Heidelberg University

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University of Heidelberg
motto Semper Apertus
founding 1386
place Coat of arms Heidelberg.svg Heidelberg (seat), Mannheim
state Baden-WürttembergBaden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg
country GermanyGermany Germany
Rector Bernhard Eitel
Students 28,653 (WS 2019/20)
Employee 15,008 (2018)
including professors 527
Annual budget € 764.9 million (2018)
  • University: € 401.1 million
  • Medical faculties: € 363.8 million
Networks Coimbra Group , DFH , German U15 , Excellence Initiative , IAU , LERU , 4EU + Alliance
Website www.uni-heidelberg.de

The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (formerly Latin Ruperto Carola ) is a university of the state of Baden-Württemberg in Heidelberg . It is one of the oldest European universities and the oldest university in Germany .

The full university was founded in 1386 on the instructions of Pope Urban VI. Founded by the Palatinate Elector Ruprecht I and reorganized in 1803 by the Baden Margrave Karl Friedrich - the name of the university refers to these two rulers. After Charles University in Prague and the University of Vienna, the university is the third oldest university in the then Holy Roman Empire north of the Alps and the second oldest existing university in the German-speaking area. It received the founding privilege of Pope Urban VI in 1385. and began teaching in 1386. The University of Erfurt received the founding privilege of Pope Clement VII as early as 1379 , but did not start teaching until 1392. In addition, the University of Erfurt was later closed for almost two centuries.

In the 2019/20 winter semester, 28,653 students were enrolled and 527 professors were teaching. The university buildings are mostly distributed over Heidelberg's old town , the Bergheim district and the Neuenheimer Feld . A special feature is the existence of two medical faculties, one of which is located at the Heidelberg University Hospital and the other at the Mannheim University Hospital .

As a successful participant in the Excellence Initiative (2007–2012 and 2012–2017) and the subsequent Excellence Strategy (since 2019) of the federal and state governments, the university is one of the eleven so-called universities of excellence in Germany and is a founding member of the League of European Research Universities and Coimbra Group . Around 18% of the students come from abroad. In an international comparison, it occupies top positions and enjoys a high academic reputation. The university location of Heidelberg is associated with 57 Nobel Prize winners , the university itself with 33 Nobel Prize winners .

The library is the landmark of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg and at the same time the oldest university
library in Germany
The old university , designed by master builder Johann Adam Breunig , is now the seat of the rectorate
Campus Altstadt, Alte Universität Heidelberg, Universitätsplatz Heidelberg


Urban VI. signed the papal bull on October 23, 1385 in Genoa
Elector Ruprecht I on a painting, shown with his wives Elisabeth von Namur and Beatrix von Berg
Marsilius von Inghen was the first rector of the newly founded Heidelberg University
Heiliggeistkirche, still with the original Gothic steeple, with a pointed helmet , on a painting by Jacques Fouquières from around 1618. On the left, Heidelberg Castle before its destruction in 1693.
Ruprecht III. and his wife Elisabeth von Hohenzollern-Nürnberg in a miniature copy of a now-lost mural in Heidelberg Castle (Bavarian National Museum Munich, Inv. No. NN 3610).

Foundation phase

The Ruperto Carola was with papal approval of Urban VI. Founded in 1386 by Elector Ruprecht I to give his heavily fragmented territory, the Electoral Palatinate , a spiritual center, to attract foreigners and, against the background of the Great Western Schism, to train church and state servants in their own country: graduates of the Parisians who held the Pope in Avignon Sorbonne could no longer enter church services in the Palatinate, which held the Pope residing in Rome , which is why there was a need for local theologian training.

The foundation deeds were made out on October 1, 1386. The Studium Generale began on October 18 with a Holy Mass , and lectures began the next day. The order for a silver seal is also dated October 18th. The university still has the seal image in its logo today. The first professors at the young Heidelberg University came from Paris and Prague . Before the church split and the nationality struggles, they fled their homeland to what was then a safe country in Heidelberg. The first rector of Heidelberg University was Marsilius von Inghen , who had previously taught at the Sorbonne and also held the post of rector there. He was a prominent representative of the philosophical direction of nominalism , which was exclusively taught in Heidelberg for a long time. The first chancellor was the provost of Worms, Konrad von Gelnhausen , who advocated the conciliar idea during the schism and provided Heidelberg University with books and financial resources in his will.

The university initially suffered from considerable space problems; the lectures took place in the Augustinian and Franciscan monasteries. The university gained more space when Elector Ruprecht II drove the Jews out of Heidelberg and left vacant buildings to the university. The synagogue was converted into the Marienkapelle and served as a lecture hall . To finance the university, Elector Ruprecht III founded the Holy Spirit pen. The Heiliggeistkirche also served as the university church until St. Peter's Church took over this function in the 19th century .

The electors took care of their university, but also intervened in their autonomy wherever it seemed necessary to them. In this way they created space for new intellectual currents such as humanism . Frederick the Victorious, for example, carried out an important university reform: Realism could now also be taught at the theological faculty , which meant a degree of freedom of teaching. At the same time, secular law was now taught in addition to church law. Friedrichs Hofrat Andreas Hartmanni was elected rector of the university seven times between 1463 and his death in 1495, and thus more often than any of his former or later official colleagues. Among the canons of the Heiliggeistkirche was his younger relative Hartmannus Hartmanni , who around 1510 donated the longest-lasting of the early scholarships at the university, which existed until 1949.

Reformation and Reform

Despite Martin Luther's Heidelberg disputation of 1518 , the university closed itself off against the Reformation for a long time. Although the Electoral Palatinate Chancellor Hartmannus Hartmanni the Elder , son of the former rector, was able to persuade Elector Friedrich II in 1546 to appoint Heinrich Stoll (1489–1557), the evangelical preacher of the Church of the Holy Spirit (1489–1557), rector of the university against the will of the professors of the old faith To be appointed, at first only the reform of the artist faculty and the Collegium principis (also called Collegium artistarum ) succeeded. It was not until Elector Ottheinrich that the entire university converted into a Protestant state university in 1556. In this context, he carried out the most drastic university reform up to that point: from now on, students were to wear normal bourgeois clothing instead of the previously prescribed religious costume. The study of Hebrew and Greek became compulsory at the theological faculty, and more emphasis was placed on practical training at the medical faculty .

