University of Latvia

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University of Latvia
founding 1862 as a polytechnic
Sponsorship state
place Riga , Latvia
Rector Indriķis Muižnieks
Students approx. 28,000

The University of Latvia ( Latvian : Latvijas Universitāte , Latin : Universitas Latviensis ) in the Latvian capital Riga is the oldest and, with around 28,000 students, the largest university in the country.


Main entrance to the main building
The new campus of the University of Latvia (2019).

The Latvian University in Riga goes back to the Riga Polytechnic founded in 1862 . In the Baltic Sea Governments it was the technical complement to the Academic University of Dorpat . In 1869 the Faculty of Architecture was established . Thus, the Riga Polytechnic acquired an outstanding importance for the development of Latvia's Art Nouveau ; Even today, around 40 percent of Riga city center can be attributed to this style. In 1896 the name of the Polytechnic was Russified .

Since there were no entry restrictions, the university was attended by Latvians , Russians , Estonians , Poles , Baltic Germans and Jews . The German students organized themselves into three Baltic German student associations :

By 1915 about 11,000 representatives of all ethnic groups of the Russian Empire had graduated from the Polytechnic. First German , later Russian, was the language of instruction. With the independence of Latvia in 1919 the institute became the Latvian University of Applied Sciences (Latvijas Augstskola) and Latvian became the language of instruction. In 1923 the Latvian Parliament passed a university constitution and the name Latvijas Universitāte . The name Latvian University was common among the Baltic Germans .

With the occupation of Latvia by the USSR in June 1940, the university lost its autonomy and the constitution. It was henceforth called The Latvian State University (Latvijas Valsts Universitāte), abbreviated to LVU. In 1958 it was named Latvian State University Pēteris Stučka University . Pēteris Stučka was Lenin's first People's Commissar for Justice .

After Latvia regained its national independence in 1990, the university was renamed Latvijas Universitāte . The university adopted a constitution on May 15, 1991, which was confirmed by the Saeima on September 18, 1991. In August 2005 it had around 28,000 students.

Since November 2005, the Latvian university has been the majority owner of the independent Riga Graduate School of Law (RGSL).


The main building of the Latvian university was built between 1866 and 1869 according to the plans of the architect Gustav Ferdinand Alexander Hilbig . The building is designed in an eclectic style and contains Romanesque elements. The main portal is adorned with cast tin reliefs with the coats of arms of the three former Baltic provinces of Courland , Livonia and Estonia and nine allegorical symbols of the subjects.


The university has 13 faculties:

  1. biology
  2. chemistry
  3. Physics and math
  4. Economics and business administration
  5. Pedagogy and Psychology
  6. Geography and geology
  7. History and philosophy
  8. law Sciences
  9. medicine
  10. Modern languages
  11. Philology and Art
  12. Social sciences
  13. theology



The main portal of the university building has a three-winged staircase. While the two outer wings can be used by everyone, the middle staircase may only be used by lecturers and alumni.


German Student Union Riga (1928/29)

The yearbook of the Baltic Germanness in Latvia and Estonia 1930 contains exact numbers on the German students at the Latvian University and at the Herder Institute in Riga .

section Latvian University Herder Institute Both
Agronomy / Forest Science 6th 3 0
architecture 10 1 0
Chemistry / pharmacy 32 1 1
Engineer / mechanics 44 2 0
law 70 43 16
Political economy 16 24 2
Medicine / veterinary medicine 45 2 0
Mathematics / natural sciences 15th 25th 2
philology 10 22nd 2
history 6th 11 3
theology 2 12 9
total 256 146 35

See also


  • Erwin Oberländer , Kristine Wohlfart (Ed.): Riga. Portrait of a multiethnic city on the edge of the tsarist empire 1857–1914 . Schöningh, Paderborn 2004, ISBN 3-506-71738-3 .
  • Michael Garleff : The Baltic countries. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania from the Middle Ages to the present. Pustet, Regensburg 2001, ISBN 3-7917-1770-7 .
  • Dietrich A. Loeber : The Baltic German teachers at the University of Latvia during the interwar period . In: Boris Meissner , Dietrich André Loeber, Detlef Henning (eds.): The German ethnic group in Latvia during the interwar period and current issues of German-Latvian relations . Bibliotheca Baltica, Tallinn 2000, ISBN 9985-800-21-4 , pp. 135-139.

Web links

Commons : University of Latvia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Andrejs Johansons: The Latvian University in Riga 1919-1940. With special consideration of the philological and philosophical subjects . In: Gert von Pistohlkors u. a. (Ed.): The universities of Dorpat / Tartu, Riga and Wilna / Vilnius, 1579–1979. Contributions to their history and their impact in the border area between West and East . Böhlau, Cologne 1987, pp. 255-262.

Coordinates: 56 ° 57 ′ 2.3 ″  N , 24 ° 6 ′ 56.2 ″  E