Johanneum Lueneburg

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Johanneum High School in Lüneburg
Main building, view from the southeast
type of school high school
founding 1406

Theodor-Heuss-Strasse 1
21337 Lüneburg

place Luneburg
country Lower Saxony
Country Germany
Coordinates 53 ° 14 '43 "  N , 10 ° 25' 47"  E Coordinates: 53 ° 14 '43 "  N , 10 ° 25' 47"  E
carrier City of Lueneburg
student around 1100
Teachers 93
management Ulrike Lindemann
Main building, view from the southwest

The Johanneum is the oldest and most traditional of the still existing high schools in the Hanseatic city of Lüneburg . In the 2018/19 school year around 1,100 students will be taught by 93 teachers. The school authority is the city of Lüneburg.

History of the Johanneum

Founding time

Establishing a municipal school in Lüneburg was initially difficult. In 1350, Duke Otto gave the Benedictines of the “Schola externa” of the Michaeliskloster a school monopoly: no other school could be set up in or outside the city. The council nevertheless achieved its goal of founding its own school with "astonishing diplomatic skill". To this end, he first allowed the Premonstratensian monks from Heiligenthal to move their monastery to the city and then to set up a “secular” school in the new monastery. After a long legal dispute in which the Pope himself took sides, namely for the Benedictines and the council for the Premonstratensians, the council reached an amicable agreement on September 15, 1406 with great negotiating skills between the city and the Michaelis monastery, and the Premonstratensians could continue their school; it is said to have existed until shortly before the monastery was dissolved (1530).

The history of the Heiligenthaler Gymnasium thus became the prehistory of the Johanneum. The city council pursued more far-reaching goals: it wanted to set up its own city school, which was solely subordinate to it. The day of unification, September 15, 1406, marked the end of the monopoly of the Michaelis monastery and at the same time the city school was born. Right from the start, it was closely connected to the St. John's Church , which the city had just given patronage . The “sunte Johannis schole” (Sankt-Johannis-Schule) should be open to all strata of the population; Less well-to-do students paid a reduced tuition fee, for those who were completely poor there were grants from wealthy citizens.

The city was very interested in its own school for various reasons: first of all, the task was to “secure the learned young people for administration, jurisprudence and health services in the steadily growing city.” Second, the teaching of Latin language skills was of elementary importance for the Hanseatic city - Latin was an important lingua franca for the Hanseatic merchant, who also did business abroad or with foreign countries.

Thirdly, however, it was just as important that the school had the task of organizing the regular services and other celebrations - especially the funeral celebrations - through the singing of the students - this could only be guaranteed by a permanent choir , which at that time could only be trained at one school.

How important this task was can be seen from the fact that in the oldest surviving school regulations of the Johanneum from 1501, apart from the rector, only one permanent teaching position was mentioned: that of the succentor - later called cantor . This was directly in the service of the church - in this respect one cannot speak of a “secular” school in today's sense. There were also only a few auxiliary teachers, known as baccalarii or locati.

The school regulations of 1501 also provide initial indications of learning content and educational goals: The director ("scholmester") has the overall supervision; He is to see to it that the pupils “ are instructed in good discipline, fine morals, serious teaching and view of life, in addition in Latin, in grammar , logic , rhetoric and other liberal arts ... The teachers should exercise fraternal harmony, fine themselves behave, especially since avoiding ordinary pubs, jugs or places of fornication as well as unseemly games towards the students. "

At the beginning of the 16th century, the scholmester, later called the rector, was still able to choose his teachers (his “journeymen”) himself and control the lessons and the school rules himself. Only the cantor stood next to him with about equal rights. The lessons first took place in the house of councilor van der Mölen. In 1483 the school moved into its own building on the north side of the Johanniskirche between Johannisfriedhof and Papenstraße.

The close relationship with the neighboring St. John's Church was particularly evident in the way the choir was cared for, with which the students organized church services, church celebrations and funerals. Many students had to provide for their own living; one possibility was the chant , but also funerals were a welcome source of income, as well as the Kurrendesingen in the dark winter months between Martini (10.11.) and Candlemas (2.2.). Church singing was maintained at the Johanneum until 1926.

16.-18. century

School was also heavily influenced by the Reformation . The council had long opposed the introduction of the new doctrine and only gave in at the urging of Duke Ernst and the citizens. At their request, the Swabian court preacher Urbanus Rhegius came to Lüneburg, carried out the Reformation and in June 1531 issued new church and school regulations. In it he formulated pedagogical principles, especially for the beginning lessons, and particularly emphasized the role of the schoolmaster. “The treatment of the children should be gentle. One spoils school for them with rudeness and anger, so that they would rather tend cows. Talented sons of poor parents are to be promoted from public funds. ”It would be quite wrong, it is said, to want to save costs and hire a simple-minded schoolmaster.