The new statutes and statutes of the university introduced in 1558 had largely been drawn up by Philipp Melanchthon , who was in Heidelberg in October 1557. As a result, respected professors were won as lecturers and electoral advisors for the university. So the legal scholar Christoph Ehe (i) m from Tübingen and on special recommendation of Melanchthon the humanist and professor for ancient languages Jakob Micyllus as well as for the medical faculty Jacob Curio , Thomas Erastus and Petrus Lotichius Secundus . The attempts by Georg Marius , who was employed as professor and dean in 1561 , to expand anatomical lessons through sections were not financed by the medical faculty and Marius left the university in 1562 after lively arguments with the rector.

In the second half of the 16th century Heidelberg was by Elector Friedrich III. a center of European science and culture and acquired a special character as a Calvinist university. Heidelberg became the German Geneva , a center of Calvinist scholarship, whose international reach drew professors and students from all over Europe. The official Calvinization of the Palatinate was carried out by Christoph Eheim. With the help of the theological faculty, the famous Heidelberg Catechism was created in 1563 . In addition to Calvinism, late humanism appeared at the end of the 16th century . During this period, Paul Schede , Jan Gruter , Martin Opitz , Julius Wilhelm Zincgref and Matthäus Merian worked here .

Thirty Years' War

The heyday lasted until 1618. The Thirty Years War hit the university hard. Teaching was interrupted several times, and in 1622 the world-famous Bibliotheca Palatina was carried off to Rome. The arduous new beginning after the war was shattered by the complete destruction of Heidelberg by the troops of Louis XIV in 1693. Again the university was closed for several years. In the course of this, in May 1693 Daniel Nebel and Johann Ludwig Fabricius transferred the archives of the University of Heidelberg via the stations in Hanau and Frankfurt am Main to the University of Marburg . In 1698, the seat of the University of Heidelberg, together with the electoral residence, was relocated to Weinheim , about 18 km to the north, for two years .

18th century

Domus Wilhelmina from 1735, today called the Old University , historical picture (around 1900)

In the 18th century, intellectual mediocrity prevailed in Heidelberg. Most of the professors were provided by Jesuits , who mostly only stayed briefly in Heidelberg. In other professorial positions, the inheritance of these positions prevailed, which damaged the scientific level. The previously undisputed Protestant character was lost due to a belated Counter-Reformation . Financial mismanagement and the revolutionary wars at the end of the 18th century deprived the university of its property and independent income.

1712–1728 a new main building was built on Universitätsplatz with the Domus Wilhelmina , now known as the Old University , under the direction of the court architect Johann Adam Breunig .

19th century

The auditorium of the Old University was restored in the
neo-renaissance style on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Heidelberg University in 1886
Chair in the auditorium of the Old University of Heidelberg
Wall painting in the student prison, Old University, Augustinergasse entrance

The transfer of Heidelberg to the Grand Duchy of Baden in 1806 brought about a new beginning. The university was mainly reorganized by the Baden State Minister Sigismund von Reitzenstein and turned into a state-financed educational institution. The university added the name of the first Grand Duke of Baden, Karl Friedrich , to the name of its founder. Since then it has been called Ruprecht-Karls-Universität and in Latin, the mandatory lecture language at all universities in the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation until the 19th century, Ruperto Carola .

The university was spiritually shaped by neo-humanism , but the Romantics also found supporters among professors and students. Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel taught in Heidelberg for two years , Schlosser founded his own Heidelberg school of political history, and the physician Maximilian Joseph von Chelius attracted patients from all over Europe. Heidelberg professors were among the promoters of Vormärz liberalism, several of them were members of the Frankfurt National Assembly in 1848 . After the revolution, Ludwig Häusser became the spokesman for the liberal-nation-state sentiment in south-west Germany. While the natural sciences experienced a great moment in the collaboration of Robert Bunsen , Gustav Kirchhoff and Hermann von Helmholtz , Heidelberg was widely known as a law university in the 19th century .

According to the address book of the University of Heidelberg from 1860, the university had 660 students in the summer semester of that year, 466 of them foreigners and 194 of those from Baden.

In 1886 the university celebrated its 500th anniversary. Towards the end of the 19th century, the number of students enrolled, including women for the first time since the 1900 summer semester, was around 1,500 (usually higher in the summer semester than in the winter semester), most of whom were enrolled in the law faculty. In a speech in 1900, Karl Heinrich Rosenbusch cited the following figures: “In the summer semester (1900), 1,553 students were enrolled, namely 52 theologians, 564 lawyers, 301 medical professionals, 269 philosophers, 367 naturalists - in addition to 109 interns and 13 female students, a total of 1675 listeners . In the current winter semester (1900/1901) the total frequency is 1422, namely 32 theologians, 395 lawyers, 239 medical professionals, 228 philosophers, 386 naturalists plus 121 interns and 21 listeners. Among the enrolled students - starting from the summer semester 1900 onwards - there are also female students, after a ministerial resolution has resulted in women who have a high school diploma from a German, state-recognized grammar school. in the special cases of such a Realgymnasium or an Oberrealschule, may be admitted for matriculation. However, approval is initially only given on a trial basis. "

20th century to 1945

At the beginning of the century, the two most important representatives of the Southwest German School of Neo-Kantianism taught in Heidelberg, Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert . Heidelberg was a cosmopolitan and liberal university. This was evident not only in the numerous foreign students, but since the turn of the century in the specific Heidelberg spirit, the interdisciplinary conversation that was inspired by Max Weber with his friends, especially the theologian Ernst Troeltsch , and a group of young scholars.

