University of Friborg (Switzerland)

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Université de Friborg
University of Freiburg
motto "Partager les savoirs - creating knowledge together"
founding 1889
Sponsorship state: Canton of Friborg
place Freiburg
country SwitzerlandSwitzerland Switzerland
Rector Astrid Epiney (since March 2015)
Students 10,154 (2018)
Employee 1989 (2018)
Annual budget 222 million CHF (2018)
Networks CGU , IAU BeNeFri, Swissuniversities

The University of Friborg ( French Université de Friborg [ ynivɛʀsite də fʀibuʀ ], Latin Universitas Friburgensis ) in Friborg ( French Friborg ) is the sixth largest and only officially bilingual university in Switzerland .


Monument to Romulus and Remus

The university is located in the border area between German and French-speaking Switzerland . Most courses are offered in German and French, which attracts students from all over Switzerland and the world: the proportion of students from other cantons is above average compared to other Swiss universities , and around 20 percent of the students enrolled come from abroad. Together with the University of Cluj , the University of Luxembourg and the Free University of Bolzano , the University of Freiburg is one of the multilingual universities in Europe.

As of December 31, 2018, the university employed a total of 1,989 people (including 264 professors, 876 research assistants, 849 administrative and technical employees), 10,154 students (6,153 women and 4,001 men, 8,563 with a canton of residence in Switzerland) and 232 guest students are registered. In 2018, 3,466 students are German, 4,490 French and 1,008 Italian as their mother tongue. 149 are bilingual (French and German). The annual budget rose by 5.1 million to 222.1 million Swiss francs compared to 2017.

It «is one of the few universities in Europe that offers a complete range of courses in more than one language of instruction, [...] is the only one where two languages ​​are consistently used in both teaching and administration».

The mission statement of the university includes quality (establishment of competence centers, mediation of first-class academic education and quality promotion), responsibility (ethical principles and requirements of social justice, climate of intellectual openness, the possibility to deepen the values ​​of Christian humanism) and willingness to enter into dialogue (openness to the world, with in- and foreign universities and colleges, participate in multicultural understanding - especially between the four national cultures - bilingual studies and degrees in German and French, external relations with the canton and city).

Students at the University of Freiburg:

  • 1990/91: 6,327
  • 1995/96: 8,746
  • 2000/01: 8,849
  • 2005/06: 9,936
  • 2006/07: 9,912
  • 2007/08: 9,952
  • 2009/10: 9,617
  • 2010/11: 9,651
  • 2013: 10,164
  • 2014: 10,248
  • 2015: 10,509
  • 2016: 10,647
  • 2017: 10,409
  • 2018: 10,154


Main building Miséricorde
Main building Miséricorde Aula Magna
Canteen Miséricode
Miséricorde 10
Training center with seminar rooms
Regina Mundi wall fresco
Regina Mundi stairwell
Regina Mundi Study Hall (formerly the chapel)
Regina Mundi, Building Psychology
The Pérolles 2 campus opened in 2005 (Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences)
New cafeteria Pérolles 2
Pérolles Natural History Museum
Adolphe Merkle Institute for Nanotechnology
Cantonal and University Library KUB main entrance

The university was established in 1889 when, on October 4th of the same year, the Grand Council (Parliament) of the canton of Friborg gave the green light for the establishment of the first university in “Catholic Switzerland”. The State Councilor Georges Python had fought tenaciously for this university . He managed to raise the necessary financial resources and convince politicians of the need for a university.

The college of St. Michael, founded in 1582, and in particular its theological faculty, are seen as the first nucleus of the university. The Dominican order sent from 1890 brothers from different provinces as professors of philosophy and theology. They bought a previous hotel, where they set up a convent and a student convict (Albertinum).

Another forerunner of the university was a law academy ("legal school") in Freiburg in 1763, which was located in the Albertinum and which was affiliated with the newly founded university in 1889 as a law faculty. The foundation of a university in a relatively small town was based on the wish of the Swiss Catholics that a university should also exist in a Catholic canton, and according to Python it should educate elites who protect the people from the dangers of modernity. Even so, the university was never officially a "Catholic university".

In 1941 the main building Miséricorde (Mercy), which is now a listed building and designed by Le Corbusier student Denis Honegger , was inaugurated on the Avenue de l'Europe in Freiburg .

