Department for Rhenish Regional History of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Bonn

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The Department for Rhenish Regional History of the Institute for Historical Studies at the University of Bonn was established in 2005. However, it has a long tradition, as it emerged from the Institute for Historical Regional Studies of the Rhineland (IgL) . This interdisciplinary institution for researching "the Rhineland" of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn also researched the development of the Rhenish language and folklore , a research area that is now affiliated with Bonn's German studies.



The Institute for Historical Regional Studies at the University of Bonn was initiated by the historian Hermann Aubin in 1920 . The idea and goal was to enable comprehensive scientific research of the Rhineland and its population through close cooperation between historical science and linguistics . The central intention of the institute was to combine regional historical research with general German history and the present. In terms of the history of science, the institute comes from the tradition of cultural and folk history research of the 19th century, as did the Leipzig Seminar for Regional History and Settlement Studies .

At the same time, the research results should be made available to a broad public. For this purpose, the Institute founded the Association for Historical Regional Studies of the Rhineland in 1925 , which quickly grew into one of the largest regional historical associations in Germany. The institute was closely connected to the University of Bonn, its chairs were also chairs at the university, but it was always able to retain a lot of freedom.

Due to the dispute over the occupied Ruhr area in the 1920s and around the Saarland (especially in the 1930s), the institute found numerous sponsors and political support: The work of the institute should have an identity-forming effect and promote cohesion among the Rhinelander. After Hermann Aubin had established the institute, he left Bonn in 1926; Franz Steinbach headed the institute for the next 35 years.

After 1935, the main focus of research was the question of “border and foreign Germanism”. An attempt was made to capture the Rhenish area in its entirety without overestimating the national borders at that time. This led to close scientific relationships with the Benelux countries and to an extremely lively exchange of journals with other publishing institutions, which are still in operation today. The attempt to research German culture across borders was welcomed and promoted by the National Socialists as a search for evidence for German claims in the West ( Western research ). The institute and historians close to it benefited from this. Despite the heavy impact of the war in Bonn, the IgL survived the Second World War comparatively well. The library was saved and today contains one of the most extensive collections on the Rhineland (with rare books and a number of Dutch and Belgian (current) magazines).


After the Second World War, the institute was tied more closely to the university. Since 1979 it has been called the Institute for Historical Regional Studies at the University of Bonn . In 1969, it also moved from the building on Poppelsdorfer Allee to the building at Am Hofgarten 22 . The main research focus was now on the historical regional studies. In the decades that followed, the IgL was the starting point for numerous innovations ( Historical Atlas of the Rhineland and others) and a center for research into the history of the Rhine, especially Bonn and Cologne . It formed the organizational framework for the Association for Historical Regional Studies and its annual institute conference. In addition, the " Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter " (RhVjbll) and the series " Rheinisches Archiv " continued to appear.

Since 1930, individual departments and disciplines have emerged from the institute and its environment, which have become increasingly independent, such as the subjects of folklore and linguistics . In addition, close cooperation was maintained with constitutional, social and economic history, historical geography and urban research , as well as cultural and church history . The focus of the latter was and is - following the trend in the history of the country in general - the Middle Ages.

Dissolution and succession

In the course of the reorganization of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Bonn in 2005/2006, the institute as such was officially dissolved. Although the individual departments remained housed under one roof, they now belong to different departments and their newly formed mantle institutes: The Rhenish Linguistics Research Unit and Folklore are now departments of the Institute for German Studies, Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies (Cultural Anthropology). The historical regional studies of the Rhineland were added to the newly designed Institute for Historical Studies as a department for Rhenish regional history . The “Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter” and the “Rheinische Archiv” will continue to be published by this department for Rhenish regional history. For the 2016/17 winter semester, the Department for Rhenish Regional History was merged with the Department for Early Modern History. Associated with the chair is the Center for Historical Peace Research , which houses an extensive collection of printed works and reproductions of archival materials on early modern peace history.

Directors of the institute

See also

Web links


  • Manfred Groten / Andreas Rutz (ed.): Rhenish regional history at the University of Bonn. Traditions - Developments - Perspectives , Göttingen 2007.
  • Manfred Groten: Regional history at the University of Bonn . In: Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 72 (2008), pp. 166–183.
  • Marlene Nikolay-Panter: history, method, politics. The institute and the historical regional studies of the Rhineland 1920–1945 . In: RhVjbll 60 (1996), pp. 233-262.
  • Marlene Nikolay-Panter: The association for historical regional studies of the Rhineland. Foundation and early years . In: RhVjbll 65 (2001), pp. 374-399.
  • Michael Rohrschneider: New start! On the merger of the Early Modern Age and Rhenish Regional History departments at the University of Bonn . In: Rhenish History - Scientific Blogging , January 23, 2017 ( online ).
  • Bernd-A. Rusinek , The Bonn Institute for Rhenish Regional Studies . In: Ulrich Pfeil (Ed.): German-French cultural and scientific relationships in the 20th century. An institutional history approach. Munich 2007 (= Paris Historical Studies , 81), pp. 31–46. ( online ).
  • Friedemann Schmoll : The measurement of culture. The "Atlas of German Folklore" and the German Research Foundation 1928–1980. Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 3515092986 (the atlas was an IgL project).