On This Day In History: Heidelberg University Established – On Oct 19, 1386

On October 19, 1386, Heidelberg University was established in 1386 and is Germany’s oldest university.

The university was established on instruction of Pope Urban VI and became one of the strongest research universities in all of Europe.

One of the world’s oldest surviving universities, Heidelberg University was the third university established in the Holy Roman Empire.

In the centuries since its founding, Heidelberg University has experienced many ups and downs in connection with its scientific reputation, its intellectual charisma, and its attractiveness to professors and students.

During the 19th century, Heidelberg was widely celebrated for its high level of research and its openness to new ideas.

The prominent learning center attracted a large number of foreign students. Then, its period of prospering ended with the outbreak of war in 1914. The two world wars in the first half of the 20th century had a very negative effect on Heidelberg University.

In the mid-1960s, Heidelberg, like so many other universities, degenerated into an overcrowded degree factory. Between 1950 and 1960, Heidelberg’s student population doubled; it tripled again between 1961 and 2010, leading to extreme overcrowding and overloading.

Despite this, and despite concurrent financial problems, Heidelberg recovered its footing and its extraordinary reputation. It has even improved on that reputation, once again becoming very attractive to international academics and students alike.


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