In 2005, a new Pérolles 2 building complex was inaugurated, tailored to 3,500 students and taking into account the increase in student numbers. 11 large lecture halls (including the Auditorium Joseph Deiss, the second largest after the Aula Magna), a cinema and numerous seminar rooms as well as a third cafeteria have significantly increased the space available at the university. Organizational units distributed over many rental properties in Freiburg could be centralized, more remote locations (Portes de Friborg in Granges-Paccot ) were abandoned. In the immediate vicinity of Pérolles 2 were Academy of Sciences of Freiburg , the University of Freiburg economy and the vocational school Freiburg newly built so that a Campus Freiburg has emerged.


There are 5 faculties that offer a wide range of courses. All the following numbers for students and professors refer to the end of 2018:

Philosophical Faculty

The Philosophical Faculty is the largest faculty with 4,573 students (1,236 men and 3,337 women) and 90 professors (51 students per professor). It has 18 departments in the fields

  • Languages, literatures and multilingualism research (English, French, German, Italian language and literature, classical philology, multilingualism research & foreign language didactics, Spanish language and literature)
  • History, Philosophy and Art History (European Studies & Slavonic Studies, History, Art History & Archeology, Musicology, Philosophy, Contemporary History)
  • Social sciences, psychology and pedagogy (education and training sciences, psychology , special education, social work, social policy & global development, social sciences)
Seven faculty and seven inter-faculty institutes as well as one inter-institutional institute are also included. The guiding principles of the training are multilingualism (German-French) and the study of contacts and relationships between the cultures of then and now.

Faculty of Law

1,647 people (652 men, 995 women) study at the Law Faculty , who are supervised by 36 professors (45 students per professor). Four departments belong to the faculty:

  • Private law
  • Public law
  • Criminal law and
  • International Law & Commercial Law

Six institutes (Institute for Federalism, Institute for European Law, Institute for Religious Law, Institute for Building Law, Institute for Law & Economics, Institute of International Business Law) also belong to it. The faculty is involved in the inter-faculty institutes for ethics and human rights, for family research and counseling, as well as the Swiss Center for Islam and Society. The curriculum includes national and international law; these areas can be studied bilingually. As a special feature, the faculty enables linguistically gifted students to take part in the “bilingual plus ” training program, which imparts profound knowledge of the German and French language and culture.

Faculty of Theology

The theological faculty is the largest and most international in Switzerland and, besides Lucerne, the only Catholic theological faculty at a state university in Switzerland. 386 students (295 men, 91 women) are supervised by 21 professors (18 students per professor). The 5 departments are Biblical Studies, Patristic & Church History, Faith and Religious Studies, Moral Theology and Ethics and Practical Theology. The faculty is also represented in six interdisciplinary areas: Institute for Ethics and Human Rights, Institute for Antiquity and Byzantium, Swiss Center for Islam and Society, Institute for Family Research and Family Counseling, Center for European Studies; Environmental Science Coordination Office.

Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences

At the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences , 1,487 students (760 men, 727 women) are supervised by 35 professors (42 students per professor). You are enrolled in one of five bachelor's or master's degrees. The faculty consists of the following four departments: Business Administration , Economics , Informatics and Media and Communication Sciences . The International Institute of Management in Technology (iimt) and the Association Management Institute (VMI) are also affiliated to the faculty .

Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Medicine

The Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Medicine, newly formed in 2018 from the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, comprises two departments:

  • Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Department of Medicine

2'034 students (1'031 men, 1'003 women) are supervised by 77 professors (26 students per professor). 360 people (124 men and 236 women) study in the medicine department. Since autumn 2019, the university has also been offering a master’s degree in human medicine, after the first year of medicine was completed in 1896 and the second year of study in Freiburg since 1938. Since 2009, the bachelor's degree (3 years) has been offered entirely in Freiburg. The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences was founded in 1896 and comprises seven departments in two departments: Mathematics and natural sciences with biology, chemistry, geosciences (areas of geography and earth sciences), computer science (inter-faculty in cooperation with the economics and social sciences faculty), mathematics, physics and Medicine with the fields of pharmacy, biochemistry, human medicine (formerly also dentistry), biomedical sciences and sports and movement sciences.

Other academic institutions and inter-faculty institutes

  • Adolphe Merkle Institute for Nanotechnology
  • Friborg Center for Nanomaterials
  • Institute for Family Research and Counseling
  • Institute for Teacher Training for Secondary Schools ILLB
  • Institute for Multilingualism
  • Interdisciplinary Institute for Ethics and Human Rights
  • Inter-faculty Department of Computer Science
  • Inter-faculty Human-Ist Institute
  • Interfaculty Institute for East and East Central Europe
  • Swiss Center for Islam and Society (SZIG)
  • language Center
  • Environmental science
  • Center for European Studies
  • Center for Test Development and Diagnostics (responsible for the aptitude test for medical studies )

A central cantonal and university library (KUB) and several decentralized libraries (faculty, inter-faculty and institute libraries ) at various locations are also available. The responsible librarians are organized in the “Constellation” working and coordination group.