In 1910, Marie Freifrau von Campenhausen, b. Maria Clara Bassermann (1876–1953; daughter of Gustav Heinrich Bassermann ), the first woman admitted to the Philosophical Faculty as a university lecturer, to hold courses in singing and rhetoric. Since 1900 women in Baden had the opportunity to study, but until 1930 only three other women apart from Campenhausen were active in teaching .

Weimar Republic

The living spirit . Seated Minerva by Karl Albiker (1931)

In the Weimar Republic , the university, shaped by professors like Karl Jaspers , Gustav Radbruch , Martin Dibelius , Alfred Weber , Karl Mannheim and Emil Lederer , was widely regarded as a stronghold of the democratic spirit. On the initiative of US Ambassador Jacob Gould Schurman , a former student of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, American donations of over 500,000 dollars made it possible for Karl Gruber to establish the New University in 1930 . It was given the dedication “To the living spirit” formulated by Friedrich Gundolf , which, after being replaced by the dedication “To the German Spirit” during the Nazi dictatorship, was restored in 1945 on the instructions of the American military government, with the 1936 instead of the Pallas Athene Karl Albiker's attached imperial eagle was removed and the Greek goddess of art and science was returned to its original place.

But the physicist and Nobel Prize winner Philipp Lenard was early on in the interests of the National Socialists . In a public incident on the occasion of the day of remembrance for the murdered Walter Rathenau , the student of the Institute for Social and Political Sciences Carlo Mierendorff stood out. The philosophy assistant Arnold Ruge , who distinguished himself through public anti-Semitic hate speech, was finally withdrawn from teaching because of insulting university members. Emil Gumbel then had to give way to the pressure of the nationalist political propaganda against him.

Scientifically, the philosophy and law faculties in particular shaped the image of Heidelberg at that time. The Institute for Social and Political Sciences (“InSoSta”), which was founded by Alfred Weber and part of the Philosophical Faculty, formed a bridge between the two faculties. It was the most important social science institute of the Weimar Republic, had a high proportion of Jewish lecturers and attracted many students from the youth movement. But Ludolf von Krehl and Victor von Weizsäcker also went new ways with the concept of holistic medicine.

National Socialism

Celebration on the occasion of the university's 550th anniversary in June 1936

During the National Socialist era, Heidelberg University was the first full university in Germany to declare itself a National Socialist university and introduce the Führer principle . The university was disproportionately affected by the dismissal of Jewish or politically undesirable lecturers and professors that began in 1933. So u had to a. the legal philosopher and former Minister of Justice Gustav Radbruch , the serologist Hans Sachs and the philosopher Karl Jaspers left the university. Overall, Heidelberg University lost 25% of its teaching staff in this way. Many of the scientists affected emigrated . Two professors, the surgeon Richard Werner and the gynecologist Maximilian Neu, became victims of the National Socialist terror. University members in particular were actively involved in the book burning in May 1933 on Universitätsplatz. Heidelberg fraternities played a special role here .

Thanks to the work of prominent supporters of the regime, Heidelberg was notorious as a brown university . The dedication of the portal figure on the building of the New University was changed in 1936 from "The living spirit" to "The German spirit", the patroness of the arts and sciences Pallas Athene gave way to a very large German eagle , and many students, lecturers and professors paid homage to the new one Motto. In November 1938 the military historian Paul Schmitthenner became rector of the university and remained so until the end of the war.

After 1945

American zone of occupation

At the end of the Second World War, the university was outwardly undamaged, but in need of a spiritual renewal. On the initiative of Emil Henk , who was one of the few surviving members of the conspiratorial group of July 20, 1944, who had contacts with the military government of the American occupation zone in Heidelberg, the Ruperto-Carola was the first German university to reopen in 1945.

Under the leadership of the philosopher Karl Jaspers , a "Committee of Thirteen " met from April 5, 1945 , to which Karl Heinrich Bauer , Martin Dibelius , Ernst Engelking , Fritz Ernst , Karl Freudenberg , Wolfgang Gentner , Renatus Hupfeld , Karl Jaspers, Walter Jellinek , Curt Oehme , Gustav Radbruch , Otto Regenbogen , Alfred Weber and Alexander Mitscherlich were among the representatives of the lecturers who had not qualified as a professor. In this committee, a new statute was drawn up in which the university committed itself to "serving the living spirit of truth, justice and humanity." The first rector after the reopening was the surgeon Karl Heinrich Bauer.

The request for "reopening in all faculties", which had already been made to the military government on August 26, 1945, was finally granted after lengthy negotiations, so that teaching could gradually be reopened with the winter semester 1945/1946 after classes had already started on August 15 in the medical faculty could be taken up again. "On January 7, 1946, the university as a whole had its first matriculation ceremony after the war."

Federal Republic of Germany

After the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany in 1949, the university was expanded spatially in the course of expansion and expansion. A new campus was created in Neuenheimer Feld for the natural sciences and areas of medicine . The humanities remained at their traditional location in the old town of Heidelberg. The old clinic in the Bergheim district was renovated and brought up to the latest technical standards.

Reforms changed the previous structures: since its foundation, the university consisted of only four faculties (theology, law, medicine, philosophy), to which the natural sciences were only added as a fifth faculty when it was separated from the philosophical faculty, in 1969 it became 16 faculties broken down. The number of students grew steadily - in 1986, 27,000 students were enrolled in Heidelberg.

The traditionally large proportion of foreigners also returned after the war. The fact that teaching and research are still understood as a uniform task despite the high numbers is seen by the university in all its members as a challenge and obligation.

Student movement

The student movement took hold of Heidelberg relatively late. It was initially about tram prices (1965, 1969 with the red dot campaign ), the emergency laws , the death of Benno Ohnesorg , the strengthening of the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) and the participation of the student body in the internal university administration. The Vietnam War was also clearly rejected in Heidelberg. In many meetings, the political mandate was disputed, i.e. the right of the student body to make general political statements. It was rejected by parts of the professors ( Bund Freiheit der Wissenschaft ), the state government and the RCDS , the student organization of the CDU , while the Socialist German Student Union (SDS) and large parts of the student body demanded it. Current political issues and student rights formed a lively mixture in many debates. The independent and conservative students lost their influence on the student parliament and the General Student Committee (AStA) , into which predominantly SDS and other politically left-wing students were elected.

