High School Herborn

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The High School Herborn ( Academia Nassauensis ) was a university-like German university in Herborn , which existed from 1584 to 1817. The theological faculty of the university continues to exist in a modified form in the "Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau ".


The Herborn Castle , the first seat of the high school until 1588
The building of the High School Herborn from 1588 to 1817

The Academia Nassauensis , a high school , was founded by Count Johann VI. founded by Nassau-Dillenburg at the urging of his brother Wilhelm von Oranien in the year of his death in 1584. The sovereign granted his students two warm meals and three liters of thin beer a day. The beginnings of the high school ( pedagogy ) were in Herborn Castle . In 1588, Count Johann bought the old town hall from the city of Herborn and had it converted into a high school with extensions. The later reformed university-like college was equipped with four faculties. It soon became one of the most important educational institutions for the Calvinist Reformed in Europe. In the Netherlands there was a comparable university with the University of Franeker .

Despite repeated efforts and the undisputed high quality of the teaching, the high school was not granted any imperial privilege to run the designation “ university ”, possibly because it was a Calvinist foundation. The high school therefore never had the right to award doctorates.

In the first heyday, which lasted until 1626, over 300 students were enrolled in Herborn. B. in 1603 about 400. Apart from a second bloom in the period from 1685 to 1725, the numbers fell sharply after 1626. Since then, on average, around 100 students have been registered in Herborn. History shows time and again strong fluctuations in the number of pupils and students. For example, in 1745 there were fewer than five students in the city. From its founding in 1584 to its closure in 1817, around 5,700 students from all over Europe studied here. Many came from Switzerland , Bohemia , Moravia , Hungary or Scotland ; 1,000 came from Herborn alone.

On December 17, 1811, Napoleon issued a decree to establish a state university for the Duchy of Berg (to which Herborn fell in 1806) in Düsseldorf and, among other things, to close the Herborn High School in its favor. As a result of the end of Napoleonic rule, this arrangement was no longer implemented, but the Duchy of Nassau , established in 1806, could not or did not want to continue the high school. The college was closed in 1817, only the theological faculty was continued as the theological seminary of the Evangelical Church in Nassau .

The successor to the high school, the theological seminary of today's Evangelical Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN), was located in Herborn Castle.

The original buildings are cultural monuments according to the Hessian Monument Protection Act and are also protected by the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict . Today they are used as a hotel and restaurant.

The upper floors are now the city museum with collections from the prehistory and early history of the Dill area, many exhibits on the history of the high school (there is also a rare disputation chair in the former lecture hall, the auditorium), its facilities, professors and students, as well as many other departments with exhibits from the eventful city history. Changing special exhibitions regularly deepen individual topics.


When it was founded, the high school had four faculties :

This order reflects the prestige ranking of the faculties that was customary at the time.

The building

The school building at Schulhofstraße 3–5 is now a listed building . It is the old town hall of Herborn. The local history museum with library and a restaurant are located in the U-shaped closed courtyard. The entrance to the courtyard is through an arched portal. The main building is a two-story quarry stone building. A bay window was added to the gable front in 1645 . The half-timbered gable of the attic with profiled offsets of the front attic beams and continuous rows of decorative shapes in the parapet compartments dates from 1591. The long side of the courtyard has three dwelling houses . A round stair tower is attached to the south-western corner of the building. The former auditorium is located on the ground floor , a large hall with a beamed ceiling resting on consoles spanning the ground floor in transverse direction without any support. The former cafeteria from the early 17th century with an octagonal corner tower is at an angle to the main building. The former brewery was later used as the residence of the professors of the high school. It is a half-timbered house from the 17th century on the western side of the courtyard. There is a 19th century cast iron fountain in the courtyard. The Mühlbach lies south of the property.


Memorial plaque for Johann Amos Comenius on the building of the former High School in Herborn


Surname time annotation
Caspar Olevian (1536–1587) 1584-1587 Founding rector, dogmatist and professor of theology
Johannes Piscator (1546-1625) 1584-1625 Professor of theology , major Bible translator
Johannes Althusius (1563–1638) 1586-1604 Professor of law, Calvinist state theorist, rector 1599/1600 and 1602
Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588–1638) 1610-1628 Professor of philosophy and theology, wrote the first German encyclopedia
Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld (1605–1655) 1629 Professor of Philosophy
Matthias Nethenus (1618–1686) 1669-1686 Professor of Theology
Johannes Voet (1647-1713) 1670-1674 Professor of Roman Law
Johannes Melchior (1646–1689) 1682-1689 Professor of theology, author of the first Reformed children's Bible
Nicolaus Gürtler (1654–1711) 1685-1688 Professor of philosophy and eloquence and head of education
Johann Heinrich Florin (1650–1700) 1688-1700 Teacher at the pedagogy and from 1691 professor of theology
Heinrich Horch (1652–1729) 1690-1698 Professor of canon law and church critic, he was removed from office in 1698: he had described the universities as the work of the devil.
Ernst Alexander Otto Cornelius Pagenstecher (1697–1753) 1722–1753? Professor of Law, Rector of the High School 1725, Nassau-Orange Council since 1733
Wilhelm Bernhard Nebel (1699–1748) 1700-1728 Mathematics, physics and medicine
Karl Andreas Duker (1670–1752) 1701-1704 Teacher for history and rhetoric at the Herborn pedagogy
Johann Heinrich Schramm (1676–1753) 1701-1707 Professor of Rhetoric, History and the Greek Language
Johann Matthias Florin (1680–1751) 1707-1751 Professor of Rhetoric, History and the Greek Language
Johann Eberhard Rau (1695–1770) 1721-1770 Professor of theology as well as the Greek and Hebrew languages
Johann Kasimir Mieg (1712–1764) 1733-1743; 1757-1764 Philosophy and theology
Johann Franz Coing (1725–1792) 1749-1753 Professor of Philosophy and Mathematics
Dietrich Christoph Ihringk (1727–1781) 1750-1752 Professor of Law
Johann Daniel Leers (1727–1774) 1755-1774 Botanist and head of the Hohe-Schul-Apotheke, author of the "Flora Herbornensis"
Wolrad Burchardi (1734–1793) 1757-1793 Professor of law, university syndicate and university archivist, twice rector


