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Timeline

Timeline

011911

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Opening of the Lecture Building

The lecture building endowed by Edmund Siemers was opened on the Moorweide to house the General Lecture Series and the Colonial Institute. These educational institutions and the new building, along with the ten academic institutes, are the building blocks of the future university, the plans for which had hitherto been rejected by the Hamburg Parliament.

Painting of the Hamburg Convention of Professors, with the directors of the academic institutes
Gemälde von Max Liebermann, Hamburger Kunsthalle / bpk Foto: Elke Walford
The Hamburg Convention of Professors, with the directors of the academic institutes,
Balustrade columns from the lecture building
Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
Balustrade columns from the lecture building, 1911
Lecture schedule for the General Lecture Series and Colonial Institute, 1911
011919

6 January: Special Courses for Returning Veterans

Even before the University was founded, an extensive program of university courses in Hamburg was offered for returning veterans in the lecture building. These special courses were initiated by William Stern and some of his colleagues.

28 March: Parliamentary Resolution to Found the University

The new, democratically elected parliament, with the Social Democrats in the majority, resolved to found the University on 28 March. Only ten days earlier, the old parliament had again rejected a similar proposal.

Interview with Dr. Myriam Isabell Richter, biographer of Werner von Melle, about the founding of the University

Lectures Before and After the Founding of the University

Course catalogs from directly before and after the founding of the University show that professorships and subjects from the General Lecture Series and the Colonial Institute were absorbed into the new university.

University course catalog and lecture schedule for the General Lecture Series, 1918/1919

From Lecture Building to University Main Building

In 1919, the lecture building built in 1911 for the General Lecture Series and the Colonial Institute became the Main Building of the University.

1 April: Provisional University Legislation

With the passage of the provisional university legislation, the Hamburg University became the first university in Germany created on the basis of a parliamentary resolution. The University act permitted public school (Volksschule) teachers to study, even without a secondary school leaving certificate, and required professors from the University to teach at the newly established Volkshochschulen (adult education centers).

10 May: Grand Opening

A grand opening ceremony was held in the Musik- halle on 10 May, and the new university was christe-ned Hamburgische Universität. One month earlier, the Hamburger Fremdenblatt had published a special supplement on the new university and its founders.

Extensive report on the opening of the University in a supplement of the Hamburger Fremdenblatt on 9 April 1919
Staatsarchiv Hamburg, 132-5/2_ Neu.Reg. HG VII k1, Hamburgisches Kolonialinstitut und die Universität, 1913-1919
Extensive report on the opening of the University in a supplement of the Hamburger Fremdenblatt on 9 April 1919

Four faculties

Forty-nine professors taught at the new university in four endowed faculties:

  • Faculty of Law and Public Administration
  • Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Philosophy
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

First University Newspaper

The first newspaper for the young university in Hamburg was published at the start of the Summer Semester 1919. It remained in publication until February 1935.

Title page of the Hamburg University newspaper, 1919
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Title page of the Hamburg University newspaper, 1919
011920

A Birthday Medaillon

On the University’s first anniversary, a medallion was issued honoring Mayor Werner von Melle, who had advocated for the founding of a university for many years.

Postcard of the University’s Main Building, circa 1920
University medallion, 1920
011921

4 February: University Legislation

The first regular university legislation comes into effect. Despite their plans, the Social Democrats were unable to implement further reforms. However, the legislation did put in place a higher education authority (Hochschulbehörde), a collegial board of supervisors, elected by the parliament—under protest from the professors.

The First University Seal

The University seal, designed by K. Schmidt, first appeared on the Winter Semester 1921/22 course catalog. At the center of the seal is Hamburg’s coat of arms.

University seal, 1921
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
University seal, 1921
011922

12 April: Founding of the Studentenhilfe

The Verein Hamburger Studentenhilfe e.V. (Hamburg Association for Student Aid) was founded in a time of great economic need to assist students. It helped students find lodging and work, and supported students in financial need with free meals and welfare services.

Hamburger Studentenhilfe flyer
Universität Hamburg, Universitätsarchiv, StAHH, Universität I, O.50.5.1, Band 1
Hamburger Studentenhilfe flyer, 1922
011927

Winter Semester: Teacher Training

Universität Hamburg offered a teacher training program for public school teachers, and, beginning in Winter Semester 1929/30, for vocational school teachers. They had previously been trained at teaching colleges. The university teacher training was sponsored by the Gesellschaft der Freunde des vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesens (Society of Friends of the Patriotic School and Education System), an advocacy group for teachers.

