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Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

History of the Christian-Albrechts-University

The University of Kiel bears the name of its founder, the Duke Christian Albrecht of Schleswig-Holstein Gottorf who established the university in 1665 for his duchy. The university seal shows a female figure holding a palm branch and a cornucopia full of wheat as a symbol of peace. The seal bears the circumscription pax optima rerum (peace is the greatest good) to remind us of the harrowing times of war which the inhabitants of Germany and the northern countries had overcome.

During the first century of its existence the university was housed in the former Franciscan monastery close to the market square; its remains have now been reconstructed to create the theological study center referred to as the „Kiel Monastery“. Only in the sixties of the 18th century was a new university building built close to the castle which later became the Museum of Prehistorical Antiquities and was destroyed during World War II. After the small state of Gottorf was dissolved in 1773, the Christiana Albertina became the university for the entire state which up until 1864 had been part of the Danish monarchy. During the first half of the 19th century it played a major role as the intellectual leader of the Schleswig-Holstein movement.

When both duchies became Prussian in 1867, the university entered a period of internal and external growth. In 1876, a new university building was officially opened at the Schloßgarten which was then considerably expanded in 1902. The other institutes and clinics were also expanded or reconstructed during these years.

When the National Socialists gained power, the university also entered a dark period in its history. These years are characterized by wrongdoing against persecuted and expelled academics and other members of the university community.

Despite the damage and loss brought about by the Second World War, the university, which by this time had become the state university, was able to reestablish its teaching activities in November of 1945. The Departments of Theology, Law and Public Administration, Medicine and Philosophy were among the first to be reestablished followed soon thereafter by the Department of Agricultural Science.

The growing number of faculty members led to the creation of the Department of Mathematics and Natural Science in 1963. The Lübeck Medical School was part of the University of Kiel from 1964 to 1973 until its construction was fully completed. During the winter semester of 1969/70 the department of Law and Public Administration was divided into a Department of Law and a Department of Economics and Social Sciences.

In 1990 the decision was made to found a Department of Engineering with courses of study in Electrical Engineering, Material Sciences, and Computer Engineering.

The reconstruction of the university and its further expansion after the end of the Second World War was completed in two adjacent large-scale areas: in the area surrounding the „Old University“ north of the Schloßgarten the clinic structures were reconstructed or (mainly) housed in new buildings; all other institutions belonging to the university are located in new buildings in the northwestern part of Kiel on a closed campus built around the (extended) Olshausenstraße. This is where the large, new 8 hectare Botanical Garden and the Department of Education (formerly the Teacher Training College of Kiel) can be found, located directly next to the Biology Center.


Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Olshausenerstr 40
24118 Kiel
Tel: +49 (0)431 880 00

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