The university offers study levels according to the Bologna Process :

A numerus clausus is used in medical studies; the aptitude test for medical studies must be completed. Certain educational qualifications or degree certificates are required for admission to the bachelor's degree. Certain equivalences must be present for foreign school-leaving certificates. Country-specific minimum average grades or minimum scores for the Abitur may also be required (for admission 2019 Germany e.g. 2.5).

Management of the university

The Senate is the university's highest decision-making body. The Senate consists of twelve members, half of which are selected by the state and the other half by the university community. The President is Philippe Savoy as a member appointed by the Grand Council .

The rectorate is the governing and executive body of the university. Members of the rectorate are the rector Astrid Epiney and four vice rectors : Rolf Ingold for research, IT and innovation; Chantal Martin Sölch for teaching, further education and equality; Franz Mali for promoting young talent; Bernard Ries for alumni and libraries, international relations, digitization and interdisciplinarity.

The extended management includes Fabian Amschwand as General Secretary, Lukas Bucher as Academic Director, Monique Bersier as Administrative Director and Alexandre Gachet as Director for IT.

The plenary assembly elects the rector. The date is usually set 15 months before the end of the term of office. The general assemblies of the four bodies of the university (professors, research assistants, students and administrative & technical staff) elect the delegates.

The conference of deans is convened at least once per semester by the rector. In preparation for the decisions of the responsible bodies, important topics relating to the university's strategy and development are discussed there.

The University Council is an advisory body to the State Council. 13 people sit on the University Council, four are appointed by the Swiss Bishops' Conference , the rest by the cantonal Education Directorate. The president is Sabine Premand Sperandio. The council goes back to an agreement between the State Council and the Swiss bishops, who committed themselves to financial support for the university in 1949.


Alumni and Friends UniFR is an independent alumni association and aims to bring together the graduates of the University of Freiburg and people close to them, as well as maintaining ties with the institution and contributing to its development. The president is Mireille Kurmann-Carrel from Lucerne. Regional groups exist in Zurich and the surrounding area, Ticino, Lucerne and Central Switzerland as well as Eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein. We work closely with four faculty and departmental associations:

  • Faculty of Law: Alumni IUS Frilex
  • Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences: Alumni SES
  • Philosophical Faculty: Alumni Curative Education Institute (VAF)
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences: MedAlumni

The central president of the Swiss Student Union, Anton Augustin , and six of his predecessors took the initiative in July 1890 to found the University Association (la Société académique fribourgeoise). The constituent assembly took place on January 19, 1891. The aim was to contribute to the moral and financial development of the University of Freiburg and the associated academic institutions.

