University of Bonn

University of Bonn (antique engraving)

Laura Maniscalco, archaeologist, among his interests he cultivates reading biographies of historical figures of the nineteenth century. Following a recent visit to the 'University of Bonn It was struck by a small exhibition of photos concerning the members of the club University Borussia typical white cap. After a brief search he thought briefly how it was that the universities in the nineteenth century became known as the 'University of Principles.




Luigi Pirandello

Luigi Pirandello, one of the distinguished students of the University of Bonn

The name Prussia usually brings to mind concepts such as discipline and militaristic rigidity obtuse rather than scientific and cultural development, yet it was a Prussian king to found the early nineteenth century that soon would become a great center of research and culture that would have counted among students and professors, people like Nietzsche e Marx, different Nobel prizes, among which Luigi Pirandello it's a papa (Josef Ratzinger): we speak of 'University of Bonn.

Congress of Vienna

The Congress of Vienna

It all begins with Congress of Vienna, When, among other decisions, it is determined that the territories of the Rhine, a series of small ecclesiastical electorates that were incorporated in the Empire Napoleonic, pass to Prussia.

I Prussiani, denying full fame above, just get the territories shall establish a University in Bonn.

The city was chosen because it already has a building no longer in use: the residence of the voter bishop and because the city was already home to a prestigious institution of culture: the Academy founded in 1777 Archbishop Elector of Cologne Maximilian Friedrich von Koenigsegg-Rothenfels.

This Academy was known for his Enlightenment principles no unwelcome, despite what we may think, educational ideals Prussian, and had received the 1786 Emperor Joseph II the right to grant the license degree and recognized throughout the Holy Roman Empire Ph.D..

Besides, he had already had a famous student: The native of Bonn Ludwig van Beethoven, pupil of Archbishop.

After a few years the Academy was then suppressed by the French occupation of the Rhineland.

The King of Prussia Frederick William III the 18 October 1818 therefore based in Bonn l 'University of Reno, the sixth university to be established in Prussia.

As the area's population is largely Catholic, from the start are set up in both the Protestant canon law professor than that of Catholic canon law, thus meeting the needs of all.

Within a few decades the University became a popular venue for his teachings and the favorite place for the education of children of many German ruling houses so much to be known as Prince University.

The first scions of ruling families who attend the University of Bonn are the two sons of Duke of SaxonyCoburg-Gotha: Ernesto and Alberto.

For the two young men it is not expected to achieve a qualification, their stay at the University of Bonn is rather an important stage of an educational path that had seen before a trip to London, then one in Paris and finally a ten months to Brussels during which their education was continued under the watchful eye of King Leopold, uncle of two young, he had hired for them the best guardians.

A culmination of these experiences, the two brothers are thus inscribed at the University of Bonn where they will stay a year and a half from 1837 al 1838.

The decision to enroll two young University, which is quite unprecedented for the times, It is suggested by King Leopold who had shown great interest in the future of the two grandchildren and convinces the father of the two, reluctant, promising that young people would be enrolled as a noble and that he would pay half of the line.

If we consider what had traditionally been the typical education of the offspring of the European ruling dynasties, we can appreciate how big was this change.

Until then education for the heirs of European families had been purely military, and if some academic teaching had to be given this task had been entrusted exclusively to the guardians: the idea that a member of a ruling house might mingle with other young people with no respect for the rank distinctions imposed was unthinkable.

The choice of precisely than other Bonn University was suggested by Stockmar, the trusted adviser of King Leopold, character that will have a big say in Alberto's life.

Ernesto and Alberto follow in Bonn of the Faculty of Law courses is deepening topics that could be useful in their future careers: constitutional right, public finance, economy studying subjects like philosophy and science.

Prince Albert

Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria

I due, arriving shortly after departure from that of Karl Marx University student, go first to visit in Ernst Moritz Arndt one of the main proponents of the unity of Germany, old teacher now retired but still prominent personalities from the cultural city.

The two brothers also follow the literature lessons August Wilhelm Schlegel one of the fathers of the Romantic thought.

Considering the temperament of the two, we can think with a certain degree of probability that the two Alberto will state what proceeds will benefit more from this experience, even if it is in the biography of Ernst found these indications.

Cousin Victory, heir to the British crown, He writes to Leopoldo uncle who feel the lack of the two brothers who had met during their stay in London.

She and Alberto, that was already in the running as a potential future queen consort, exchanged several letters and when the 1838 Victory happens to his uncle William IV, Alberto writes wishing her a long and glorious reign, and hoping she concludes, Now Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, remember occasionally the two cousins ​​studying in Bonn.

At the conclusion of their studies the lives of two brothers for the first time following different paths: Ernst, who was the heir of the duchy, It goes to the court of Dresden to receive the necessary military training, Alberto instead, for which he had already given the possibility of a marriage with the young queen, traveling for six months in Italy accompanied by Stockmar, then travel to London and finally get the marriage proposal by Vittoria.

The many interests of Prince Albert then bring the UK to the establishment of museums and cultural institutions, and certainly the past two years in Bonn have had their weight in the development of these interests in the young.

Given the successful experience of Alberto and Ernesto ruling families of Germany begin to send their offspring to Bonn.

In the following decades in the University they come together quite a number of these young heirs.