Outstanding school principals played a key role in ensuring that the Johanneum flourished in the 16th century and that up to 300 students were taught there. Hermann Tulich (Latinized: Tullius or Tulichius) from Steinheim (Westphalia) exchanged a professorship in Wittenberg in 1531 for the office of Rector at the Johanneum, which he held until his death in 1540. Lucas Lotze (Lossius) later worked at the Johanneum for fifty years between 1532 and 1582 - first as the lowest teacher and then as rector - and wrote numerous school books that paint a picture of how the lower and middle classes were taught.

During the Reformation and in the decades that followed, Lüneburg was a rich and prosperous city , primarily due to its long monopoly as a salt supplier in Northern Europe. In the last third of the 16th century that changed, however: with the decline of the Hanseatic League - and the lack of herrings around 1560 before Falsterbo in Skåne - the city lost its major customers in the salt trade ; Lüneburg quickly became impoverished.

Although the city was largely spared from destruction during the Thirty Years' War , because trade shifted due to the war and the changed political conditions, Lüneburg suffered further economic losses and in 1635 also lost its political freedom. Lüneburg was now only an "insignificant, laboriously struggling for its existence, unfree country town."

This also had a devastating effect on the school system. There was no hospitia for poor pupils , and the usual influx of pupils from far away because of the good reputation of the Johanneum had almost completely ceased; the few remaining wealthy families in the city let their sons teach in the house. The number of pupils fell to 200, at the end of the Seven Years' War there were only 49. In 1758 the schoolhouse had to be cleared and served as a prison camp. School and students made a bleak picture.

“It is downright shocking and almost unbelievable what old files and chronicles report about the internal order of the school and the moral attitude of the students. ... Downright unbelievable complaints are made about the behavior of the students in class, insofar as they visit it at all. You do this at will. It is said in 1686 that some students skip school up to a hundred times a year. 30 to 60 times is the average. ... The most sad thing about it is the helplessness of the principal and teachers. "

19th and early 20th century

At the beginning of the 19th century, the school building was repurposed: after the entry of Napoleonic troops on June 27, 1803, it was first used as a military hospital , then a French Masonic lodge , and during the Wars of Liberation it was used as a military hospital until 1814 . During this time, lessons took place in the teacher's office.

Then things slowly improved again with the Johanneum; the school also grew again after the Michaelis School was closed in 1819. The Johanneum received a new school building north of St. John's Church in 1828/29, which today houses the Johannes Rabeler School. The old building had suffered too much from its misuse at the beginning of the century and no longer met the spatial requirements. The directors Johann Friedrich Wagner (Rector 1794–1832) and above all Karl Haage the Elder (1832–42) reformed the teaching according to content and methods. The main focus of the lessons was still the ancient languages. The inscription doctrinae, virtuti, humanitati , which had stood above the school portal since 1829, was Haage's motto. In 1830 the first matriculation examination took place with three high school graduates, including the later mayor of Lüneburg, GFW Barckhausen.

In 1834 the successor of the Haages, Wilhelm Volger, set up two secondary school classes in the previous official residence of the directors on the first floor of the Kaland building , in which mathematics and natural sciences were given greater consideration. The school, from which the later Realgymnasium am Johanneum emerged, developed quickly. In 1860 the humanistic grammar school was attended by 258 and the secondary school by 140 students. In 1868 this branch of secondary school had developed into a secondary school, and in 1870 six candidates were taken to take their final exams.

The growth of the school made it necessary to build a larger new building. In January 1869, construction work began on the leveled Roten Wall, and in 1872 the new building (today: Oberschule am Wasserturm) could be moved into. Under the director August Nebe, a pedagogical seminar for the practical training of candidates for teaching at secondary schools was affiliated to the Johanneum in 1904 .

In September 1906, the 500th anniversary of the founding of the Johanneum was celebrated with splendor; the celebrations extended over three days. This included a festival service, a reception in the town hall, gymnastics games and a torchlight procession. In 1912/13 the shortage of space was eliminated by adding the wings on the north and south sides of the building on the Roten Wall. Instead of the 60-minute hour, the 45-minute hour was introduced and the previous afternoon classes were abolished in 1909/10.