Personalities from the University of Freiburg

Researchers and teachers

  • Hanns Abele (1941–2016), lawyer, former full professor of economics and economic policy
  • Hilarion Alfejew (* 1966), Head of the Foreign Office of the Moscow Patriarchate, former Bishop of Vienna and Austria
  • Urs Altermatt (* 1942), historian, former rector of the university
  • Markus Baldegger (* 1947), painter and Germanist, former lecturer at the university
  • Iso Baumer (* 1929), religious scholar, former lecturer at the university
  • Georges Bavaud (1923–2007), dogmatist, ecumenist, Canon of St. Nicholas Cathedral
  • Josef Beck (1858–1943), professor of pastoral theology, liturgy and education; Rector 1906–1907
  • Daniel Belluš (1938–2011), chemist, former lecturer and adjunct professor at the university
  • Ernst-Bernd Blümle (1932–2008), economist
  • Joseph Maria Bochenski (1902–1995), Polish philosopher and logician, among other things, holder of the chair for the history of contemporary philosophy and rector of the University of Freiburg 1964–1966
  • Yves Bottineau (1925–2008), art historian
  • Hans Wolfgang Brachinger (1951–2011), mathematician, holder of the chair for statistics in the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
  • Albert Büchi (1864–1930), historian, President of the Historical Research Association of the Canton of Friborg and the Association for Swiss Church History; Rector 1904–1905
  • Erwin Carigiet (* 1955), social lawyer
  • Louis Comte (1870–1959), professor of forensic medicine, rector 1943/44
  • Georges Darms (* 1946), first holder of the chair for Romansh
  • Joseph Deiss (* 1946), former Federal Councilor, former full professor for economics and economic policy, former dean of the economic and social science faculty
  • Mariano Delgado (* 1955), theologian and church historian, head of the Institute for the Study of Religions and Interreligious Dialogue
  • Detlev Christian Dicke (1942–1992), professor of international law, European law
  • Carl Doka (1896–1980), head of the German-speaking department of the Journalism Seminar 1965–1971
  • Wilhelm Effmann (1847–1917), professor of art history
  • Astrid Epiney (* 1965), current rector, professor for international law, European law and Swiss public law
  • Andreas Fahr (* 1966), communication scientist, professor for empirical communication science
  • Harald Fricke (1949–2012), German literary scholar
  • Peter Gauch (* 1939), em. Professor of Civil and Commercial Law
  • Julia Gelshorn (* 1974), art historian
  • Walter Haas (* 1942), German linguist
  • Anton Hänggi (1917–1994), Roman Catholic bishop of the diocese of Basel, doctoral candidate in theology, then professor of liturgical science
  • Klaus-Dieter Hänsgen (* 1952), psychologist, founder and long-time director of the Center for Test Development and Diagnostics
  • Guido Heinen (* 1966) German theologian and journalist, since 2011 Head of the Scientific Services of the German Bundestag
  • Walter Henzen (1895–1967), German linguist
  • Oswald Huber (* 1942), psychologist and cartoonist
  • Leo Karrer (* 1937), theologian
  • Christoph Kaserer (* 1963), economist
  • Ludwig Kathariner (1868–1920), zoologist, professor of zoology 1896–1920
  • Johann Peter Kirsch , from 1890 to 1932 holder of the chair for Patrology and Christian Archeology
  • Martin Klöckener (* 1955), Professor, President of the Department of Practical Theology
  • Harm Klueting (* 1949), German historian, theologian, professor at the University of Cologne; since 2007 also lecturer in church history at the University of Freiburg
  • Oliver Krüger (* 1973), religious scholar
  • Franz Friedrich Leitschuh (1865–1924), professor of art history (until his death on January 28, 1924)
  • Hugo Loetscher (1929–2009), writer
  • Salvatore Loiero (* 1973), Catholic theologian
  • Franz Mali (* 1960), Catholic theologian and patristician
  • Ignacy Moscicki (1867–1946), President of the Republic of Poland from 1926 to 1939, assistant at the Physical Institute, founder of the Condensateurs Friborg
  • Günther Müller (1890–1957), Germanist and literary historian
  • Emil Franz Josef Müller-Büchi (1901–1980), journalist and legal historian, director of the Catholic International Press Agency
  • Josef Nadler (1884–1963), Germanist and literary scholar
  • Václav Nelhýbel (1919–1996), Czech composer and conductor, studied musicology in Friborg, then lecturer
  • Peter Horst Neumann (1936–2009), poet, Germanist and literary scholar
  • Erwin Nickel (1921–2005), mineralogist as well as para-scientist and paranormologist
  • Martine Nida-Rümelin (* 1957), philosopher
  • Marcel Niggli (* 1960), professor of criminal law and legal philosophy
  • Hugo Obermaier (1877–1946), prehistorian, pioneer of Stone Age research, professor of prehistory
  • Giorgio Orelli (1921–2013), writer and teacher
  • Alfred von Overbeck (1877–1945), legal scholar; Rector 1927–1928
  • Alfred E. von Overbeck (1925–2016), Professor of Private International Law; Rector 1972–1975
  • Pericle Patocchi (1911–1968), writer and teacher
  • Meinrad Perrez (* 1944), em. Full professor of clinical psychology, internationally known researcher in the field of stress and family research
  • Stephan Pfürtner (1922–2012), theologian (1966–1974), gave up professorship after the Vatican withdrew his teaching permit
  • Servais-Théodore Pinckaers (1925-2008), moral theologian
  • Peter Pooth (1884–1958), German chemist and archivist, assistant at the 1st Chemical Institute from 1910
  • Giovanni Pozzi (1923–2002), Capuchin , writer, literary critic, researcher
  • Tariq Ramadan (* 1962), Islamic scholar
  • Volker Reinhardt (* 1954), professor of general and Swiss history of modern times, expert on the Italian Renaissance
  • Gonzague de Reynold (1880–1970), Swiss writer, professor of the history of civilization
  • Gustav Ruhland (1898–1901), full professor of economics
  • Max von Sachsen (1870–1951), Prince of Saxony and Eastern Church researcher
  • Carlo Schmid-Sutter (* 1950), politician
  • Father Wilhelm Schmidt (1868–1954), ethnologist
  • Christoph Cardinal Schönborn (* 1945), Archbishop of Vienna since 1995, 1976–1991 Professor of Dogmatics at the Catholic Theol. Faculty
  • Leo Schürmann (1917–2002), lawyer and politician
  • Elmar Seebold (* 1934), Professor of German Philology 1971–1983
  • Pierre-Henri Simon (1903–1972), professor of French literary studies from 1949 to 1963
  • Gianfranco Soldati (* 1959), philosopher
  • Josef Spieler (1900–1987), professor of curative education and pedagogy
  • Heinrich Stirnimann (1920–2005), Dominican, fundamental theologian, ecumenist
  • Victor Stoichiță (* 1949) art historian
  • Eduard Studer (1919–1992), Professor of German Philology
  • Norbert Thom (1946–2019), Professor of Management, Organization and Human Resources (1985–1991)
  • Peter Thullen (1907–1996), Full Professor at the Mathematical Institute (1971–1977)
  • Oskar Vasella (1904–1966), historian
  • Joachim Wattendorff (1928–2008), biologist
  • Max Westermaier (1852–1903), first holder of the chair of botany
  • Luzius Wildhaber (* 1937), President of the European Court of Human Rights, former professor of law
  • Jean-Claude Wolf (* 1953), philosopher