In January 1969, a police presence arrested twelve students, almost all members of the SDS, in the rooms of the AStA , and the sealing off of the lecture hall building and the evacuation of the Collegium Academicum by over 700 heavily armed police forces in 1978 on behalf of the Minister of Education, Wilhelm Hahn , is considered an end point today of the student movement across Germany.

From January 1970 to November 1972 the theologian Rolf Rendtorff was rector of the university. As a so-called “reform rector”, he tried again and again to mediate between conservative professorships, the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Culture and the student body demanding reforms and changes. Put simply, neither side accepted that Rendtorff wanted to mediate - Rendtorff failed on both fronts, between which he actually wanted to mediate, and resigned.

Since 1990

In recent years, the university has gained a good reputation in the field of medicine , but also in neurobiology , chemistry and physics , mathematics and computer science , law and economics , thanks to its many clinics and cooperation with non-university research institutions . It was the first German university to set up branches abroad, for example in Egypt , Chile and Massachusetts ( USA ). In October 2007, in the second round of the Excellence Initiative , she was selected to support her Heidelberg concept for the future : Realizing the Potential of a Comprehensive University .

The university is a founding member of German U15 , a lobbying association of 15 large German comprehensive universities. Its managing director is Denise Feldner, who for a long time was the personal assistant to the rector of Heidelberg University, Bernhard Eitel .

Spatial situation

Today the university is spatially divided: the natural sciences, sports science and most parts of medicine are located in Neuenheimer Feld , most of the humanities and law are in Heidelberg's old town, as is the rectorate and the university administration. The economics and social sciences have been located on the newly founded "Campus Bergheim" since spring 2009. In addition, there are various properties of the university in the urban area and the surrounding area (including over ten buildings of the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy on Philosophenweg ). The rectorate and the university museum are housed in the old university .

Around 50 million euros will be made available from the second federal stimulus package for renovations and new buildings.

Academic reputation

The Friedrichsbau Heidelberg on the main street (old town) with the monument to Robert W. Bunsen
Heidelberg old town, Heidelberg University, Bunsen monument in front of the Friedrichsbau
Memorial plaque for the spectral analysis by Gustav Kirchhoff , Hauptstrasse 52, Haus zum Riesen
The Palais House for giant was around 1907 under the direction of Wilhelm Salomon-Calvi , the seat of the Geological - Palaeontological Institute of the University of Heidelberg, where Otto Schoetensack explored the recovered fossil finds and also the lower jaw of wall
The lower jaw of Mauer , holotype of Homo heidelbergensis , which was found by Daniel Hartmann in the sand pits of Mauer (original)
  • In the US Global Universities Ranking of the US News & World Report from 2016, Heidelberg ranked first nationally and 37th internationally.
  • In the 2015 Chinese Academic Ranking of World Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University , Heidelberg was ranked first nationally and 46th internationally.
  • In the British QS World University Rankings from 2015, Heidelberg was ranked second nationally and 66th internationally. Within the subject areas, Heidelberg was ranked 29th internationally in the life sciences and medicine, 36th in the humanities and 144th in the social sciences, as well as in 214th place in the technical department.
  • In the British Times Higher Education World University Ranking from 2015, Heidelberg ranked second nationally and 70th internationally.
  • In the Ranking of Scientific Impact of Leading European Research Universities , which was published by the European Commission in 2004, Heidelberg took fourth place in Germany and 9th place in Europe.
  • The CHE ExcellenceRanking, published in December 2007, which compares European master’s programs and doctoral programs in biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics, places Heidelberg in the group of excellence in chemistry and physics and in the top group in biology and mathematics. Heidelberg thus ranks second in Germany behind the Technical University of Munich, together with the LMU Munich, and shares ninth place with a number of other well-known European universities across Europe.
  • A study carried out by the University of Budapest in 2007 , which is based on a global survey of reviewers from scientific journals, sees Heidelberg as number one in Germany and number 12 in Europe.
  • Measured by the number of Nobel Prizes awarded to scientists at the university, Heidelberg ranks 4th in Europe and 13th worldwide.
  • In 2005 the British newspaper Times described Heidelberg University as "the oldest and most important in the land of Luther and Einstein" and as "the jewel of German scholarship".
  • The US newspaper The New York Times placed Heidelberg University in 12th place worldwide in terms of employability in October 2012 . The ranking was based on a survey of HR professionals and managers from leading international companies from twenty countries.


National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg

There are twelve faculties. The main subjects of study are humanities and natural sciences.

The history of the clinics in Heidelberg:
After the acquisition of two medical books in 1474, a third medical chair is documented in 1522. 1561 the hospital in Bussemergasse. In 1600 it was merged with the Medical Faculty for the practical training of students. 1805: Opening of the outpatient clinic. 1818: Opening of the surgical clinic. Around 1864: Separation of the eye and children's clinic (i.e. a division of the specialist areas). 1874: New construction of the preclinical institute between Akademie- and Hauptstraße (laboratory building). The clinic in Bergheim (today's Altklinikum) is built from 1876–1883. The dental clinic and polyclinic (so named since 1927) began with the dental department founded in October 1895 and headed by Carl Jung (1895–1900) in the surgical university clinic and the establishment of a personal professorial office in 1924, occupied by Georg Blessing ( 1882–1941) and 1930 scheduled full professorship. New construction of the surgery on the opposite side of the Neckar in Neuenheimer Feld in the 1920s and 30s (today's university campus; most of the other clinics followed there between 1960 and 2005 due to the war.)


The largest admission-restricted courses in relation to the number of places per year include the law (386) and medicine (320) courses , the bachelor’s courses in life sciences (151) and psychology (90) and the master’s course in molecular biosciences (130).