20th century

First World War and Weimar Republic

When the 1st World War broke out, 13 teachers and 65 senior primans registered as volunteers, so that both classes of the senior primaries disbanded. The other classes continued teaching as retired teachers were reactivated. (Reinecke II, 569) Lessons were canceled several times due to the lack of coal, and from 1917 the building was shared with the Lyceum . There were difficulties in obtaining teaching materials and the poor health of the students was a cause for concern. In the first year of the war in 194, 78 students and teachers at the Johanneum were killed; the memorial plaques with the names of the fallen are in the auditorium, today part of the secondary school at the water tower. A total of 305 former students and three teachers were killed in the war.

When the Workers' and Soldiers' Council called for the formation of student councils in November 1918 , the candidates for the teachers' seminar followed the call, but the Johanniter refused. "One did not get the impression that there had been a spirit of bondage and dead subordination in Lüneburg up to now," they said. The director of the Johanneum rejected the intended introduction of a general elementary school and the associated abolition of the “pre-school” for pupils who then wanted to go to a grammar school. He was able to speak out publicly against the alleged "compulsory unity school" without being reprimanded for it.

The 1920s brought many innovations to the school. Even if the director was against it, the preschool at the Johanneum was abolished due to the introduction of the four-year elementary school in 1920. Further innovations for a more youth-friendly education in the sense of the Prussian school reform of 1924 were, for example, the removal of the raised catheters in the classrooms, the establishment of a monthly hiking day and class trips lasting several days, the organization of an annual school festival with sporting competitions, forest stage theater, coffee table and evening torchlight procession from the Rote Schleuse back to the city, the establishment of several student associations, which should promote the self-responsible activity of the students in different areas, as well as the possibility for the upper classes to form a student committee. Music and art lessons were now taught in all grades.

As an overall organization, the Johanneum remained unchanged: Gymnasium and Realgymnasium with a common lower level. The first foreign language was Latin, the second English and the third Greek for the grammar school and French for the secondary school. The year 1929 was a high point for the Johanneum. The Prussian Ministry for Art, Science and Public Education included it as one of the “particularly important institutions” of the State of Prussia . The city of Lüneburg supported "their" school during this time with new furniture, replaced the gas lighting with electric light and had the physics room converted for practical exercises.

National Socialism and World War II

The school organization of the Weimar Republic , aimed at more democracy in schools and more individual activity and responsibility of the pupils, could not fully develop in the few years up to 1933. After 1933, National Socialism and the Second World War brought other ideas and models. Influences outside the school had an impact on everyday school life and teaching - for example, the abolition of lessons on Saturdays in favor of "services" in the Hitler Youth, the abolition of student associations and student hats, numerous days of hiking and trips to the detriment of specialist lessons, the cancellation of the 13th school year as well as the increasing disdain for the humanistic grammar school, that is, the ancient language branch. The interventions in their entirety caused the level of teaching and the value of the Abitur to sink more and more, which the director of the time, Gade, also recognized and freely admitted.

After the war, the blatant shortage of classrooms, the lack of suitable textbooks and, above all, the initially prevailing shortage of teachers made it difficult to restore satisfactory teaching. Nine of the 25 teachers who were permanently employed at the Johanneum until the end of 1944 were not allowed to teach again by the British military government; seven of them were provisionally released from service as part of the denazification process.

After World War II: Between tradition and change

Even after World War II, the Johanneum remained a school for boys only, in which many traditional rites were maintained. The students were initially addressed by their last name, and they stood up when the teacher entered the class. They also had to stand up every time they answered. The following decades brought a gradual "change from authoritarian thinking based on authoritarian structures to liberal, collaborative, critical thinking."

However, this development was not without distortions. A part of the radical democratic-revolutionary thinking and the forms of protest of the student movement of the 1960s spilled over into the tranquil Lüneburg and for a short time also affected the Johanneum. The reason was that the high school graduates from 1969 had chosen a student for the student speech who belonged to the Socialist Student Union (SSB), who was in close contact with the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) . The election of this student as speaker was rejected by the school management, and the student council (SMV) then tried to find a compromise candidate in a new election. Only about half of the high school graduates took part in this election, and the rejected pupil was re-elected with a majority of one vote. The headmaster did not accept this choice; there should now be no student speech at all. SSB and SDS responded with a plethora of leaflets with harsh criticism and defamation of the headmaster. The front of the Johanneum was repeatedly smeared with slogans without the perpetrators being identified. Two students caught handing out leaflets were to be expelled from school; however, the references had to be withdrawn after the head of department objected. The Lüneburger Landeszeitung reported on “a targeted 'uncertainty' associated with disruptions in teaching, loss of confidence and nervous warfare against teachers and classmates”. In the end, the headmaster no longer had the strength to perform his duties and applied for his retirement.

