© Heidelberg Marketing, Foto: Tobias Schwerdt

New University

Short facts

  • Heidelberg

Today, the New University is the main lecture building for the humanities.

During the Weimar Republic, Heidelberg was considered a stronghold of the democratic spirit, shaped by such professorial figures as Karl Jaspers, Gustav Radbruch, Martin Dibelius, and Alfred Weber. The New University, built from American donations, received the dedication "Dem lebendigen Geist" ("To the living spirit") formulated by Friedrich Gundolf. 

The Third Reich led to the dismissal of a large number of lecturers in Heidelberg and the expulsion of students for political and racial reasons. Many had to emigrate, two professors became direct victims of the terror. Due to the activities of high-profile supporters of the regime, Heidelberg was discredited as a brown university; the "living spirit" was officially replaced by "the German spirit," to which many then paid homage, as they did everywhere.

At the end of World War II, the university was outwardly undestroyed but in need of spiritual renewal. Under Jaspers' leadership, a new constitution was drafted in which the university pledged to "serve the living spirit of truth, justice, and humanity." The first post-war rector was the surgeon Karl Heinrich Bauer.

In the course of extension and expansion, the university was spatially divided: A campus university was created in Neuenheimer Feld for the natural sciences and part of medicine, while the humanities retained their traditional quarters in the old town.

Reforms changed the previous structures. If the university consisted of four faculties (theology, law, medicine, philosophy) since its founding and the natural sciences were added as a fifth faculty in 1890, it was divided into 16 faculties in 1969.

The traditionally large proportion of foreigners also returned after the war. The fact that, despite the high numbers, teaching and research are still understood as a unified task today is seen by the university by all its members as a challenge and an obligation.

On the map

Universität Heidelberg
Universitätsplatz 1
69117 Heidelberg - Altstadt

Phone: +49 6221 54-0
Website: www.uni-heidelberg.de/en

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