Christian Albrecht University of Kiel

Christian Albrecht University of Kiel (CAU). German public university, founded in 1665 as Academia Holsatorum Chielonensis by Cristián Alberto, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. With a university campus in the city of Kiel, in Schleswig-Holstein.


The University of Kiel has an eventful history spanning more than 350 years. It was founded on October 5, 1665 by Cristián Alberto, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, with the name Christiana Albertina. Due firstly, to the dramatic increase in demand for well-educated priests as a result of the Reformation, and secondly, the admission of increasing numbers of well-educated commoners into the administration as civil servants responsible for important duties.

At first the duke assumed the position of rector, donating the university insignia, the vice-chancellor’s scepter and mantle, and the university seal. Because the university was founded only a few years after the Thirty Years’ War, there was a great desire to live in peace, so the motto was “Pax optima rerum” which originally comes from the work “Caji Silii Italici Punica by the Italian poet Tiberius Catius Asconius Silius Italicus. The university seal also shows a female figure holding a palm branch and cornucopia filled with corn, symbolizing peace.

Kiel University was an independent legal domain within the city and also within the duchy. Within the city, the university exercised its own jurisdiction over its professors and students, who were not required to pay taxes or fees. Within the duchy, the university was represented as an “estate” in the regional parliament, and was thus given the same status as the city’s aristocratic monasteries, nobility, and commoners.

For the next hundred years, the university went through a convulsive and aimless stage, due to the sometimes warlike conflicts between the Dukes of Gottorf and the Kings of Denmark, and the constant shortage of money, left the institution in a state of despair. decline. Only during the reign of Russian Tsarina Katharine did the university gain new life. His steward in the dukedoms, Caspar von Saldern, devoted great attention to the university. It was reformed internally and its external presence was reinforced with the construction of a new building as a focal point. The plans were drawn up by Ernst Georg Sonnin. From then on, future officials of the dukedoms were forced to study in Kiel for at least two years, which ensured that places at the university were always filled. The glory and prestige of the University of Kiel persisted even after the unification of the duchies in 1773. He was a major influence in many subject areas, for example medicine and midwifery, but also the humanities with professors such as von Treitschke, Dahlmann and Waitz. It was also a cultural center for the dukedoms and kingdoms of Denmark and Norway]]. Important political movements and ideas originated at the university, particularly on the question of nationality around 1848.

When Prussia annexed the duchies, circumstances in Kiel changed rapidly. The status of the university was adjusted to that of the other Prussian universities. On April 28, 1867, the tax exemption for university professors was invalidated. On June 26, the abolition of the private jurisdiction of the university and on September 17 of the same year, the abolition of the biennium rule.

The number of students increased considerably from the 1870s. The old buildings on Kattenstraße were no longer suitable. So the Prussian government had no choice but to commission a new building, which was designed by the Berlin architects Gropius and Schmieden. The main university building was at the end of the Schlossgarten. Next to it, the new University Library and the Zoological Museum were built. In the period before World War II, numerous additional buildings were built, in particular for the Natural Sciences and Medicine.

The upheavals of the 20th century in Germany had a great impact on the University of Kiel, like all German universities. During the period of the Weimar Republic, it changed from an imperial university to an educational institution governed by strict National Socialist principles. Its Jewish members were brutally expelled at an early stage, a move that severely affected the quality of teaching and research.

With the arrival of the Second World War, the University almost disappeared. Most of the university buildings were in the center of the city and were devastated by Allied air raids. Especially The University Library which took a direct hit from a firebomb in 1942, losing most of its collection. The main new and old buildings were destroyed, along with most of the clinics and apartments. So in 1945 the university authorities made the decision to move the university to Schleswig.. And thanks to the efforts of Kiel geologist Karl Gripp and a group of brave university doctors new facilities were found in Kiel. Gripp managed to persuade the British to make the ELAC building, a former munitions factory in Westring, available to the university. Here, and on ships in the Kiel Firth.

University enrollment resumed on November 17, 1945 after the [[World War II, having in constant expansion. Reestablishing itself as a university campus on the western side of Kiel. After various alterations, new buildings were erected at Westring in the 1960s : the University Library in 1962, the University Church in 1965 and the new Auditorium in 1969.

At the end of the sixties they also left their mark on the CAU. For a time, strikes, occupations and protests were the order of the day. As a consequence, the old university structure was modernized and all the old traditions were cut back. Since the early 1970s, CAU has been a university for students from all walks of life. The university saw an expansion in all subject areas.

While there were originally four faculties, there are now eight. In 1972 the university moved to the first buildings on Olshausenstraße. Sports fields were added to the campus and the Faculty of Engineering building was built in the Gaarden district of Kiel. In 2001, a new university library was opened on Leibnizstraße. During its almost 350 years of existence, the Christian-Albrechts-Universität in Kiel has given impetus and set new standards in many fields. That is clear from his list of Nobel Prize winners. As is the case with: Philipp Lenard, Max Planck and Otto Diels. Throughout its history, CAU has developed from a regional training academy to an internationally recognized university.


The University of Kiel is home to 25,000 students, the institution offers 185 programs covering nearly 80 subject areas including Nutrition and Consumer Economics, Financial Mathematics, Geography, Geophysics, Earth Sciences, Hospital Management, Life Sciences, Computing, Material Sciences, Molecular Biology, Socioeconomics, Sports Science and Psychology.


  • Faculty of Theology
  • Faculty of Law
  • Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences
  • School of Medicine
  • Faculty of Arts and Humanities
  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
  • Faculty of Agricultural Science and Nutrition
  • Faculty of Engineering

Christian Albrecht University of Kiel