See also


Web links

Commons : University of Freiburg  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Rector. In: University of Freiburg - Université de Friborg, accessed on August 18, 2019 .
  2. a b c d Rapport annuelUniversité de Friborg - Annual Report University of Friborg - 2018. (pdf) In: University of Freiburg - Université de Friborg, p. 43 , accessed on August 18, 2019 .
  3. Member universities. In: Compostela Group of Universities, 2019, accessed on September 16, 2019 .
  4. ^ List of IAU Members. In: International Association of Universities, accessed August 18, 2019 .
  5. BeNeFri (Bern-Neuenburg-Freiburg)
  6. ^ Members. In: swissuniversities, 2019, accessed on August 31, 2019 .
  7. Di Hochschullandschaft Schweiz, published by SERI p. 17, on
  8. Info on bilingualism (German, French or in both languages) of the Univ. Freiburg , on
  9. ^ A b State of Freiburg, IAEZA on section Education and Institutions, University
  10. ↑ A 2004 gift from the Dante Alighieri Society to the university and the city as a symbol of the bond between Freiburg and Rome
  11. Mission statement of the university
  12. Barbara Kunz, Stéphane Cappelli: Students at the Universities 2010/11 . In: Federal Statistical Office (Ed.): Statistics of Switzerland . Neuchâtel 2011, ISBN 978-3-303-15532-5 ( [PDF; accessed on November 15, 2011]). Students at universities in 2010/11 ( Memento from October 2, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  13. 2013 and 2014 according to the 2014 annual report of the University of Freiburg p. 48 , on
  14. ↑ Select PX-Web - table. Retrieved July 4, 2018 .
  15. ^ Dominicans in Freiburg on
  16. 250 years of law in Freiburg (PDF; 1.2 MB)
  17. A colorful bouquet of topics from 250 years of Freiburg legal theory. In: Freiburger Nachrichten . June 10, 2013
  18. Brief history of the university at
  19. ^ Pierre-Philippe Bugnard: Georges Python. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
  20. Pérolles 2 - the step into the future News on from June 24th 20105
  21. Philosophical Faculty
  22. ^ Faculty of Law
  23. ^ Faculty of Theology
  24. ^ History of Math.-Nat. and Medical Faculty on
  25. ^ Adolphe Merkle Institute
  26. Friborg Center for Nanomaterials
  27. Institute for Family Research and Counseling (IFF)
  28. ^ Institute for Teacher Training ILLB
  29. ^ Institute for Multilingualism
  30. ^ Institute for Ethics and Human Rights
  31. Inter-faculty Department of Computer Science
  32. Human-Ist Institute
  33. ^ Institute for East and East Central Europe
  34. ^ Swiss Center for Islam and Society
  35. Language Center
  36. ^ Environmental sciences at the University of Freiburg , accessed on November 18, 2011
  37. ^ Center for European Studies
  38. University libraries
  39. Study organization on
  40. ^ Senate of the University of Freiburg
  41. ^ Head of the university
  42. a b Statutes of November 4, 2016 of the University of Freiburg
  43. The University Council on
  44. Alumni partner associations
  45. Alumni and Friends UniFR website
  46. Annual report 2016-2017 Alumni Conference November 17, 2017
  47. ^ Jean-Claude Gauthier: A university and its friends. 100 years of solidarity. Contribution to the history of the Freiburg University Association. Freiburg i.Ue. 1996.

Coordinates: 46 ° 48 '22.7 "  N , 7 ° 9' 7.2"  E ; CH1903:  578121  /  183946