Berlin, Humboldt University of

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Berlin, Humboldt University of


one of the major universities in the German Democratic Republic. Founded in 1809 (formally opened in 1810).

During the first few years of its existence the university was under the direct supervision of Wilhelm von Humboldt. In 1816 the king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III, approved the university’s charter. During the year of its founding 247 students studied at the university, and the teaching staff numbered 58. The university soon became one of the leading universities in Germany. It included seven faculties: philosophy, law, theology, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and agriculture. Attached to the university were a number of major scientific research institutes, an astronomical observatory at Potsdam, and others.

The activity of many outstanding scholars is connected with Berlin University: the philologist brothers J. and W. Grimm, the linguist and Sanskrit specialist F. Bopp, the philosophers G. Hegel and J. Fichte, the historians F. Mommsen and B. Niebuhr, the pathologist and anatomist R. Virchow, the physicists H. Helmholtz and G. Kirchhoff, and others. From 1836 to 1841, K. Marx studied at the university, and after 1841 F. Engels attended lectures there. At the turn of the 20th century the Humboldt University of Berlin was one of the leading centers of learning; it had greatly fostered the development of the natural and exact sciences. Such outstanding physicists as A. Einstein, E. Schrödinger, M. Planck, and W. Nernst worked at the university. When the Nazis came to power, many professors left Berlin University and emigrated from Germany.

In 1946 the university was named for A. and W. Humboldt. During the 1968–69 academic year the university had nine faculties: philosophy, natural sciences and mathematics, law, economics, pedagogy, theology, medicine, veterinary science, and agriculture and horticulture. More than 14,000 students were enrolled in the university, and the teaching staff numbered 1,900. As of 1969, the university library (founded in 1831) had more than 1.9 million volumes.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.