The Curio-Haus, built by the Gesellschaft der Freunde des vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesens
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte, Foto: Stefan Kayser
The Curio-Haus, built by the Gesellschaft der Freunde des vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesens, circa 1990
011928

20 April: Port of Call for Students

The Studentenhilfe opens the first Studentenhaus at Neue Rabenstraße 13. The building has rooms for student organizations, an academic reading room, a club room, and a dining hall. Over the course of time, it became a popular meeting place for students.

Foyer of the Studentenhaus
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Foyer of the Studentenhaus, 1930
011930

Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
011932

Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
011933

1 May: Commitment to National Socialism

At a ceremony on the Day of National Labor, the University officially pledged its support of the “National Revolution” and Adolf Hitler. Although only a few professors were members of the Nazi party, they all quickly adjusted to the new regime’s demands. They promoted the national idea, the elimination of the multi-party government, the authoritarian style of government, and did not oppose the exclusion and dismissal of colleagues.

Picture of a student rally with a swastika flag in front of the Main Building
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte, Foto: Winkelmann
Student rally with a swastika flag in front of the Main Building, June 1933

Interview

Interview with Eckart Krause, editor of Hochschulalltag im “Dritten Reich” (University Life in the “Third Reich”) – National Socialism at the University.

Teaching and Research in the Nazi Era

The new political regime’s pretensions were reflected in new kinds of university activities, such as military sports or lectures on military science. The University established professorships for racial biology and military history.

Medical students in uniform in a dormitory
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Medical students in uniform in a dormitory, around 1940

Dismissal of Scholars

With the passage of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, approximately ninety researchers were dismissed, most of them because of their Jewish heritage. Many departments, such as Art History and Psychology, lost the greater portion of their academic staff. Jewish students were pushed out of student life step by step.

011934

21 January: Law for the Reform of the University

With new university legislation, Universität Hamburg committed itself to the “Führerprinzip” and declared itself the first National Socialist university in Germany.

1 April: University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Although the general hospital in Eppendorf had long been a research hospital and many of its physicians were university professors, it only became affiliated with the University in 1934. From then on, most medical courses were taught at the new University Hospital.

Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
Pavilions at the Eppendorf hospital, no date
011935

Hansische Universität

The Hamburgische Universität is renamed the Hansische Universität (Hanseatic University). The new name was politically motivated and pointed to the University’s roots in Northern Germany and its claim to the seas.

Summer Semester: Hansische Hochschulzeitung

With the new political orientation of the university newspaper came a new name. The Hansische Hochschulzeitung (Hanseatic University Newspaper) increasingly printed Nazi-influenced articles. Printing ceased in 1941.

Hansische Hochschulzeitung
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Hansische Hochschulzeitung, 1935
011939

9 May: New Colonial Institute

Since the Nazi regime was once again interested in colonies, the University revived the Colonial Institute, which had been subsumed into the University in 1919. The “new” institute was not really new; it simply bundled resources already present at the University and published a separate course catalog.

Course catalog for the University, the General Lecture Series, and the Colonial Institute, Summer Semester 1939

Mandatory Service for Students

During the war, all students not serving in the military had to perform some kind of service. They worked in weapons factories, on farms, as streetcar conductors, or in air defense patrols. Female students did their service, “Frauendienst”, during their first semester.

Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Students on factory duty, around 1939
011943

Ruined Buidlings

By the end of the Second World War, many of the University buildings had been destroyed in air raids. Teaching and research slowly came to a halt. The number of students enrolled dropped quickly after the war began.

Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte, ullstein bild, Foto: H. Schmidt-Luchs
Ruins of the Main Building, 1945
Ammonite with scorch marks
Universität Hamburg, Geologisch-Paläontologisches Museum
Ammonite from the Museum of Natural History with scorch marks from an air raid in 1943
Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
Jahrbuch der Hamburgischen Wissenschaftlichen Anstalten, Hamburg 1983
011945

6 November: Re-opening of Universität Hamburg

When the British occupied Hamburg on 3 May 1945, the Hanseatic University was closed. But by November, the occupation authorities approved its re-opening as Universität Hamburg. A ceremony at the Hamburg Musikhalle marked the new beginning.

