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  • Students in academic dress laying the cornerstone for the university.


    Laying of the first stone at "Blockland".

  • Two cows in a field, next to a sign that reads "University of Bremen".


    Before the university was build, there was just a meadow in the north of the city.

  • A crowded room at a meeting of the inaugural academic senate of the university.


    The founding Senate.

  • Three men go swimming in a lake on campus.


    The reaction to a news article by "stern" magazine: (from left) President Hans-Josef Steinberg, Vice President Gerhard Stuby, Director of Finance and Administration Hans Heinrich Maaß (in the back), Service Provider Günter Schattauer, Student Helmut Zachau and Vice President Stefan von Aufschnaiter in the Mensa Lake.

  • A view of the drop tower's construction site.


    Construction of the Drop Tower at the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) at the University of Bremen.

  • The audience applauds the winner.


    Annelie Keil receives the first Berninghausen Award for good teaching.

  • A group of people standing in front of an enormous stack of drill cores.


    Inauguration of the core shed in the department of geosciences. Today it is the biggest of three core sheds of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). It is run by the MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences at the University of Bremen.

  • Tramway tracks are being laid outside the university's entrance hall.


    The University of Bremen was connected to the city's tram network in 1996.

  • Four people signing documents at a table.


    The Graduate School of Social Sciences (GSSS) was founded in 2002. Together with the Jacobs University, it became the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS) in 2007 and is founded by the Excellence Initiative.

  • A view of campus park and the MZH building.


    The new campus park and the extended "Mehrzweckhochhaus" (MZH) were opened in 2010.

  • Reporters watch the cheering university officials.


    The University of Bremen wins the Excellence Initaitve with its concept “Ambitious and Agile: Institutional Strategy for a prominent mid-sized university”. Additionally, the Excellence Cluster “The Ocean in the Earth System – MARUM" and the Graduate School "Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences" (BIGSSS) receive funding through the Excellence Initaitve.

  • 2013

    The first OPEN CAMPUS invites people from Bremen and beyond to the campus. The event takes place every other year.

The History of the University of Bremen

Founded in times of social reform

The University of Bremen is a young university. It was founded in 1971 for the purpose of teacher training. What was to become known as the “Bremen Model“ was conceived in times of social reform. Its core elements apply to this day and it was these basic principles which first made the subsequent research success possible: Interdisciplinary orientation, research-based learning in teaching projects, orientation to the practice and social commitment. Some new guiding principles have been added since: Internationalization of teaching and research, equal gender opportunity, and environmental responsibility.

Consolidation in the 80s – travelling along the road to success

Following the founding of the University ― as an “academic complex” on the outskirts of the town ― and a number of reforms at the beginning, a period of consolidation set in through the nineteen eighties. The University of Bremen grew in size. New faculties for natural science and engineering were established, the University started a cooperation with the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research in Bremerhaven, and the Technology Park was created (1988).

The University of Bremen also began to score its first successes with the establishment of Collaborative Research Centers (in 1988 the University was accepted into the German Research Society - DFG) and the acquisition of substantial external funding. Steadily improving research rankings, growing national and international recognition and a large number of endowment professorships were the visible fruits of this success.

The University advanced this success further by establishing a set of new guiding principles. Among other things, the University concentrated efforts on the promotion of young research talent and implemented personnel development programs for its young researchers, many of whom were awarded professorships in the wake of the generation change that was taking place.

In addition to all this, teaching and studies at the University of Bremen underwent considerable change: A new admission policy, for instance, with program-specific enrolment requirements, and the swift transition of study programs to Bachelor and Master Degrees. The reward for this commitment came with the title “City of Science 2005”, awarded to Bremen and Bremerhaven as result of joint efforts on the part of science, politics, culture, and the enterprise sector.

Today, some 25,000 people study, teach, research and work at the University of Bremen. It has become the center of science and research in the North West of Germany, particularly renowned for its strengths in the natural and engineering sciences as well as the social sciences and the humanities. The work carried out by its excellent researchers, many of whom of world renown, provides an important stimulus to societal development.

As the outstandingly favorable outcome of its showing in the underscores, the University is not content to bathe in past success and simply rest on its laurels. As a “learning organization“, it is constantly adapting the role it intends to play in the present and future research and academic landscape.

More Information about the History of the University of Bremen

For an overview of the University’s history visit the central archives. You can also read more about the history and development of the University of Bremen in the magazine (in German) which appeared in 2006 on the occasion of the University’s 35th anniversary.

[Translate to English:] Der Trailer des Uni-Films "Von Marx zu Darwin" (produziert von Michael Wolff, "fact+film")

Books and Film

In October 2011, to mark the occasion of the 40th anniversary the Temmen-Verlag published the book “Universität Bremen – 40 Jahre Bewegung” (University of Bremen – 40 Years of Ongoing Change). The journalist and alumni of the University of Bremen, Peter Meier-Hüsing looks back over the past four decades: not sparing with his criticism, he also writes with empathy and humor.

Another book on the University of Bremen was published by the Donat-Verlag. In the volume “Tradition Reform” [Reform as Tradition], Dr. Birte Gräfing describes the highly debated initiation.

“From Marx to Darwin – University of Bremen – a Timetravel”: this is the name of the documentary film on the University’s history which the alumnus Michael Wolff produced with his Bremer Medienproduktions GmbH “fact+film”. The world premier of this fascinating film was in November 2011 at the Bremer Schauburg. The video is available via the Press Office.