Freie Universität Berlin: Wikis

Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


(Redirected to Free University of Berlin article)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Free University of Berlin
Freie Universität Berlin
Motto Veritas, Iustitia, Libertas (Latin)
Motto in English Truth, Justice, Liberty
Established 1948
Type Public University
Endowment 380 Mio. € (without Charité: medical school)
President Prof. Dr. Dieter Lenzen
Staff 4,871; 422 Professors; 1,200 Scientific Assistants (without Charité: medical school)
Students 31,304 (WS 2007/08)
Location Berlin, Germany
Affiliations German Excellence Universities
The "Henry-Ford-Building" (with auditoriums).
Botanical Garden: Tropical Greenhouse

Free University of Berlin (German: Freie Universität Berlin) is one of the leading research universities in Germany and distinguishes itself through its modern and international character. The Freie Universität Berlin is the largest of the four universities in Berlin. Research at the university is focused on humanities and social sciences and on health and natural sciences.

Freie Universität Berlin was one of nine German top-universities to win in the German Universities Excellence Initiative, a national competition for universities organized by the German Federal Government. Winning a distinction for five doctoral programs, three interdisciplinary research clusters (some of them in cooperation with other universities) and its overall institutional strategy, Freie Universität Berlin was the single most successful university in the initiative. In university rankings, Freie Universität Berlin ranks among the best universities.

The Times Higher Education Supplement world rankings in Arts and Humanities of 2009 place the Freie Universität of Berlin 1st in Germany, 6th best in Europe, and 27th in the world.

Without the medical school, Freie Universität is currently lead university for eight collaborative research centers of the German Research Foundation DFG and also has five DFG research units. Fifteen scholars of Freie Universität have to date been awarded a Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize of the DFG, the most important German prize for research achievements.

Founded in West Berlin during the early Cold War, its name refers to West Berlin's status as part of the free world, as opposed to the Soviet-occupied areas surrounding the city and the then communist-controlled Humboldt University in particular.



Most of the university's facilities are located in the Dahlem district of the southwest Berlin borough of Steglitz-Zehlendorf. The first independent structure to be completed on campus was the Henry Ford Building, funded by the American Ford Foundation. To that point, the university was housed in several older structures around the neighborhood, including the Otto Hahn Building, which houses the biochemistry department to this day.

The largest single complex of university buildings is the Rost- und Silberlaube, which translates roughly to the "Rust and Silver Lodges". This complex consists of a series of interlinked structures corresponding to either a deep bronze (hence, "rust") or shiny white ("silver") hue, surrounding a variety of leafy courtyards. It has recently been complemented by a new centerpiece, the brain-shaped Philological Library, designed by British architect Lord Norman Foster.


Freie Universität Berlin was founded by students and scholars on December 4, 1948, with the support of the American Allies and Berlin politicians as a response to the persecution of students critical of the system at Universität Unter den Linden in the Soviet sector of the divided city of Berlin. These students and scholars wanted to study and carry out research at Freie Universität, free of political influence. Thanks to generous donations from the United States, Freie Universität was able to construct several new central building complexes including the Benjamin Franklin university clinic complex and the Henry Ford Building, the central lecture building. Based on its founding tradition, Freie Universität’s seal to this day bears the Latin terms for Truth, Justice, and Liberty. In 2007, Freie Universität dedicated a monument to the founding students who were murdered by the Soviet secret service. The university presents its Freedom Award to personalities who have made a special contribution toward the cause of freedom.

The years 1968, 1990 and 2007 mark turning points in the history of Freie Universität. During the 1960s, the university was the scene of student protests that provided the impulse for more openness, equality, and democracy. After German unification in 1990 and increasingly since 2000, Freie Universität Berlin has revamped itself. The university’s research performance increased markedly with regard to the number of graduates, Ph.D.s granted, and publications. Underlying this successful trend were fundamental reforms such as the introduction of modern management systems in the administration, a reorganization of the departments, and an efficient utilization of resources. Prognos, the renowned economic institute in Basel, Switzerland, presented Freie Universität with an award for its good entrepreneurial principles. Since 2003, Freie Universität has been regrouping its research capacities into transdisciplinary research focus areas called clusters. The year 2007 was another crucial year for Freie Universität: It was the university with the most approved funding applications in the federal and state Initiative for Excellence, and it is now one of nine German universities to receive funding for its future development strategy.

Freie Universität is located in the residential garden district of Dahlem in southwestern Berlin. Around the beginning of the 20th century, Dahlem was established as a center for research of the highest caliber. Academic activity in Dahlem was supported by Friedrich Althoff, Ministerial Director in the Prussian Ministry of Culture, who initially proposed the foundation of “a German Oxford.” The first new buildings housed government science agencies and new research institutes of the University of Berlin. The Kaiser Wilhelm Society – forerunner of the present-day Max Planck Society – was founded in 1911 and established several institutes in Dahlem. A dynamic group of researchers carried out pioneering research resulting in numerous Nobel Prizes. Since its foundation, Freie Universität Berlin has been using buildings formerly belonging to the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and, in addition, has added numerous architecturally innovative buildings. Freie Universität’s central campus consists of building ensembles within walking distance of each other. The planners oriented themselves along the type of campus found in the United States – a novelty in post-war Germany.