Staatsarchiv Hamburg
Re-opening ceremony 1945: representatives of the British occupation forces are in the front row
Hamburg students in front of the University Main Building
Vintage Germany
Hamburg students in front of the University Main Building, 1947
011946

Student Rebuilding Efforts

Starting in Winter Semester 1946/47, anyone applying for admission had to help with the reconstruction of University buildings. In Winter Semester 1948/49, history students received a certificate from their professor Fritz Fischer for decking roofs.

Certificate for rebuilding
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Certificate for rebuilding, 1948
011951

Studium Generale

As a countermeasure to the ideological indoctrination of the Nazi era, the University introduced the Studium Generale. Its intention was to introduce students to various subjects, in order to provide a well-rounded education.

Studium generale lectures, 1951
011952

Academic Advising

The central student advising office began its work in Winter Semester 1952/53. It also offered psychological services.

Plakat der „Studenten-Beratung“, 1952
Universität Hamburg, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Universitätsarchiv, StA HH 364_5 I, Universität I, O.50.1.5
Poster from the student advising center, 1952
011953

8 June: The University Welcomes Thomas Mann

Before his scheduled reading in a packed Lecture Hall A, Thomas Mann addressed the students. In his oft-quoted speech, he urged them to “embrace not a German Europe, but a European Germany”.

Speech by Thomas Mann

New Universtity Seal

The new University seal, designed by Paul A. Weber, was printed on the course catalogs. The graphic designer had submitted the new design to the University administration on his own initiative—and it was a success.

Model of the new University seal, around 1953

A New University Campus

Numerous new university buildings were built in parts of the former Jewish quarter Grindelviertel and on the Moorweide. The first buildings on the new, central campus—now called Von-Melle-Park in honor of the University’s founder—were a cafeteria and a dormitory. Later came the Audimax, the library, and the Philosophenturm.

Laying the cornerstone of the Audimax, 1957
Staatsarchiv Hamburg
Laying the cornerstone of the Audimax, 1957
The completed Von-Melle campus, 1965
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
The completed Von-Melle campus, 1965
011954

Full University

With the addition of the Faculty of Theology, Universität Hamburg had all of the faculties of a traditional university. In the same year, the Faculty of Law and Public Administration was split into the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. The University now had six faculties.

Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
011959

Michel Foucault in Hamburg

Michel Foucault was the director of the Institut Français when the Faculty of Philosophy invited him to be a guest lecturer. He gave a lecture, in French, on the political philosophy of the 18th century as well as seminars on Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.

University Main Building in the early 1960s
011960

Lectures

The General Lecture Series, which had resumed after the war, was discontinued between 1959 and 1981.

Universität Hamburg course catalog, 1960
011969

1 May: Fundamental Reforms

Between 1967 and 1969, students protested for improvements to their studies and more representation. These protests were the beginning of a fundamental change in the university system. Where once only for professors, now all groups from across the University—professors, researchers, students, and technical and administrative staff—are represented in autonomous bodies to determine the path the University will take. The new university legislation on which the reform is based is the first of its kind in Germany.

12 December: Election of the First University President

Traditionally, each year the professors would choose an honorary rector from among themselves. This changed with the university reform. Beginning in 1969, the position of president was established, with a term of several years. Fischer-Appelt was a postdoctoral research associate, and his selection caused a nationwide stir.

Election of the first University president in Hamburg
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Election of the first University president in Hamburg, 1969
Interview with Dr. Helga Kutz-Bauer

Faculties Become Departments

With the university reform, the six faculties were transformed into fifteen departments: Department of Protestant Theology; Department of Law; Department of Economics; Department of Medicine; Department of Philosophy; Psychology; and Social Sciences; Department of Educational Science; Department of Languages and Linguistics; Department of Humanities; Department of Cultural History and Contemporary Culture; Department of Oriental Studies; Department of Mathematics; Department of Physics; Department of Chemistry; Department of Biology; Department of Earth Sciences

011970

26 October: A New University Newspaper

With the uni hh info, the University press office published the first “official” university newspaper. In 1971, it became the uni hh. There have been various newspapers since 1946, most of them published by students. The most intellectually ambitious publication was the Hamburger Akademische Rundschau, published between 1946 and 1950 by professors and students.

left: Issue of uni hh info, 1970; right: Hamburger Akademische Rundschau
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
left: Issue of uni hh info, 1970; right: Hamburger Akademische Rundschau, 1946
011972

13 June: Numerus Clausus for All Subject Areas

Against the will of the University, the Hamburg Senate decided to introduce an upper limit of 25,800 students. Admissions in Winter Semester 1972/73 had to be limited.