Heidelberg University Libraries

Main entrance to the Heidelberg University Library

The origin of today's Heidelberg University Library goes back to the year the university was founded in 1386. The libraries of the artist faculty and the three higher faculties (theology, law, medicine) as well as the monastery library were built in this area. Fundamental was u. a. the acquisition of a box of documents by the first rector, Marsilius von Inghen , in 1388. This box was housed in the Church of the Holy Spirit. The various book collections built up since the university was founded, as well as the electoral library at Heidelberg Castle, were combined in the 16th century by Elector Ottheinrich to form the Bibliotheca Palatina and made accessible to the public in the galleries of the Heiliggeistkirche. Hereditary holdings of the Fuggers (Augsburg, Ulrich Fugger the Elder ) were particularly important . Most of this then famous library was given away as spoils of war to the Vatican in Rome in 1622 during the Thirty Years' War (gift from the victorious Duke Maximilian of Bavaria to Pope Gregory XV). This made scientific work impossible at first.

The libraries of the Salem and Petershausen monasteries, which were secularized in 1804 , formed the basis of the reconstruction in the 19th century. In 1816, 847 German-language manuscripts from the Bibliotheca Palatina came back to Heidelberg. They were followed by the Codex Manesse (Great Heidelberger Liederhandschrift) in 1888 as part of an exchange deal , which had reached the Royal Library in Paris via detours. Karl Zangemeister (1837–1902) became the first full-time director of the university library. Jacob Wille became library director in 1912.

From 1901 to 1905, a four-winged building was built from red sandstone, richly ornamented, especially for the university library, opposite the St. Peter's Church , based on designs by Josef Durm . Its construction takes on the Renaissance style of the castle and also shows numerous influences of Art Nouveau . This building has been expanded many times. The facades are broken through by many windows for natural lighting.

In addition to the main library in the old town, a branch of the UB was opened in Neuenheimer Feld in 1978 . This supplies the natural science and medical institutes there as well as the university hospital.

In 1991, the depth magazine under the inner courtyard of the New University was completed. In 2015, a new reading room was opened in the adjacent triplex building.

In July 1983 a scandal broke out when it became known that an adviser to the rector of the university had, at an alleged request of the Federal Chancellery, removed Helmut Kohl's dissertation from the library and had the names of those lending it passed on.

The university library (main library in the old town and branch in Neuenheimer Feld) is the central library in the library system of Heidelberg University. The university library and the 49 decentralized (specialist) libraries form a uniform library system under the direction of the director of the university library. The library system is structured according to the principle of functional single-layeredness.

In addition to the usual tasks of a book collection for research and teaching of the affiliated faculties, the University Library has the following special collection areas: literature on the Electoral Palatinate and Baden , the special collection areas or specialist information services of the German Research Foundation for Egyptology, Classical Archeology, Middle and Modern Art History (until 1945), South Asia .

Heidelberg University Library

The holdings of the university library exceeded the million mark in 1934; today there are over 3 million volumes - including over 490,000 non-book materials (such as microfilms and videos) and around 6,800 manuscripts. The decentralized libraries (11 of them with over 100,000 volumes) contain a further 3 million volumes. The total inventory of the Heidelberg library system comprises over 6 million media units.

Every year, over 43,000 users access their holdings with around 1.4 million loans (figures from 2016). The conventional range of books has long been supplemented by numerous electronic services: around 111,000 electronic journals , 3,200 databases and around 600,000 e-books (figures from 2016) can be used electronically by university members. The University Library has around 175 staff positions (many more through part-time positions).

Scientific institutions

Collaborative Research Centers of the DFG (University Heidelberg)

Heidelberg University is the spokesperson for numerous special research areas of the DFG :

  • SFB 873 - Self-Renewal and Differentiation of Stem Cells (since 2010)
  • CRC 881 - The Milky Way System (since 2011)
  • SFB 933 - Material Text Cultures. Materiality and presence of the written in non-typographic societies
  • SFB 1036 - Cellular Quality Control and Damage Control (since 2012)
  • SFB 1118 - Reactive Metabolites as a Cause of Diabetic Consequential Damage (since 2014)
  • SFB 1129 - Integrative Analysis of the Replication and Spread of Pathogenic Pathogens (since 2014)
  • SFB 1158 - From nociception to chronic pain: structure-function characteristics of neural pathways and their reorganization (since 2015)
  • SFB 636 - Learning, Memory and Plasticity of the Brain (2004–2015)
  • SFB 638 - Dynamics of Macromolecular Complexes in Biosynthetic Transport (2004–2015)
  • SFB 938 - Environment-specific control of immunological reactivity (2011-2015)
  • SFB 1134 - Functional 'Ensembles': Integration of cells, genesis of activity patterns and plasticity of groups of co-active neurons in local networks (2015-2019)

Collaborative Research Centers / Transregios of the DFG (spokesman in Heidelberg)

  • SFB / TR 23 - Vascular Differentiation and Remodeling
  • SFB / TR 33 - The Dark Universe
  • SFB / TR 79 - Materials for tissue regeneration in systemically diseased bones
  • 83 - Molecular architecture and cellular functions of lipid / protein complexes
  • SFB / TR 125 - Cognition-Guided Surgery - Knowledge- and model-based surgery
  • SFB / TR 156 - The skin as a sensor and initiator of local and systemic immune reactions