The university has 13 departments, three interdisciplinary central institutes and other central service institutions:

  1. Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy
  2. Business and Economics
  3. Earth Sciences
  4. Educational Science and Psychology
  5. History and Cultural Studies
  6. Law
  7. Mathematics and Computer Science
  8. Medicine (Charité - University Medicine Berlin)
  9. Pedagogy and Psychology
  10. Philosophy and Humanities
  11. Physics
  12. Political and Social Science
  13. Veterinary Medicine

Interdisciplinary Central Institutes

  1. John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies
  2. Institute for Eastern European Studies
  3. Institute for Latin American Studies

Graduate Schools

  1. Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies
  2. Muslim Cultures and Societies
  3. Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies
  4. Graduate School of North American Studies
  5. Berlin Mathematical School

Clusters of Excellence

  1. Languages of Emotion
  2. Topoi - The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations
  3. NeuroCure - Towards a Better Outcome of Neurological Disorders

Interdisciplinary Centers

  1. "Ancient World"
  2. "Art and Aesthetics"
  3. "Ecosystem Dynamics in Central Asia"
  4. "Efficient Mathematical Modeling"
  5. "European Languages: Structures - Development - Comparison" (ZEUS)
  6. "Historical Anthropology"
  7. "Middle Ages- Renaissance - Early Modern Times"
  8. "Research on Teaching and Learning"
  9. "Social and Cultural History of the Middle East"

Central Service Institutions

  1. Botanical Garden Berlin and Botanical Museum Berlin
  2. Center for Academic Advising, Career and Counseling Services
  3. Center for Continuing Studies
  4. Center for Recreational Sports
  5. Center for the Promotion of Woman's and Gender Studies
  6. Computer Center
  7. Language Center
  8. University Library


In 2008 the FUB received more than 32000 applications and admitted around 6000 students, or approximately 18% of applicants.[1]

International Partnership

Freie Universität maintains wide-ranging international contacts to other universities and organizations which provide key impulses for research and teaching: In the 1950s, Freie Universität had already established partnerships with leading universities in the United States such as UC Berkley, Chicago, Cornell, Stanford, Princeton, Yale and Columbia, as well as with Western European universities like Cambridge, University College London and Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. First contacts with universities in Eastern Europe were made in the 1970s. In particular in the 1990s, links were extended to include growing numbers of institutions in North America, Eastern Europe, and the Far East. The newly established Center for International Cooperation (CIC) concentrates on identifying new strategic partners for international projects.

Today, Freie Universität has 130 partnerships worldwide, and every year some 600 visiting scientists contribute to the university teaching and research. For the grant programs in Germany, Freie Universität is one of the first choices both for the Erasmus and Tempus as well as for the Fulbright program and the international programs of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). An International Summer University has been set up for foreign students offering internationally accepted credits.

Foreign Branch Offices

Freie Universität Berlin operates foreign branch offices in New York, Brussel, Moscow, Peking, Cairo and New Delhi. The foreign branch offices work to expand upon cooperation partnerships already existing with universities in the country.

In April 2005 Freie Universität Berlin, in conjunction with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), opened a joint representative office in New York. This German University Alliance, located in German House, the seat of the German Consulate General and the German UN Mission, represents the interests of the two universities in the U.S. and Canada and works to increase the exchange of students and scientists.

In addition, Freie Universität Berlin, as the first German institution of higher education, founded an alumni- and fundraising organization, the Friends of Freie Universität Berlin (FFUB) in New York. Since 2003 this alumni- and fundraising organization has maintained close contact to alumni and scientists of Freie Universität in the U.S. and attempts to gain alumni and friends as sponsors, to strenthen the long-lasting trans-Atlantic relations. Some of the proceeds from these fundraising activities were contributed to the renovation of the Henry Ford Building.

With additional branch offices in Moscow (since 2004), Peking, and New Delhi (opened in February 2008), operated in cooperation with strong partners, large research institutions, or universities, Freie Universität Berlin is strategically extending its radius of action as an international network university.

In April 2006 Peking University opened its first branch in Germany, the Confucius-Institute at Freie Universität. Its objectives include the promotion of knowledge of Chinese culture, the cultivation of Chinese-German cooperation, and the spread of Chinese languages.

Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, has a Berlin Programm (Duke in Berlin), that is held in cooperation with Freie Universität and Humboldt Universität.

The University of California System organizes programs for American students in Berlin and Potsdam. At Freie Universität the UC Sytem maintains an office to attend to the needs of the exchange students from California.

Columbia University in New York through its Office of Global Programs in Berlin offers a so-called Berlin Consortium for German Studies. Students from Columbia University and the other universities included in the consortium (University of Chicago, Cornell University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University) can attend classes at Freie Universität for one or two semesters as external students. This temporary enrollment is preceded by a six-week language course.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize Winners

The DFG awards every year since 1985 outstanding German scientists with the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. This highest German research prize consists of a research grant of 2.5 million euro, to be used within seven years. So far there are 15 prize winners at the Free University Berlin:

Notable people

External links

See also

Coordinates: 52°27′11″N 13°17′26″E / 52.45306°N 13.29056°E / 52.45306; 13.29056

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address