Headline article: restricted admission to Universität Hamburg
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Headline article: restricted admission to Universität Hamburg (Numerus Clausus in der uni hh), 1972
011974

Psychology Becomes a Separate Department

The Department of Philosophy, Psychology, and Social Sciences is split into the Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences and the Department of Psychology.

011975

Department Law II

The addition of the Department of Law II brought the number of departments to seventeen. It offered the reformed law program.

011977

Department of Informatics

Informatics becomes the University’s eighteenth department.

011978

22 May: Hamburg Higher Education Act

The new Hamburg higher education act replaces the 1969 university legislation. It brought the Hamburg laws into conformity with the federal framework act for higher education. The HmbHG introduced an academic reform that, among other things, stipulated a regular period of study.

011980

Department of Sports Science

Universität Hamburg was the second university in Germany to establish an independent Department of Sports Science. It was the University’s nineteenth department.

This climbing hold was one of several on a climbing wall that was open to the public until the mid-2000s.
Testing in sports medicine carried out by Prof. Dr. Klaus-Michael Braumann, circa 1990
011982

Lectures

The General Lecture Series first offered courses again in 1982.

University and General Lecture Series course catalog, 1982
011985

Promotion of Equal Opportunities for Women

The University introduces measures to increase the number of female employees. The Equal Opportunity Unit, the Committee for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities for Women, and the office of Women’s Affairs Commissioner are established, two years after the first directive for the promotion of women in the Hamburg civil service had come into effect.

011993

Hamburg Library of University History

The Hamburg Library of University History first housed the collection that had been gathered for the research project on the History of Universität Hamburg during the Nazi era. Ten years later, it was expanded and became the Center for the History of Universität Hamburg. It is dedicated to the research and communication of University and academic history.

Eckart Krause in his library, 1993
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte, Foto: Jörg Martin Schulze
Eckart Krause in his library, 1993
011994

New Additions on EdmundSiemers-Allee

The developers Helmut and Hannelore Greve endowed the new wings flanking the historical University Main Building. The west wing was finished in 1998, the east wing in 2002.

Construction of the wings of the Main Building
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Construction of the wings of the Main Building, 1996
011997

On Location at the University

Sönke Wortmann films the university novel The Campus by Hamburg professor Dietrich Schwanitz, a satirical examination of relations in Universität Hamburg at the time. Scenes are shot in the Main Building on Edmund-Siemers-Allee and at the Observatory.

Film crew with director and the actors Heiner Lauterbach and Axel Milberg
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte, Foto: Christina Kiehl
Film crew with director and the actors Heiner Lauterbach and Axel Milberg, 1997

New Seats for the Audimax

A donation drive finances new seats for the University’s Audimax, built in 1959. The names of the donors are on nameplates on the seats.

An old seat from the Audimax
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
Seat sponsoring initiative for the Audimax, 1998
011999

Lectures

University and General Lecture Series course catalog, 1999
012000

Restructuring in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Department of Philosophy and Social Sciences and the Department of Humanities are restructured into a new Department of Philosophy and History and a Department of Social Sciences. The Department of Oriental Studies becomes the Asien-Afrika-Institut.

New University Logo

The University gets a new logo, designed by Peter Schmidt.

University logo, 2000
Universität Hamburg
University logo, 2000
012001

Modernizing the Higher Education System

Two new pieces of higher education legislation form the basis for an extensive reform of the University to conform to the Bologna requirements of 1999. On 18 July 2001, the Hamburg Parliament approves new higher education legislation, which reorders higher education law. Bachelor’s and master’s programs are introduced on a trial basis. On 27 May 2003, the modernization of the higher education system act required the University to implement the bachelor’s and master’s system for all degree programs. It also established junior professorships and required tuition fees for long-term students.

