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200 Years of History


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Foundation 1818 - 1933

The founding of the University of Bonn in 1818 fell into an era of idealism and enlightenment. Of particular importance for the new university was the spirit of Wilhelm von Humboldt's Prussian cultural policy, which has been preserved until today. Today, the University of Bonn still feels committed to the Humboldtian ideal of unity of research and teaching. The university's openness ensured strong growth in the first decades. It attracted important scientists as well as famous students and the blue-blooded sons of the ruling houses of Germany.

Decline and Destruction 1933 - 1944

With the seizure of power by the Nazis in Germany in January 1933, the University of Bonn ended its long period of awakening and prosperity. Consequence, of the "Gleichschaltung" (enforced conformity) of the entire University was the dismissal of numerous professors and students. Teachers, regardless of their reputation or scientific achievements, had to leave the University because, as Jews or politically different thinkers, they did not fit the ideology of the fascist rulers. This mental dehydration was followed by physical destruction. On October 18, 1944, Bonn was bombed heavily and the University's main building fell into ruin.

Reconstruction and Growth 1945 - today

The university did not rest for long. The university was reopened in the winter semester 1945/46. In the following years not only were numerous new or reconstructed buildings erected, but also the number of students grew steadily. Thanks to its consistent international orientation, the University of Bonn has earned an outstanding reputation among students, lecturers and scientists in Germany and around the world. 

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