University of Bonn

University of Bonn

University of Bonn is one of the leading research universities in the world, it was founded more than 200 years ago and is considered one of the best universities in Germany and in fact it is one of the most important institutes in Europe in Higher Education. It is the home of learning for more than 31,000 students and has an excellent reputation both at home and abroad.


The university’s beginnings were as the Cologne Prince’s Academy, founded in 1777 by Maximilian Frederick of Königsegg-Rothenfels, the Prince of Cologne. In this academy there were schools for theology, law, pharmacy, and general studies. In 1784 Emperor Joseph II granted the Academy the right to academic degrees (Bachelors and Doctors), turning the Academy into a university. The academy was closed in 1798 after it was occupied by France during the French Revolutionary Wars.

In April 1815, King Frederick William III of Prussia promised the creation of a new university in the new Rhine province. Up to this time there was no university in the Rhine region, since the three universities that existed until the end of the 18th century were They closed as a result of the French occupation. The university constitution was drawn up in 1827, it emphasized the autonomy of the university and the unity of teaching and research. Similar to the University of Berlin, which was founded in 1810, the new constitution made the University of Bonn a modern research university.

The growth of the university was stopped by economic problems caused by the First World War as in Germany the war led to the reduction of government funds for the university. The University of Bonn responded by trying to find private and industrial sponsors. In 1930 the university adopted a new constitution. During this period the first students were allowed to participate in the administration of the autonomous university. To this end the student council was founded in the same year. The student council members were chosen in a secret ballot.

After the Nazi takeover in 1933, the university was transformed into a Nazi educational institution. The autonomous administration of the university was replaced by a hierarchy of leaders resembling the military. Jewish professors and students and political opponents were convicted and expelled from the university. Theologian Karl Barth was forced to resign and emigrate to Switzerland for refusing to swear allegiance to Hitler. The Jewish mathematician Felix Hausdorffhe was expelled from the university in 1935 and committed suicide after learning of his impending deportation to a concentration camp in 1942. The philosophers Paul Ludwig Landsberg and Johannes Maria Verweyen were deported and died in concentration camps. In 1937 Thomas Mann was deprived of an honorary doctorate from him. His honorary degree was restored in 1946.

During World War II, the university was heavily damaged. An air raid on October 18, 1944 destroyed the main building. The university reopened on November 17, 1945. The first president of the university was Heinrich Matthias Konen, who was expelled from the university in 1934 for his opposition to Nazism. The university expanded considerably in the postwar period, in particular in the 1960s and 1970s. Significant postwar events were the relocation of the university hospital from the city center to the Venusberg in 1949, the opening of the new university library in 1960, and the opening of a new building, the Juridicum, by the Faculty of Law and Economics in 1967.

In 1983 the new science library was inaugurated. In 1989 Wolfgang Paul was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics. Three years later, Reinhard Selten was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. The German government’s decision to move the capital from Bonn to Berlin after reunification in 1991 resulted in generous compensation for the city of Bonn. The compensation package included three new research institutes affiliated with or collaborating closely with the university, thereby significantly enhancing research at the University of Bonn.

The School of Law and Economics, the main university library, and several other departments are housed in modern buildings a short distance south of the main building. The psychology department and the computer science department are located north of Bonn.

Personalities linked to the University

Heinrich Heine, Heinrich Hertz, Friedrich Hirzebruch, Friedrich Nietzsche, Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz, Joseph Schumpeter, Konrad Adenauer, Max Ernst, Constantin Carathéodory, Karl Weierstrass, Karl Barth, Wolfgang Chalet, Johannes Sobotta, Margaret Altmann, and Samson Raphael Hirsch. In addition, seven Nobel Prizes and two Fields Medals have been awarded to professors and students of the University.

  • Harald zur Hausen, Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine2008
  • Reinhard Selten, Economics1994
  • Wolfgang Paul, Physics 1989
  • Luigi Pirandello, Literature 1934
  • Otto Wallach, Chemistry1910
  • Paul Johann Ludwig von Heyse: Literature 1910
  • Philipp Lenard, Physics1905
  • Gerd Faltings: Fields Medal 1986
  • Maxim Kontsevich: Fields Medal 1998


Today the university is divided into seven schools:

  • Faculty of Catholic Theology
  • Faculty of Protestant Theology
  • Faculty of Law and Economics
  • School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Faculty of Mathematicsand Science
  • Faculty of Agricultural Sciences


  • It is the first generator of employment in the city.
  • The University of Bonn does not have a centralized campus. The main building is the former royal palace of the prince of Cologne located in the city center
  • Among his notable students and teachers are Pope Benedict XVI and Karl Marx.

University of Bonn

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