Freiburg as a research location
Freiburg is a prime location for research in a number of different fields and has a long history of academia. The hub of the academic scene is Freiburg University which was set up by the Habsburgs in the 15th century, making it one Germany's oldest. Despite no longer being one of the eleven universities awarded the largest amount of funding by the German Universities Excellence Initiative, it got through the first two rounds and has also been successful in securing funding for the three separate categories of the competition. This means there is no shortage of funding to be had.
The university also provides a large number of opportunities for graduates and has set up the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, funded by the Excellence Initiative. This institute aims to promote high quality research, encourage interdisciplinary research and support young researchers. The university also coordinates five graduate schools including the Spermann Graduate School for Biology and Medicine, and the Hermann Paul School of Language Sciences and the Environment, as well as twelve graduate research centres.
The major research organisations also make a showing here. Freiburg is home to the Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Solid State Physics, High-Speed Dynamics, Mechanics of Material, Physical Measurement Techniques and Solar Energy Systems. You can also find the Max Planck Institutes for Immunobiology and Epigenetics, and for Foreign and International Criminal Law.
History of Freiburg
The city of Freiburg was founded in 1120 by the Duke of Zähringen who had the intention of setting up a free market town in the area. Hence the town's name which translates to something like ' free fortified town'. This gave the town a certain degree of autonomy. Owing to its fortunate location at the intersection of two trade routes it grew in influence and wealth. This new wealth made the building of the Freiburg Münster possible. It was at first planned as a Romanesque building but the design was gradually changed, meaning the finished outward appearance was distinctly Gothic.
Following the death of the final Duke of Zähringen, Freiburg began to go through some rocky times. The people of the town did not take to the new count who had raised taxes and restricted the freedoms that they previously enjoyed. This situation came to a head when the residents destroyed the count's castle resulting in a bloody battle. Following this, the citizens bought their freedom and became part of the Habsburg Empire. In this period of the town's history it became exceptionally wealthy and even coined its own currency. When the Reformation came about in the 16th century, Freiburg made the decision to remain Catholic in an otherwise Protestant area. This meant it saw more than its fair share of bloodshed during the Thirty Years' War as it repeatedly fell in and out of the control of numerous armies.
In more recent times, Freiburg felt the brunt of the Allied Bombing Raids and much of the city, but amazingly not the Münster, was destroyed. After the war the town found itself in the French controlled zone and was rebuilt according to its medieval plans.