The conversion of the traditionally purely boys' school (girls were only taught occasionally for special occasions, female teachers were only available as emergency helpers in wartime) into a coeducational school took place in the 1971/72 school year; since then girls have also been visiting the Johanneum. Another drastic measure was the introduction of the controversial cross-school orientation level in 1980, which removed the lower two grades from every secondary school. It was not until 2004 that the Johanneum got the 5th and 6th grades back after the nationwide abolition of the orientation level, but initially in a branch office due to insufficient space. In 1998 the Johanneum was certified as an EXPO school and in 2000 it took part in the world exhibition in Hanover with the theme “Nature as an Invention of Man” .



Up until the 19th century, teaching was carried out in different buildings. It was not until 1828/1829 that they moved into their own school building north of St. John's Church (today's Johannes Rabeler School) and in 1872 a new building on the Roten Wall (since 1978 Hauptschule Stadtmitte, since 2014 Oberschule am Wasserturm). Since 1978 the Johanneum has been housed in a modern building "am Schierbrunnen" on Theodor-Heuss-Straße.


Classes for students in grades 8–12 take place in the main building; The pupils in grades 5–7 are housed in the new building next to the main building, which was completed in August 2017. Since 2016, all classrooms in the main building have been equipped with interactive digital boards . The classrooms of the new building followed in October 2017. In order to expand the space to include the six-room layout, plans are currently underway for another building.

Educational offer

Bilingual classes in English

In order to take into account the growing importance of the English language, the students of the Johanneum can optionally receive lessons in the subjects history (from grade 7) and biology (from grade 8) in English ( bilingual branch ). The great response is evidence of the success of this concept.

Natural sciences

The science lessons start with biology and physics from grade 5 and chemistry from grade 6 and take place continuously up to the upper level, where courses in all three natural sciences are always offered at both basic and advanced levels. The offer is supplemented by the working groups Jugend forscht and students experiment (grades 7–12), discover natural phenomena (grades 5–6), Lego robots (grades 5–12) and climate protection and sustainability (grades 7–12) as well as astronomy ( Grades 7-12). In the Jugend forscht competition , the Johanneum regularly has the most participants from all schools in north-eastern Lower Saxony and was awarded a school prize in 2010, 2016 and 2019.

Basic information technology education and computer science

The school concept for IT basic education ( ITG ) begins in year 6. Computer science is offered as an elective from year 10; in the upper level computer science can be used as power rate are occupied (course at a higher level) and selected as Abiturprüfung compartment.

New language lessons

In addition to English as a compulsory first foreign language, students can choose French or Spanish as a second foreign language from grade 6 onwards.

Ancient language lessons

More than 600 years after the school was founded, ancient language teaching still has its place on the timetable. Latin can be taken as a second foreign language from grade 5; The small Latinum can be acquired as a qualification or additional qualification after class 9, the Latinum after class 10 and the large Latinum after class 12.

In addition, the Johanneum is one of the few high schools in Lower Saxony that also offer Greek lessons. Greek can be chosen as a third foreign language from the second half of the seventh grade or from grade 8. Up to and including grade 10, the subject is taught three hours per week and leads to the acquisition of the Graecum in grade 11 ; it can be chosen as an Abitur examination subject.

High School

The high school graduates of the Johanneum regularly achieve the best results of all grammar schools in the district, for example in 2016 with an average grade of 2.39 and in 2018 with an average grade of 2.44.

Partner schools

The Johanneum maintains school partnerships and student exchanges with the following schools:

Well-known students and teachers

The list of well-known personalities of the Johanneum Lüneburg provides an overview of well-known students and teachers .


