Free University of Berlin (Freie Universitat Berlin)

University Information, Campus and History
(Berlin, Germany)

The Free University of Berlin is a public university located in West Berlin. It is the largest university in the area. It was founded in 1948 after Berlin was divided by a group of students and professors who left East Berlin's East Friedrich Wilhelm University (now known as Humboldt University) to escape the Soviet sector authorities in the search of academic freedom.

The university became the refuge of German student leftists like Rudi Dutschke and the SDS in 1968. It has had two restructuring procedures done in 1970 and in 1974 before becoming the largest German university in the 1980s with over 66,000 students. However, due to the restructuring of Humboldt University in the 1990s after Germany was reunited, the Free University of Berlin lost almost half its student population and was downsized to 38,000 students.

Today, the Free University of Berlin's main campus is located in Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough's Dahlem district and is presided by Prof. Dr. Dieter Lenzen. It upholds the motto, Truth, Justice, Freedom (Veritas, Justitia, Libertas). The university focuses on research in the social sciences and humanities. It has 415 professors, 1,200 teaching assistants, and 41,000 students from Germany and 140 other countries.

The university has several research networks focusing on the natural and social sciences. It has 12 Free University of Berlin Collaborative Research Centres, six DFG research units, and eight research training centres. These research centres have produced great scholars like philologist Peter Szondi, philosopher Jacob Taubes, and Supreme Court judge Jutta Limbach.

To educate and enrich the academic knowledge of its local and international students, the university offers facilities that cater to specialised fields. It has three interdisciplinary central institutes: the Institute for Latin American Studies, Institute for Eastern European Studies, and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies. It has eight central service institutions which consists of gardens, libraries, recreational centres, and research centres.


The university has three interdisciplinary central institutes that focus on Eastern European, Latin American, and North American Studies. It has eight central service institutions which are:
  • University Library
  • Botanical Garden Berlin and Botanical Museum Berlin
  • Computer Centre
  • Centre for Academic Advising, Career, and Counseling Services
  • Centre for Recreational Sports
  • Centre for the Promotion of Women's and Gender Studies
  • Centre for Continuing Studies
  • Language Centre

The university library is the main research area of the Free University of Berlin. It contains a vast collection of printed books, published journals, dissertations, archives, and microfilms that students, faculty, and staff can use for research. Students and staff outside the campus can still access the main library through its online version called the Old Subject Catalog (Image Catalog) and Online Catalog (OPAC). These catalogs have over 18,000 journals and 460 databases, and they can be accessed using a network-connected computer with a Javascript compatible Internet browser. Aside from the university library, each of the Free University of Berlin departments has its own smaller library with books, journals, and archives which are located in their respective buildings.

The university has various centres for recreation, research, and counselling. The Centre for Recreational Sports contains facilities for badminton, basketball, volleyball, and boxing. It offers various sports courses on less traditional sports and activities like capoiera, flamenco, jazz dance, pantomime, and in-line skating.

Various restaurants and dining areas are located around the university. Mensa I, Mensa II, and Ristorante Galileo all provide students with coffee, tea, and hot meals, and they are open from breakfast until dinner. The university's spacious dining areas can also be used for meetings, group discussions, and study groups.

The university Language Centre offers assistance to disabled students and international students who want to learn the native language. Students who have trouble adjusting to university life and international students who need support can go to the student counselling and academic advising centre, which is open daily. All students can visit the university health centre where dedicated doctors and physicians are on standby to offer medical advice.

The other facilities the university offers are day-care centres, a press office, Institute for Meteorology weather forecast, computing services, and the university administration publications. These facilities have its own office in the various buildings in the campus.

Famous Students

The Free University of Berlin has produced outstanding individuals in the fields of science and politics. Some of the university's noteworthy students are politicians Ernst Benda, Hanna Renate Laurien, and Jutta Limbach. Liebniz Prize winner and scientist Peter Schäfer was a Jewish Studies student in the university, as well as Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit who took up Japanese Studies. Its other famous students are Max Planck Prize winners Helga Haftendorn and Günter Schultz.

Interested international applicants may send in their queries to or call ++49 +30 838-1. Questions regarding admission and enrollment, as well as course offerings may be coursed through the Central University Administration at + 49 / 30 / 838-1 or email

Contact Free University of Berlin (Freie Universitat Berlin):
Address: Kaiserswerther Street 16-18, 14195, Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)30 838 700 00
Berlin University

Berlin University

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