Cluster of Excellence

  • Structures
  • 3D material made to order

Collections and museums

Digital Humanities at Heidelberg University

  • Overview of DH projects at Heidelberg University Digital Humanities Heidelberg. Projects - service - events
  • Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" - Junior Research Group Digital Humanities (with a focus on "Archaeological Information Systems" and "Digital Cultural Heritage")
  • Excellence Initiative, Field of Focus 3 "Cultural Dynamics in Globalized Worlds" (strong focus on digital humanities)
  • Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage (HCCH) (large proportion of Digital Humanities projects)
  • Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) (also development of measurement data-based 3D models of writing carriers , e.g. GigaMesh software framework for the digital analysis of cuneiform tablets and other archaeological objects)
  • Interdisciplinary forum for digital text sciences - Junior Research Infrastructure (InFoDiTex)
  • SFB 933 "Material Textkulturen" - central project for information management and information structure (with list of digital humanities projects)
  • Heidelberg University Library - Heidelberg historical holdings digital
  • Heidelberg University Library - heidICON (Heidelberg image and multimedia database)
  • Heidelberg University Computing Center - heiMAP (virtual map table, also for historical research questions)
  • Doctoral College "Digital Law"

Institutions in the vicinity of the university

Institutions in Germany

Main building of the TP Heidelberg; is also used by the German Cancer Research Center

Institutions abroad

The University of Heidelberg founded a center for Latin America in Santiago de Chile in 2001 . The task of the center is to organize, manage and promote master’s programs together with Latin American universities. In Chile, Heidelberg University has partnerships with the two most important universities in the country, the Universidad Católica de Chile and the Universidad de Chile. There are also partnerships with universities in other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Paraguay, Brazil and Colombia. By coordinating the activities of the University of Heidelberg in Latin America, the Heidelberg Center offers German and Latin American universities a platform for scientific collaboration. The center is located in a villa in the Providencia district.

Foundation, endowment

The non-profit foundation of Heidelberg University was founded in 1984 for the 600th anniversary of Ruperto Carola as a foundation under civil law. It awards prizes to young academics and promotes measures that optimize the conditions for a lively scientific exchange among university members and with guests from foreign universities. With the Ruprecht Karls Prize she motivates young scientists to continue their academic careers.


The university offers a wide range of university sports, including well over 100 different courses, including 13 different martial arts. Participation is for the most part free of charge for students.

The university's basketball team, USC Heidelberg , has been playing in the 2nd Bundesliga, the ProA , since the 2007/2008 season . There are also university teams in softball, rugby, rowing and volleyball.


A number of well-known personalities are associated with the university who have studied, researched or taught at it.

A list of these people can be found under List of Well-Known Personalities of the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

See also


- Alphabetical -

  • Karin Buselmeier (Ed.): Also a history of the University of Heidelberg . Edition Quadrat, Mannheim 1985, ISBN 3-923003-29-3 , table of contents.
  • Peter Classen : Brief history of the University of Heidelberg. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1983, ISBN 3-540-12112-9 .
  • Andreas Cser: A short history of the city of Heidelberg and its university . G. Braun, Karlsruhe 2007, ISBN 978-3-7650-8337-2 .
  • Wilhelm Doerr et al. (Ed.): 'Semper apertus'. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. 6 volumes. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1985.
  • Dagmar Drüll: Heidelberg scholars lexicon . Volume 1: 1803-1932. Volume 2: 1652-1802. Volume 3: 1386-1651. Volume 4: 1933-1986. Springer, Heidelberg 1986/1991/2002/2009.
  • Wolfgang U. Eckart , Volker Sellin , Eike Wolgast (eds.): The University of Heidelberg in National Socialism. Springer, Heidelberg 2006, ISBN 3-540-21442-9 .
  • Sabine Happ, Werner Moritz: The Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg. Views - Insights - Reviews . Sutton, Erfurt 2003, ISBN 978-3-89702-522-6 .
  • Johann Friedrich Hautz: History of the University of Heidelberg. J. Schneider, Mannheim 1862 ( digitized version ).
  • Heike Hawicks, Ingo Runde (ed.): Popes - Electors - Professors - Reformers. Heidelberg and the Holy See from the Reform Councils of the Middle Ages to the Reformation. Catalog for the exhibition in the Kurpfälzisches Museum from May 21 to October 22, 2017, ed. from the Historical Association for the Promotion of International and Interdenominational Calvinism Research eV, Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg, Heidelberg University Archives. Heidelberg et al. 2017, ISBN 978-3-00-056427-7 ( PDF; 18.28 MB ).
  • G. Hinz (ed.): From the history of the University of Heidelberg and its faculties (= Ruperto Carola. Special volume). Brausdruck, Heidelberg 1961.
  • Hans Krabusch (Ed.): 600 years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Munich 1986.
  • Jürgen Miethke (Ed.): The rector books of the University of Heidelberg. Edited by Heiner Lutzmann u. a. (Volume 1: 1386–1410. Issue 1–3, Heidelberg 1986/1990/1999; Volume 2: 1421–1451. Issue 1, Heidelberg 2001)
  • Steven P. Remy: The Heidelberg Myth: The Nazification and Denazification of a German University. Harvard University Press, Cambridge 2002, ISBN 0-674-00933-9 .
  • Gerhard Ritter: The Heidelberg University in the Middle Ages (1386–1508). A piece of German history. C. Winter, Heidelberg 1936, (reprint ibid. 1986).
  • Ingo Runde (Ed.): The University of Heidelberg and its professors during the First World War. Contributions to the conference in the Heidelberg University Archives on November 6th and 7th, 2014 (= Heidelberger Schriften zur Universitätsgeschichte. Volume 6). Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2017, ISBN 978-3-8253-6695-7 .
  • Birgit Sandkaulen: Philosophy in Heidelberg. In: Heidelberger Jahrbücher . Volume 41, 1997, pp. 131-141.
  • Helmut Schwier (Ed.): Encounters, expulsions, wars. Memorial book on the history of Heidelberg University. Edited on behalf of the Evangelical University Community of Heidelberg. Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2011, ISBN 978-3-8253-5906-5 .
  • Eduard Winkelmann (Hrsg.): Document book of the University of Heidelberg. 2 volumes. Heidelberg 1886.
  • Eike Wolgast: The University of Heidelberg, 1386–1986. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1986.


  • From the living spirit to the spirit of modernity. A history of the University of Heidelberg. Documentary, Germany 1996, 43:55 min., Script and direction: Mario Damolin and Bernhard Kilian, production: Damolin & Kilian Filmproduktion, SDR - Studio Mannheim, first broadcast: September 1, 1996 on Südwest 3 , film data  in Deutsche Digitale Library .

