Past Years

A brief overview

Opening Week 2019

In 2019 focused on the impact of a globalized world:

What does sharing mean to you? Do we win or lose by sharing? We invited our first semester students to take a close look at this year’s topic, to follow personal interests and to develop own ideas and projects. #SharedPlanet: How do we share power, freedom and resources? #SharedData: How and with whom do we share our emotions, our life experience and decisions? Who controls Big Data? #SharedNarratives: In how far do our ideas of sharing influence our values and memories, our thinking and utopias?  

Opening Week 2018

In 2018 the Leuphana Semester focused on the ambivalence of progress. Digital transformation, culture of memory and sustainable development were major topics. 

Just as the Hashtag in social media allow to mark and find certain messages, topics, persons or events, the Hashtags #me, #us and #it marked three different but compatible perspectives of the Opening Week.

Opening Week 2017

In 2017, 1 500 first semester students worked on entrepreneurial projects concerning different perspectives of Europe. Interacting with representatives of Leuphana's faculties, external experts and guests like Norbert Lammert or Gregor Gysi, the students discussed and reflect the future of the EU. 

Opening Week 2016

The Opening Week 2016 explored aspects of diversity: How can we respect diversity within a pluralist society? What are the limits of tolerance with regard to social diversity? How can each individual work for social diversity in practice?


Students researched the challenges of this issue using selected examples, before working on possible responses in specific projects. The project groups were asked to design social, cultural, economic or sustainable initiatives, campaigns or social businesses with a social impact.

Opening Week 2015

In 2015, the topic of the Orientation Week was "Engage! - Societal Commitment & Social Entrepreneurship". The students created an own fictional crowdfunding website and an advertising video for their project. 

Earlier Years

Orientation Week 2014

In 2014 the topic was demographic change. The students imagined a society in 2099 and dealt with the following questions: What has to be done to guarantee everyone a vital and independent life when they reach high age? What are the industries of the future and how can innovative ideas be created for them?

Opening Week 2013

In 2013 the new Students explored urban development. A child born today has an average life expectancy of 104 years. This is changing society in general and life in the city. Students were asked to address their responsibility for helping to shape tomorrow's society. To meet this challenge, they were given the most important data right at the start of the week by fictitious citizens of the town of Leinwig.

Opening Week 2012

In 2012 the Leuphana organised a start-up competition as part of its Opening Week – a European first. 120 teams of students developed innovative start-up ideas and detailed concepts, and had their work assessed by an expert jury. The start-up projects were to be self-sustaining in the long term and offer answers to questions of social and economic relevance.

Opening Week 2011

The 2011 Opening Week was all about health, a fundamental question in a changing German society. In a wide-ranging simulation game, around 1800 first-semester students negotiated a new, affordable and fair health system for the Federal Republic of Germany. They took on the roles of 40 leading players in the German healthcare system and, within four days and over several rounds of negotiation, established a national consensus on a workable model to be implemented from 2012 onwards.

Opening Week 2010

The Opening Week 2010 was all about "Frei-Raum" – space and freedom. Students were to work in teams on the possible redesign of actual open spaces on campus, a task that demanded great inventiveness and creativity. Project work was based on an architectural competition for the redesign of space on the Leuphana campus. In May, the University had invited landscape architects from around the world to take part in the competition for the redesign of the central campus. Sixty firms from six different countries submitted their ideas.

Opening Week 2009

The Opening Week 2009 was all about art and communication. A unique art event called for quick thinking and creativity: around 35 internationally renowned street artists were invited to "take over" Lüneburg with their artworks. They worked with a wide range of media including traditional murals, graffiti writing, cut outs, installations, sculpture and performance. These artists who transformed Lüneburg in the first week of October were among the leading or up-and-coming professionals in their genre and in their generation; trendsetters for the future of artistic aesthetics. 

Opening Week 2008

The focus of the 2008 Opening Week was the case study "The Labour Market and Structural Change", in which students developed solutions and strategies for rescuing the fictitious town of Leinwig from economic misery. Students examined Leinwig's current economic and social situation and analysed the labour market in an effort to revitalise both the town's economy and the quality of living. On this basis, they then developed new approaches designed to make the town a more attractive business location for existing companies and potential new arrivals, and to offer exciting leisure opportunities and amenities for local inhabitants.

Opening Week 2007

In 2007 the students were asked to develop concepts for saving the theatre in the fictitious town of Leinwig from impending closure. The student project teams had five days to develop ideas for a sustainable vision for the future. What role does theatre play in the town? What might a viable financing concept look like? How can an attractive programme be developed?