- University of Freiburg
University of Freiburg
The University of Freiburg , officially the Albert Ludwig University of Freiburg is a public research university located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
The university was founded in 1457 by the Habsburg dynasty as the second university in Austrian-Habsburg territory after the University of Vienna. Today, Freiburg is the fifth-oldest university in Germany, with a long tradition of teaching the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. The university is made up of 11 faculties and attracts students from across Germany as well as from over 120 other countries. Foreign students constitute about 16% of total student numbers.
Named as one of elite universities of Germany by academics, political representatives and the media, the University of Freiburg stands amongst Europe’s top research and teaching institutions. With its long-standing reputation of excellence, the university looks both to the past, to maintain its historic academic and cultural heritage, and to the future, developing new methods and opportunities to meet the needs of a changing world. The University of Freiburg has been home to some of the greatest minds of the Western tradition, including such eminent figures as Martin Heidegger, Hannah Arendt, Rudolf Carnap, David Daube, Johann Eck, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Friedrich Hayek, Edmund Husserl, Friedrich Meinecke, and Max Weber. In addition, 19 Nobel laureates are affiliated with the University of Freiburg and 15 academics have been honored with the highest German research prize, the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, while working at the University of Freiburg.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
On the top floor of university building I there is still a monument for students and employees of the university who were among the victims of the two world wars. In the heart of the same building, in the main foyer, the university erected a memorial in 2005 to commemorate the almost 400 known employees and students of the University of Freiburg who suffered death, banishment, or severe discrimination under the National Socialist regime. However, many other victims remain unnamed: Over 1500 persons were assigned to forced labor at the medical center, where there is also evidence of criminal medical interventions. The university followed the orders of the National Socialists, at times even with conviction. Martin Heidegger’s appointment as rector of the university in 1933, for instance, was celebrated as a “takeover.” Heidegger did not comment on his role as rector of the university until his death in 1976.
Several of Freiburg’s professors, including Walter Eucken, as well as their wives, were members of the opposition.
Along with the entire inner city of Freiburg, all university buildings were heavily damaged or destroyed in 1945. The university was able to save 75% of the materials from the flames, mostly books. By the fall of the same year, the French occupation authorities had already granted their approval for the reconstruction and reopening of the University of Freiburg. Before matriculating, each student had to put in 100 hours of manual labor to help with thereconstruction efforts.
Until 1949 denazification procedures were carried out for all university employees, but no more than ten years later almost all who had been fired were again working at the university. With the advent of the Cold War, an anti-communist stance was evidently regarded as more important than one’s behavior during the National Socialist era. The university experienced a boom in these years: In 1957, on the University of Freiburg’s 500th anniversary, a new constitution was approved. The reconstruction was almost completed by this time, ground had been broken for new buildings like university building II, and the university now had a total of 10,000 students.
Not until 1968, when the student protests in Berlin and Frankfurt reached Freiburg, was the generation which had remained in power without interruption since the war called into question. The students’ battle cry was: “Unter den Talaren, Muff von tausend Jahren” (“Under the gowns, the stench of a thousand years”). The students demanded ademocratization of the universities, holding strikes and teach-ins and handing out flyers to support their cause. The student protests initiated a cultural transformation.
The following decades saw the expansion of the Faculty of Medicine and the natural sciences. In 1995, the Faculty of Engineering was established, further expanding the spectrum of disciplines offered at the university. By the end of the century, there were already 20,000 matriculated students at the University of Freiburg. Instruction and research were profiting from international exchange and enjoyed an excellent reputation abroad. This could be seen in the increasing number of international students and junior researchers who came to Freiburg to acquire further qualifications.
The University of Freiburg was among the winners of the nationwide “Excellent Teaching” competition in 2009. Organized by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs and the Stifterverband for German Science and Research, the competition recognizes innovative instructional concepts.
The State Teaching Award, conferred yearly for already implemented instructional concepts at higher education institutions in Baden-Württemberg, has also gone regularly to lecturers at the University of Freiburg since it was first organized in 1993.
All of these accolades and the funding they produce contribute to the University of Freiburg’s goal of maintaining a competitive edge in the German higher education landscape.
In 2007 the University of Freiburg celebrated its 550-year anniversary with over 300 public events. Several projects which will shape the further development of the university were launched during the festivities.
In 2007 the university opened the Uniseum, a museum documenting the university’s history and a forum for events, as well as the UniShop.
The board of trustees of the 2007 anniversary celebration established the “New University Endowment.” It is designed to provide funding for endowed professorships, international visiting lecturers, and scholarships for outstanding students.
Finally, in 2007 the University of Freiburg also held its first Innovation and Dialog Workshop. The workshops now bring experts from the university and external institutions together about once a year, for instance to develop a modern concept for the university or a vision for 2030.
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