conformity to the party line, made sure that no democratic opposition could grow on its university campuses. Its Communist-selected students and scholars did not participate in the East German democratic civil rights movements of 1989 to a considerable degree, and elected the controversial SED member and former Stasi spy Heinrich Fink as the Director of the University still 1990.


After the end of communism, the university was radically restructured and all professors had to reapply for their professorships . The faculty was largely replaced with West German professors, among them renowned scholars like the art historian Horst Bredekamp and the historian Heinrich August Winkler. Today, the Humboldt University is a state university with a large number of students (37,145 in 2003, among them more than 4,662 foreign students) after the model of West German universities, and like its counterpart Free University of Berlin.

Its main building is located in the centre of Berlin at the boulevard Unter den Linden. The building was erected on order by King Frederick II for his younger brother Prince Henry of Prussia. Most institutes are located in the centre, around the main building, except the nature science institutes, which are located at Adlershof in the south of Berlin. The University continues to serve the German community.


These are the 11 faculties into which the university is divided:

* Faculty of Law
* Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture
* Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences I (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
* Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences II (Geography, Computer Science, Mathematics, Psychology)
* Charité - Berlin University Medicine
* Faculty of Philosophy I (Philosophy, History, European Ethnology, Department of Library and Information Science)
* Faculty of Philosophy II (Literature, Linguistics, Scandinavian Studies, Romance literatures, English and American Studies, Slavic Studies, Classical Philology)
* Faculty of Philosophy III (Social Sciences, Cultural Studies/Arts, Asian/African Studies (includes Archeology), Gender Studies)
* Faculty of Philosophy IV (Sport science, Rehabilitation Studies, Education, Quality Management in Education)
* Faculty of Theology
* Faculty of Economics and Business Administration

Furthermore there are two independent institutes (Zentralinstitute) that are part of the university:
* Centre for British Studies (in German: Großbritannienzentrum)
* Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History)

ee also

* List of Universities in Berlin
* Charité
* Free University of Berlin
* Technical University of Berlin
* Berlin University of the Arts
* Humboldt Museum

External links

* [ Humboldt University of Berlin website] de icon en icon
* [ History of the Humboldt University] de icon en icon
* [ Humboldt-Innovation GmbH] – Knowledge- and Technologytransfer Subsidiary of Humboldt University
* [ Humboldtstore] – The official university shop of Humboldt University
* [ Humboldt University CityPanorama] - Interactive 360° Panorama in front of the University

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