Web links

Commons : Heidelberg University  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. In German: Always open
  2. ^ Rector of the University: Bernhard Eitel. In: uni-heidelberg.de , 2019.
  3. a b Key figures for studies - students and young scientists. In: Heidelberg University. Retrieved March 16, 2020 .
  4. Facts and Figures - Personnel. In: Heidelberg University. Retrieved March 16, 2020 .
  5. Facts and Figures - Finances. In: Heidelberg University. Retrieved November 7, 2018 .
  6. List of universities in the DFH network. Network. In: dfh-ufa.org. Franco-German University, accessed on October 7, 2019 .
  7. ^ List of IAU Members. In: iau-aiu.net. International Association of Universities, accessed July 28, 2019 .
  8. Where is the oldest university in Germany located?
  9. Profile - International. In: Heidelberg University. Retrieved October 29, 2018 .
  10. Rankings. In: Heidelberg University. Retrieved October 29, 2018 .
  11. ^ Heidelberg Nobel Prize Winner - Heidelberg University. Retrieved September 12, 2019 .
  12. Heidelberger Geschichtsverein : Timeline of Heidelberg History 1300-1399 , accessed on October 30, 2018.
  13. ^ Gabriel Meyer: The University Seal - 1386 today. In: uni-heidelberg.de , 2011.
  14. The university seal from 1386 as 3D models in heiDATA - IWR Computer Graphics Dataverse , Susanne Krömker and Hubert Mara, 2015.
  15. Heike Hawicks, Ingo Runde (ed.): Popes - Electors - Professors - Reformers. Heidelberg and the Holy See from the Reform Councils of the Middle Ages to the Reformation. Catalog for the exhibition in the Kurpfälzisches Museum from May 21 to October 22, 2017. 2017, accessed on September 27, 2019 (PDF; 18.28 MB).
  16. ^ Dorothea Walz, Reinhard Düchting (ed.): Marsilius von Inghen. Commemorative 1499 on the 100th anniversary of the death of the founding rector of Heidelberg University . Mattes Verlag, Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86809-007-9 , p. 8 .
  17. Heike Hawicks: Monasteries, Chancellors, Conservators. The ecclesiastical environment of Heidelberg University from the late Middle Ages to the early modern period . In: Benjamin Müsegades, Ingo Runde (Ed.): Universities and their environment. Southwest and Empire in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. Contributions to the conference in the Heidelberg University Archives on October 6th and 7th, 2016 (Heidelberger Schriften zur Universitätsgeschichte 7) . Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-8253-6846-3 , p. 165-199, here pp. 171-176 .
  18. On this persecution of Jews and their context, see Franz-Josef Ziwes: Territoriale Judenverriebe in Südwest und Süddeutsche in the 14th and 15th centuries. In: Friedhelm Burgard, Alfred Haverkamp , Gerd Mentgen (eds.): Jews expulsions in the Middle Ages and early modern times (= research on the history of the Jews. Section A: Treatises. Volume 9). Hahnsche Buchhandlung, Hanover 1999, ISBN 3-7752-5618-0 , pp. 165–187, especially pp. 168–173.
  19. See also Rolf Heyers: Dr. Georg Marius, called Mayer von Würzburg (1533–1606). (Dental) medical dissertation Würzburg 1957, pp. 5-9.
  20. ^ Ingo Runde: Statutes and reforms of the University of Heidelberg in the context of politics, religion and science - from the founding phase to the end of the 16th century . In: Benjamin Müsegades / Ingo Runde (ed.): Universities and their environment. Southwest and Empire in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Times. Contributions to the conference in the Heidelberg University Archives on October 6th and 7th, 2016 (Heidelberger Schriften zur Universitätsgeschichte 7) . Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-8253-6846-3 , p. 35-72 .
  21. ^ Rolf Heyers: Dr. Georg Marius, called Mayer von Würzburg (1533–1606). (Dental) medical dissertation Würzburg 1957, p. 14 f. and 18-20.
  22. ^ A. Thorbecke: Statutes and Reformations of the University of Heidelberg from the 16th to the 18th century. Heidelberg 1891.
  23. Sabine Juschka: The old university: Grabengasse 1. In: Wilhelm Doerr (Ed.): Semper Apertus. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Volume 5: The buildings of the University of Heidelberg. Edited by Peter Anselm Riedl . Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 1985, pp. 48-72.
  24. From the geology of Heidelberg. Academic speech to celebrate the birthday of the most blessed Grand Duke Karl Friedrich on November 22, 1900 during the presentation of the annual report and the announcement of the academic prizes given by D. Harry Rosenbusch , Grossh. Bath. Go Bergrat and o. Ö. Professor of Mineralogy and Geology, Director of the Grossh. Geological State Institute d. Z. Prorector of the Grossh. Bath. University of Heidelberg. University printing press by J. Hörnig 1900, p. 22.
  25. ^ Verena Türck: Marie von Campenhausen. A brief portrait of the first woman in teaching at Heidelberg University. In: Susan Richter (Ed.): Science as a female profession? The first women in research and teaching at Heidelberg University. (= Heidelberg University Museum. Catalogs. Volume 3). Heidelberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-946531-23-4 , p. 7.
  26. ^ Dagmar Drüll: Heidelberger Gelehrtenlexikon. Volume 1: 1803-1932. Springer, Heidelberg 1986, ISBN 978-3-658-26396-6 , p. 104.
  27. ^ Exhibition: II. Gerta von Ubisch (1882–1965). In: Heidelberg University Library . Retrieved July 14, 2019 .
  28. See New University. In: rhein-neckar-wiki.de ; Dieter Griesebach, Annette Krämer, Mechthild Maisant: The New University. In: Semper apertus. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Heidelberg, Volume 5, 1985, pp. 79-112; Volume 6, pp. 27–35, (pictures and plans).
