Heidelberg University

The Heidelberg University is, as is well known, the oldest and most famous university of Europe and of Germany.  The university was named after the Electoral Prince Ruprecht I. and the Baden Grand Duke Karl Friedrich. The electoral prince founded the university whereas the Grand Duke renovated it after the Baden takeover in 1806. For a long time the university has combined under its roof four faculties: the divinity faculty, arts faculty, medical faculty, faculty of law. Not until 1891 was added the scientific faculty. In the course of time the faculties were a little bit widened and each of the central faculties were subdivided into smaller and specialist faculties. In this way today the scientific faculty is composed of biosciences, chemistry and geosciences, math and informatics, physics and astronomy. The faculty of human disciplines consists of arts faculty, new philologic faculty and the divine faculty. The law faculty is composed of the juridical faculty, faculty of economics and social sciences, faculty of behavior sciences and empirical cultural sciences. And the last faculty, the medical faculty, today consists of the medical faculty of Heidelberg and the medical faculty of Mannheim.

Till 1618 the University of Heidelberg developed splendidly. In the university teaching there were to be found new intellectual currents. Humanism, Calvinism, Catechism and Late Humanism were e.g. among them.

Starting in 1618 for the Heidelberg University dawned a hard time. A time burdened with many wars and revolutions followed. In this period teaching at the university was hardly possible. Not until 1803, when Heidelberg came under the Government of Baden, did the university attain her power anew and thanks to the Baden Grand Duke Karl Friedrich it became a state – funded university. The university has been coined by the New Humanism but also by Romantic from these days on. It was not only admired by the local people but also by people from different regions of Germany and Europe. As Eike Wolgast writes, “Heidelberg has a cosmopolitan and liberal University. That was shown not only by the numerous foreign students but since the turn of the century it has been shown by the specific Heidelberg mind, by the interdisciplinary conversation that was inspired by Max Weber and his friends especially by his friend theologian Ernst Troeltsch and a group of young scholars.”

At the time of the Third Reich many students and professors left the university and even Heidelberg because of the harsh political circumstances.

Fortunately the university was not destroyed in the World War II. However, the university needed a renewal of the university mind.

The campus was divided when they widened the university grounds. While the humanities are located in Heidelberg’s Old City the Science Faculty and a part of the Medical Faculty stand in the Heidelberg quarter Neuenheimer Feld.


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