Surname time annotation
Count Philipp Ludwig II of Hanau-Münzenberg (1576–1612) 1585-1591 from 1585 student, 1588 at the pedagogy, 1589 rector of the high school and 1590 again as a student. In 1607 he founded the High School in Hanau , based on the example of the High School in Herborn
Count Albrecht von Hanau-Münzenberg (1579–1635) 1585-1591 Younger brother of Philipp Ludwig II.
Georg Pasor (1570-1637) from 1591 Student at pedagogy and high school, later professor for Greek at the university in Franeker, Friesland
Georg Cruciger (1575–1637) 1595-1597 Lutheran theologian, philosopher and university professor
Johann Textor (1582–1626) from 1599 Lawyer and historian
Johann Heinrich Alting (1583–1644) reformed theologian
Johann Heinrich Alsted (1588–1638) from 1608 Later professor at the high school
Johann Amos Comenius (1592–1670) from 1611 Promoter of education
Johann Heinrich Bisterfeld (1605–1655) 1619-1623 Later professor of philosophy at the high school
Friedrich von Bawyr (around 1600–1667) from 1622 Elector Brandenburg Lieutenant General , member of the Prussian General Staff
Johann Friedrich Mieg (1744-1819) before 1765 Reformed preacher, freemason and Illuminate
Georg Wilhelm Heinrich Seippel (1788–1850) Pastor of the Reformed Churches . Educator of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen .
Karl Friedrich Fuchs (1776–1846) from 1793 Doctor and professor at Kazan University
Christian Daniel Vogel (1789-1852) until 1812 Historian, topographer and pastor in the Duchy of Nassau
Carl Ludwig Heusler (1790-1851) 1807-1808 Entrepreneur and secret mountain ridge
Friedrich Christian Vogel (1800–1882) around 1820 Pastor, writer, poet and politician in Wittgenstein


Surname time annotation
Christoph Corvin (1552-1620) from 1585 academic printer

Worth knowing

The High School in Hanau was founded in 1607 based on the example of the High School in Herborn. It still exists today as a grammar school .


  • Johann Hermann Steubing: History of the high school Herborn. In the publishing house of the new learned bookstore, Hadamar 1823. (Reprint: Verlag Die Wielandschmiede, Kreuztal 1983)
  • Gottfried Zedler, Hans Sommer (ed.): The matriculation of the high school and the pedagogy in Herborn (= publications of the historical commission for Nassau. Volume 5, ISSN  0170-1568 ). Bergmann, Wiesbaden 1908.
  • Heinrich Schlosser: The High School Herborn and Caspar Olevian (= Main Association Wiesbaden of the Gustav Adolf Foundation. Flyer. No. 15). Ritter, Wiesbaden 1918.
  • Carl Heiler: The register of the high school in Herborn: 1725-1817. Reconstructed. In: Nassau Annals. Volume 55, 1935, ISSN  0077-2887 , pp. 149-184.
  • City of Herborn and Herborner Geschichtsverein e. V .: High School Herborn. City of Herborn and others, Herborn 1972.
  • Gerhard Menk : The Herborn High School in its early days (1584–1660). A contribution to the higher education system of German Calvinism in the age of the Counter Reformation (= publications of the Historical Commission for Nassau. Volume 30). Historical Commission for Nassau, Wiesbaden 1981, ISBN 3-922244-42-4 (At the same time: Frankfurt am Main, University, dissertation, 1975).
  • Dieter Wessinghage: The high school in Herborn and its medical faculty. 1584-1817-1984. = The High School of Herborn and its Medical Faculty. Schattauer, Stuttgart et al. 1984, ISBN 3-7945-1016-X .
  • Joachim Wienecke (Ed.): From the high school to the Theological Seminary Herborn. 1584-1984. Festschrift for the 400th anniversary. City Council, Herborn 1984.
  • Hans Haering: The late period of the high school in Herborn (1742-1817). Between Orthodoxy and Enlightenment (= European university publications. Row 3: History and its auxiliary sciences. Volume 615). Lang, Frankfurt am Main et al. 1994, ISBN 3-631-47632-9 . (At the same time: Marburg, University, dissertation, 1994)
  • Wilhelm A. Eckhardt, Gerhard Menk (ed.): Christian Wolff and the Hessian universities (= contributions to Hessian history. Volume 18). Trautvetter and Fischer, Marburg 2004, ISBN 3-87822-118-5 .
  • Christiane Bender, Hans Grassl, Zurich, 2018: Calvinist ethics and the spirit of federalism: https://www.nzz.ch/feuilleton/johannes-althusius-er-verband-calvinismus-und-foederalismus-ld.1440260

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Störkel in Festschrift 1984, p. 26.
  2. Störkel in Festschrift 1984, p. 55.
  3. ^ Print edition of the Dill newspaper , June 8, 2011.
  4. ^ State Office for the Preservation of Monuments Hesse (ed.): High School In: DenkXweb, online edition of cultural monuments in Hesse
  5. Zedler, pp. 7 (no. 73), 10, 11 (no. 179), 185 (no. 29).