  29. ^ Melitta Grünbaum: Encounters with Gundolf . Ed .: Gunilla Eschenbach (=  from the archive / German Literature Archive Marbach . No. 5 ). German Schiller Society, Marbach am Neckar 2012, ISBN 978-3-937384-82-5 , p. 74 .
  30. Christian Peters, Arno Weckbecker: On the way to power. On the history of the Nazi movement in Heidelberg 1920–1934. Documents and analyzes . With a foreword by Prof. Dr. Hartmut Soell . Zeitsprung Heidelberg 1983, ISBN 3-924085-00-5 , p. 60 ff.
  31. Christian Peters, Arno Weckbecker: On the way to power. On the history of the Nazi movement in Heidelberg 1920–1934. Documents and analyzes . With a foreword by Prof. Dr. Hartmut Soell. Time leap in Heidelberg. ISBN 3-924085-00-5 , p. 36 ff.
  32. cf. Reinhard Blomert : Intellectuals on the move. The Heidelberg Social Sciences in the Interwar Period. Hanser Verlag, 1999.
  33. Michael Grüttner , Sven Kinas: The expulsion of scientists from German universities from 1933 to 1945. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , Volume 55, 2007, pp. 140, 174 ff .; (PDF)
  34. ^ Wolfgang U. Eckart, Volker Sellin, Eike Wolgast (eds.): The University of Heidelberg in National Socialism. Heidelberg 2006, ISBN 3-540-21442-9 ; see. Publishing information ( memento of October 16, 2009 in the Internet Archive ).
  35. Karl Jaspers: The renewal of the university. Speech at the celebration of the opening of the medical courses at the University of Heidelberg on August 15, 1945. In: Karl H. Bauer (Ed.): From the new spirit of the university. Documents, speeches and lectures 1945/46. Springer, Berlin / Heidelberg 1947, pp. 18–26 (also in: Karl Jaspers: Renewal of the University. Speeches and writings 1945/46. Ed. By Renato de Rosa. Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg 1986, pp. 93–105); Karl Jaspers: About the living spirit of the university (Heidelberg professors' lectures 1, from January 11th and 18th, 1946), in: Schriften der Wandlung 1, Heidelberg 1946, pp. 5–40 (also in: Karl H. Bauer (Ed.) : About the new spirit of the university. Documents, speeches and lectures 1945/46. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg 1947, pp. 113–132; also in: Karl Jaspers, Renewal of the University. Speeches and writings 1945/46 , edited by Renato de Rosa. Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg 1986, pp. 215–241)
  36. Karl Jaspers: The idea of ​​the university . Springer, Berlin 1923; New version 1946; further new version, "designed for the current situation" , with Kurt Rossmann , 1961, again in 2000.
  37. Karl H. Bauer (ed.): About the new spirit of the university. Documents, speeches and lectures 1945/46. Springer-Verlag, Berlin / Heidelberg 1947, pp. 4-7.
  38. Eike Wolgast: The twentieth century. In: Wilhelm Doerr (Ed.): Semper Apertus. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Volume 1-6. Springer, Berlin a. a. 1985, here Volume 3, pp. 1-54, here pp. 35-44, in particular pp. 35-37 (quotation: p. 37). Cf. Renato de Rosa: The new beginning of the university 1945. Karl Heinrich Bauer and Karl Jaspers. In: Wilhelm Doerr (Ed.): Semper Apertus. Six hundred years of Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg 1386–1986. Volume 1-6. Springer, Berlin a. a. 1985, here Volume 3, pp. 544-568; Renato de Rosa: During the reconstruction period 1945/46. In: Karl Jaspers: Renewal of the University. Speeches and writings 1945/46. ed. by Renato de Rosa. Lambert Schneider, Heidelberg 1986, pp. 359-423.
  39. Arndt Krödel: Rolf Rendtorff: Some too liberal, others too left. In: Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung ( RNZ ), July 21, 2014.
  40. Economic stimulus package II. 47 million euros for construction work and renovations. In: unispiegel , October-November 4/2009 , ISSN  0171-4880 , (PDF; 960 kB).
    dpa / lsw: Money rain for universities. Almost 50 million for Heidelberg. In: Schwarzwälder Bote , March 5, 2009; Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung from March 6, 2009.
  41. Best Global Universities Ranking. ( Memento of August 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In: usnews.com , 2016; see. current data .
  42. Academic Ranking of World Universities (free). In: Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Retrieved August 26, 2020 .
  43. QS World University Ranking. ( Memento from November 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive ). In: Topuniversities.com , 2015; see. current data .
  44. ^ THE Ranking. In: Times Higher Education. Retrieved May 16, 2008 . ; see. current data .
  45. ^ Downsizing and Specializing: the University Model for the 21st Century? February 2004, (PDF; 2 pp., 16 kB).
  46. European Commission. Directorate General for Research: Third European report on science & technology indicators . Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, Luxembourg 2003, ISBN 92-894-1795-1 ( europa.eu [PDF]).
  47. New study places Heidelberg on No. 1 in Germany. In: Heidelberg University. July 11, 2007, accessed August 27, 2019 .
  48. ^ Nobel Laureates and research affiliations. In: nobelprize.org , accessed October 30, 2018.
  49. Heiko P. Wacker (press release): Up Among the Leaders - Heidelberg Cuts an Excellent Figure in University Rankings. ( Memento from June 13, 2017 in the Internet Archive ). In: Heidelberg University , April 4, 2005.
  50. Global Companies Rank Universities - NYTimes.com. Retrieved November 4, 2018 .
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  60. ^ University of Heidelberg Foundation. In: foerderer.uni-hd.de. Retrieved October 29, 2018 .
  61. Overview of sports offerings WiSe 2018/2019. In: hochschulsport.issw-hd.de .
  62. ↑ Conditions of participation. In: hochschulsport.issw-hd.de , 2019.

Coordinates: 49 ° 24 ′ 37.8 "  N , 8 ° 42 ′ 23.7"  E