  • Program of the Johanneum zu Lüneburg to celebrate the fifty years of official activity of the Cantor Gottfried Anding , volume 1855, digitized version of the SLUB Dresden via EOD
  • Wilhelm Görges: Brief history of the Johanneum. In: Program of the Johanneum. Easter 1869 . Stern, Lüneburg 1869, pp. 3-30
  • Wilhelm Görges, August Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. Festschrift for the 500th anniversary of the Johanneum in September 1906 . Stern, Lüneburg 1906, DNB 580879860 .
  • Friedrich Hülsemann: Attempt of a pragmatic history of the Johannis and Rathsschule in Lüneburg. Stern, Lüneburg 1807.
  • Gerhard Glombik: Prominent former Johanniter. Johanneum Lüneburg 600 years! Johanneum High School Lüneburg, Lüneburg 2006, DNB 981315003 .
  • Adolf Kantelhardt (Ed.): The Johanneum to Lüneburg in the past and present. Festschrift for the 550th anniversary of the institution 1406–1956. Lüneburg 1956, DNB 452231604 .
  • Georg Matthaei: Lüneburg's churches and schools , in: From Lüneburg's thousand-year past. Festschrift. Published by Ulrike Wendland on behalf of the city of Lüneburg. Heliand, Lüneburg 1956, pp. 30-65.
  • Elmar Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. Published by the Museum Association for the Principality of Lüneburg. 2nd edition, Buchhandlung am Markt, Lüneburg 1999. ISBN 3-922616-15-1
  • Wilhelm Reinecke: The development of the Johanneum to Lüneburg. Contained in: Lüneburg museum sheets. H. 2, Lüneburg 1905, pp. 1-32.
  • Wilhelm Reinecke: History of the city of Lüneburg. 2 volumes, Heinrich-Heine-Buchhandlung, Lüneburg 1977 (reprint of the edition Lüneburg 1933).
  • Wilhelm Friedrich Volger: News from the older and newer buildings of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1829

Web links

Commons : Johanneum Lüneburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The number of students is not occupied.
  2. The number of teachers is not occupied.
  3. ^ Matthaei: Lüneburgs churches and schools. 1956, p. 49
  4. ^ Matthaei: Lüneburgs churches and schools. 1956, p. 49
  5. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 127
  6. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 127
  7. ^ Matthaei: Lüneburgs churches and schools. 1956, p. 50
  8. ^ Görges, Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1906, p. 1
  9. ^ Order "because of the regiment of the scholmester and succentors to sannt Johannis", quoted in. after: Görges, Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1906, p. 4
  10. cit. at Reinecke: History of the city of Lüneburg. Vol. 2. 1977, p. 181 f.
  11. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 128
  12. ^ Görges, Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1906, p. 6
  13. ^ Reinecke: History of the City of Lüneburg. Vol. 2. 1977, p. 184 f.
  14. ^ Görges, Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1906, p. 13
  15. ^ Matthaei: Lüneburgs churches and schools. 1956, p. 57
  16. ^ Matthaei: Lüneburgs churches and schools. 1956, p. 58
  17. ^ Görges, Nebe: History of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. 1906, p. 75
  18. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 358
  19. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 360
  20. The presentation follows Heidegret Willamowski’s presentation in: Johanneum Lüneburg (ed.): Festschrift 600 Years of Johanneum Lüneburg. 2006, p. 43 f.
  21. ^ Reinecke: The origin of the Johanneum in Lüneburg. Vol. 2, 1905, p. 581
  22. ^ Peter: Lüneburg. History of a 1000 year old city 956-1956. 2nd ed., 1999, p. 434
  23. ^ Johanneum Lüneburg (ed.): Festschrift 600 years Johanneum Lüneburg. 2006, p. 44
  24. ^ To Kantelhardt: The Johanneum zu Lüneburg in the past and present. 1956, p. 40
  25. ^ To Kantelhardt: The Johanneum zu Lüneburg in the past and present. 1956, p. 52
  26. That was the conclusion of the former deputy. Headmaster, Rolf Welle, in: Johanneum Lüneburg (Hg.): Festschrift 600 years Johanneum Lüneburg. 2006, p. 52 f.
  27. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath v. April 22, 1969
  28. ^ The incidents are described by Rolf Welle, in: Johanneum Lüneburg (ed.): Festschrift 600 years Johanneum Lüneburg. 2006, p. 53 f.
  29. ^ High school Johanneum Lüneburg - Ceremonial inauguration of the new building. Retrieved August 27, 2017 .
  30. ^ Johanneum: Schedule for Expansion. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath, accessed on June 10, 2016 .
  31. ^ Topping- out ceremony for the extension to the Johanneum. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath, accessed on February 1, 2016 .
  32. Johanneum receives a 140,000 euro gift. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath, accessed on January 9, 2016 .
  33. Anonymous donor gives the school 140,000 euros. Norddeutscher Rundfunk, accessed on January 9, 2016 .
  34. 97 girls and boys take part in the “Jugend forscht” competition in Lüneburg. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath, accessed on June 15, 2016 .
  35. Lüneburg does the Abitur with 2.57. In: Landeszeitung für die Lüneburg Heath , June 18, 2016
  36. Lüneburg's Abitur average is 2.56. In: Landeszeitung für die Lüneburg Heath , June 23, 2018
  37. ^ Lycée Jacques Monod