The History of the Leuphana University of Lüneburg

A young, dynamic university with an eventful history

What would have happened if the founding permission of Emperor Frederick III (1471) and Pope Sixtus IV (1479) had been put into practice? Presumably, Lüneburg would have been home to a centuries-old university rich in tradition. But things turned out differently: Leuphana University Lüneburg is still a young university with a history of just over 70 years. Through its foundation and development after the Second World War, gradual transformation into an independent university and foundation, merger and comprehensive reorientation as a model university, it can nevertheless look back on a dynamic history.

1471/1479: Emperor Friedrich III initially grants permission to establish a high school of law in Lüneburg. Pope Sixtus IV later approves the establishment of a university in Lüneburg with all upper faculties and a general study programme.

1946: Foundation of a College of Education (PH) in Lüneburg on the initiative of the British. The university was to contribute to the establishment of a new democratic tradition in Germany by training teachers.

1970s: The PH Lüneburg becomes - after first years as a department of the Pedagogical University of Lower Saxony - in 1978 an independent scientific university with the right to award doctorates and postdoctoral degrees.

1980s: In the eighties, the range of subjects is expanded to include economics, social and cultural sciences. In 1989 the former University of Applied Sciences Lüneburg becomes a university by resolution of the Lower Saxony state parliament.

1990s: In the nineties the range of subjects is extended to include environmental sciences. In 1997, as part of a conversion project that received nationwide attention, the university moves from its previous location in the Red Field to the former Scharnhorst Barracks of the German Armed Forces, today's central campus.

2003: As one of the five first universities in Germany, the University of Lüneburg is converted into a foundation under public law. It thus gains extended opportunities for independent action, including an independent right of appeal, independent building owner status and independent job and financial planning.

2005: By law of the Lower Saxony state parliament, the University of Lüneburg merges with the University of Applied Sciences North-East Lower Saxony and is commissioned to develop a model university for the Bologna Process. On the one hand, this leads to an expansion of the range of subjects covered by the respective predecessor institutions: From the point of view of the former university, the focus is on engineering sciences, business law and business psychology; from the point of view of the former university of applied sciences, it is on teacher training, cultural sciences, economic and social sciences and environmental sciences. On the other hand, the merger also leads to cutbacks, especially in business administration and social education, due to overlapping disciplines. The new university will initially be organised into three faculties (Faculty I: Education and Cultural Studies, Faculty II: Business, Economics and Social Sciences, Faculty III: Environmental, Natural and Technical Sciences) and four locations (Campus Scharnhorststraße, Campus Rotes Feld, Campus Volgershall, Campus Suderburg)

2006: The University of Lüneburg begins a comprehensive reorientation in implementation of the state mandate to develop a model university. It develops a university model that is still unique in Germany, with a college for Bachelor's studies, a graduate school for Master's and doctoral studies, and a professional school for continuing education and lifelong learning.

2007: As a result of its reorientation, the university gives itself a new name as Leuphana University Lüneburg and implements its new study and university model. The Leuphana College for Bachelor students starts operations with a new study model and initially 10 major and 27 minor courses of study as well as 3 courses of study with teacher training option and 12 teaching subjects. The Leuphana Professional School for continuing education students is launched with an initial 7 master's degree programs. The Leuphana Graduate School for master and doctoral students follows one year later with initially 8 master courses.

2009: With the Innovation Incubator Lüneburg, Leuphana starts a major EU project with a volume of around 98 million EUR as a contribution to the development of the Lüneburg region. Among other things, international competence tandems for the development of new research priorities, joint projects for the promotion of cooperation in practice, company start-ups and settlements as well as new further education courses and study programmes strengthen the region's knowledge base. Also in 2009, the Suderburg campus will start offering engineering courses in the field of soil engineering and hydraulic engineering

2010: The university reorganizes its faculties once again and founds the four faculties of education, culture, sustainability and economics that exist today.

2017: The new central building of Leuphana, designed by Daniel Libeskind, is opened.