Welcome to the Heart of Europe!
A university on the river
– driven like a river’s current. The
word river has a very special meaning for Viadrina. Firstly, this is
due to the river on the banks of which the university lies. Just like
neighboring Poland, the river is in our immediate area. This, in turn,
has helped developed a close German-Polish connection; because of this,
Viadrina is transforming itself into a German-Polish, European
The European University was Brandenburg's first university. For more than three hundred years, from 1506 to 1811, Frankfurt (Oder) was the home of the first public university of the prinicipality of Brandenburg. Key figures in the creation of this first university were Prince Elector Joachim I as well as his councillor Eitelwolf vom Stein and the Bishop of Lebus Dietrich von Bülow. The Alma Mater Viadrina enjoyed great repute as an institution of learning for persons who later played an important part in shaping and staffing the civil service of this principality as well as the Prussian state. Jurists served as diplomats in affairs of state, theologians of Viadrina were among those who held positions in the upper echelons of the church in the region of Mark Brandenburg, and Frankfurt professors of medicine acted as personal physicians to the Elector Princes. The matriculation rolls of the old Viadrina include the well-known names of Ulrich von Hutten, the composer Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the theologian Thomas Müntzer, the poet and dramatist Heinrich von Kleist, a native son of Frankfurt (Oder), and the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt.
Frankfurt (Oder) was the backbone as well as a center of focus and influence for a variety of forms and manifestations of the entire Age of Enlightenment in all its stages. In its heyday, Viadrina represented a seat of humanism and enlightenment, an avantgarde university located at the outermost border to the East, an eastern outpost of progressive teachings. After the Prussian state had opened its own major university in Berlin in the year 1810, which bears the name of the Humboldt brothers today, the old Viadrina was obliged to close its doors the following year, after more than three hundred years of pioneering scholarship and education at the intersection of Western and Eastern Europe. Some professors of Viadrina later taught at the university in Berlin. Most of the library and some of the faculty moved to the Silesian capital of Breslau (today Wroclaw), where they formed the nucleus of what, together with the existing Leopoldina College, then became the University of Breslau.
Since its reestablishment in the year 1991, Viadrina has strictly adhered to its concept of bringing young people together from every corner of the world. This concept has proven to be successful: Viadrina has grown to become a lively, highly regarded member in the community of German and European universities.
(c) Andrea Lederer (European University Viadrina)
You want to learn more about the European University Frankfurt (Oder), please visit the website of the university