Frederick di Prussia, say Fritz, future according to kaiser German, at eighteen he enrolled at Bonn university founded by his grandfather and remains two years.

And 'mother, Augusta of Saxe Weimar to insist that his son go to the University, a first for an heir to the throne of Prussia.

Fritz studied history, law, public administration and government this matter with professor Dahlmann, an exponent of liberal thought who believed strongly in a representative and constitutional monarchy and for this reason had also been in prison when he lived in Hanover.

My time in Bonn is crucial for development in the young Fritz of liberal ideas that characterized him throughout his life and that were quite different from the environment of the Berlin court.

The young student writes in an essay of the importance for him to spend time off the court together with other young peers of which is able to read the soul hopes for the future.

During this period, Fritz and his parents are invited by Victoria and Albert to visit the opening of the Great Exhibition in London and on that occasion the young nineteen year meets for the first time his future wife, who has not yet eleven years.

It ''s possible that Albert and Fritz have also spoken of their common experience and Bonn and common knowledge and this too has contributed to present the young man as a worthy daughter's husband.

Companion of Frederick studies in Bonn Christian in Schleswig-Holstein who attends the University at the end of the First War of Schleswig who sees the defeat of his family then forced to abandon their possessions and any hope of government in the region.

A few years later married Christian Helena the third daughter of Albert and Victoria.

Maria Luisa, daughter of Christian and Helena mentions in his autobiography university years when he along with his father Franz future Duke of Anhalt (and future father of the same Maria Luisa), George Victor in Waldeck e Nassau Nicola They spent their youth at the University devoted to drinking and courting the ladies of the city.


August Wilhelm Schlegel

Maria Luisa include in this group of young dissolute also Franz Joseph, future emperor of Austria but I have not found anywhere else no mention of the fact that our "Cecco Peppe" he studied in his youth in Bonn.

Something makes me think of all this group alone has taken some profit from the studies was Frederick of Prussia whose seriousness shared by Alberto will certainly have contributed to its choice as the consort of the beloved firstborn daughter.

Even the eldest son of Fritz and Vicky, Willhelm future third and final kaiser German, It will be a student at the University of Bonn.

Following the one who had since become a family tradition in the young Wilhelm 1877 at eighteen he enrolled at the prestigious university, where he studied for two years not only the usual legal courses, economics and politics but also physical, chemistry, philosophy, art history.

In some letters Vicky complains that her son does not seem to derive much benefit from the studies as taken from various entertainment and recommends to the young not to drink and smoke too much pubs.

Indeed Wilhelm in Bonn had joined the Borussia an exclusive club student and attended to their various activities such as evenings in breweries and fencing matches.

During the two years Wilhelm weekends often went to find Aunt Alice in Darmstadt where the young man is attracted by the beautiful Elizabeth's cousin called Ella and falls in love.

Willhelm woos young sending several poems of love for his creation but they are not particularly appreciated by the recipient who then rejects the proposal for a cousin's wedding.

As is known the beautiful Ella then marry a Russian grand duke and will tragically killed during the revolution.

If the Wilhelm literary qualities were perhaps not very high but there is to be assumed that its cultural and scientific interests were much deeper than she thought her mother Vicky.

As an adult the kaiser He was known for his great culture and his vast intellectual curiosity and desire to learn about features often unrecognized by history influenced by the negative propaganda of the First World War.

Certainly the past two years in Bonn had a great influence on the future that the kaiser 1901 during a speech to some students to Beethoven hall in Bonn remembers with much regret the past youth days at the University.

The proof of the great attachment to the institution of Wilhelm is that all six of her children were sent to Bonn to study and all enlisted in the Borussia.

In the second half of the nineteenth century now the University of Bonn is the place where to send future rulers of the dynasties that even in a unified Germany continue to maintain their autonomy and their prestige.

The long list of students includes, among the many, Charles Edward last Grand Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Frederick, ultimate future Grand Duke of Baden, Frederich Francis ultimate future Grand Duke of Schwerin Meklenburg.

All of them were also members of Borussia.

University of Bonn

University of Bonn (antique engraving)

You may be wondering what kind of study was scheduled for the daughters of the reigning families of Germany and other European nations.

For most of them still until the first decades of the twentieth century it was unthinkable a stay at a university but their education continued to be through guardians.

Despite strong criticism brought by Vicky to poor culture of German women, due to very high standards princess were those of his father Alberto, in reality the education received by the daughters of the royal family or the aristocracy in Germany was not so different from the rest of Europe.

It was expected to be a princess knowledge of different languages, design, music and song but also so much of the literature, history and geography to be able to sustain a high conversation without embarrassment.

The University of Bonn in 1896 had allowed to attend classes women as his listeners and 1908 as students with full rights.

Coincidence has it that after an encounter with a student at the University of Bonn Hohenzollern seems to stop attending quell'ateneo.

In 1926 Wilhelm, son of the crown prince and grandson of the Kaiser, third in line of succession to a throne that no longer exists but that still it was hoped to restore, as a student of the University of Bonn in love with a fellow student: is Dorothea von Salviati daughter exponent Gentry.

Despite the opposition of his father and grandfather, the two young men after a few years get married following the revocation by Wilhelm to the right of succession: After this episode there is no record of successive frequencies of young Hohenzollern at the University of Bonn (Article written and posted by Laura Maniscalco) (Photo gives:,,,,,,).