The Uniseum, short for university museum, is probably one of the more overlooked landmarks in Freiburg. One can easily miss it in the sea of shops, cafes, and other popular and important buildings. It is located in the heart of Freiburg, several meters away from Bertoldsbrunnen. I immediately blocked off my early afternoon yesterday after receiving a random invitation last night to visit the uniseum. How could I refuse, I had nothing much to do this afternoon, and perhaps more importantly, it was a free guided tour.
Our small tour group of about ten met in front of the old town hall plaza about fifty meters away from the uniseum. This seemingly odd meeting place made sense when our guide told us that the old town hall used to be a university building.Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg is 551 years old, and is the second oldest university in Germany next to the one in Heidelberg. The modern interior design of the museum is a stark contrast to the subtle Romanesque traces on the facade of the building. From an initial 215 students and seven professors five-and-a-half centuries ago, the university presently enlightens about 20, 000 minds.A collection of artifacts (mummies!) and photos makes for a poignant trip down historical lane. Some parts of the basement are still intact; majority of the building (and Freiburg) was flattened out during the war. Despite the guided tour was conducted in German, I quite a few facts of my university. The university had the pioneering faculties of philosophy, natural scienes and mathematics, theology, medicine, and rights (a predecessor of today’s law school). The university’s influence and wealth was apparent with its ‘ownership’ of the grand Muenster. And it was only in 1899 when the university admitted its first women students.
As I made my way up from the cellar to the exit, I escaped out of my stupor from experiencing University of Freiburg’s rich history and tradition, the good and the forgettable, of Nobel prize winners and famous philosophers. There’s no telling if I will be a part of it.
Are you one of us?
Credits: Camera and most photos courtesy of Liang Xu.