012002

You See—A New University Newspaper

The first edition of you see was published by the Universität Hamburg press office.

First edition of you see, 2002
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
First edition of you see, 2002
012004

Revamping the University Logo

The new University logo is based on the version from 2000.

University logo, 2004
Universität Hamburg
University logo, 2004
012005

Departments Become Faculties

Under the Hamburg act for faculty formation at Hamburg universities (Gesetz zur Fakultätenbildung an den Hamburger Hochschulen, FG), the eighteen departments are consolidated into six faculties: Faculty of Law; Faculty of Business; Economics and Social Sciences; Faculty of Medicine; Faculty of Education; Psychology and Human Movement; Faculty of Humanities and Cultural Studies; Faculty of Mathematics; Informatics and Natural Sciences

Integration of the HWP

The Hamburg University of Economics and Politics (HWP) is integrated into Universität Hamburg—under intense protest. It is now part of the Department of Socioeconomics in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences. One of the key legacies of the HWP is that people without a secondary school leaving certificate can still study in the Department of Socioeconomics.

Protest banner “HWP in Bewegung,” no date specified
Universität Hamburg, Fakultät für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften
Protest banner “HWP in Bewegung,” no date specified

Transition to the Bachelor’s and Master’s System

The University-wide transition to bachelor’s and master’s degree program begins. The final bachelor’s programs are implemented in Winter Semester 2007/08. Master’s degree programs are restructured two to three years later.

012010

New University Publications

The Department of Communications and Public Relations at Universität Hamburg issues the first edition of the university magazine UHH Hochschule in February 2010. In 2013, it was replaced with 19NEUNZEHN—the current university magazine.

Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
First edition of the UHH University magazine, 2010
First edition of 19NEUNZEHN, 2013
Universität Hamburg, Arbeitsstelle für Universitätsgeschichte
First edition of 19NEUNZEHN, 2013

University Logo with a Message

The University logo changes once again. The inscription over the entrance to the historic Main Building is added: Der Forschung Der Lehre Der Bildung (To Research, To Teach, To Educate and Form).

Universität Hamburg
University logo, 2010
012012

Improvements in Teaching

In the framework of the Quality Pact for Teaching, the Universitätskolleg coordinates and tests measures and projects for improving teaching. The pilot project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) runs from 2017 to 2020.

012014

February: Restructuring the Faculties

The Faculty of Education, Psychology and Human Movement is split into the Faculty of Psychology and Human Movement and the Faculty of Education. In addition, a separate Faculty of Business Administration is established. Six faculties become eight.

012017

Code of Conduct for Religious Expression

After debates about public worship at Universität Hamburg, Germany’s first Code of Conduct for this issue is created. In it, the University guarantees religious freedom and the right for each individual to practice their own religion, as long as academic freedom, scientific standards, and teaching are not compromised.

Interfaith Room of Contemplation at the University
Katholische Hochschulgemeinde Hamburg
Interfaith Room of Contemplation at the University
012018

September: Four Clusters of Excellence

Universität Hamburg was granted all four of the clusters of excellence for which it had applied: Advanced Imaging of Matter; Climate, Climatic Change, and Society; Understanding Written Artefacts; Quantum Universe.

012019

January: Science City Bahrenfeld

The City of Hamburg announced the expansion of the existing research campus in Bahrenfeld: a new research district with room for science, business, and living is being developed. The University plans to transfer a broad number of its natural science institutes to the new Science City.

University and General Lecture Series course catalog, 2019
UHH/Ohme
UHH/Ohme
Sebastian Engels
UHH/Ohme
Sebastian Engels

10 May: The University Turns 100

The University celebrates its 100th anniversary with a ceremony in the Audimax and a festival on campus. Alexander Gerst, former ISS commander and alumnus, donates a University flag that has traveled into space and a corresponding plaque to the University as a birthday present, 2019.

University flag
Universität Hamburg, Zentralstelle für wissenschaftliche Sammlungen
University flag

Speech by Dr. Alexander Gerst.

Excerpt from a speech by Dr. Alexander Gerst.

University of Excellence

After Universität Hamburg was granted four clusters of excellence, it was also granted the title of University of Excellence. The title brings with it a specific grant for expanding the University’s international top-ranking position in research.