The University was founded in 1472 in Ingolstad, and has moved cities twice since then. Today, LMU Munich has matured into one of the world’s leading international universities. The university in Ingolstadt began with four faculties: the Faculty of Arts, the completion of which qualified a student for the other three faculties: medicine, jurisprudence, or theology.
Well-known figures such as Peter and Philipp Apian, Konrad Celtis, and Johannes Aventin made their mark on the University during the German humanist era. As foes of Martin Luther, they played a major role in the Reformation. Chief among them was Johannes Eck, who taught theology, and earned a name as Luther’s arch-opponent in disputation.
Through the 18th century, the spirit of the Enlightenment spread ever more rapidly at the University. In the philosophical and medical faculties, the empirical sciences made great strides as new laboratories and institutes were founded. Theology placed a stronger emphasis on pastoral theology in connection with a call to intensify personal spiritual counseling, and law was redesigned with “modern” course plans.
In 1800, the university was relocated to Landshut by Prince Elector Max IV Joseph of Bavaria (King Maximilian I after 1806) and since 1802 has borne the name Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in his honour and that of Ludwig the Wealthy. Relocation was seized as an opportunity to renew the conservative, Jesuit-influenced teaching staff.
The University was moved to Munich in 1826 by orders of the new King Ludwig I. In 1840, it took up residence in today’s main building, designed by architect Friedrich von Gärtner. The latter half of the 19th th century was notable for the work of high-calibre scholars in all faculties, along with the on-going expansion of seminars, institutes, and medical facilities.
In 1900, the two Scottish scientists, Maria Ogilvie-Gordon and Agnes Kelly, were the first women to receive doctorates from the LMU. Three years later, Bavaria was the second state in Germany (after Baden in 1900) that allowed the full admission of women to university studies. In 1905/6 5,147 students were enrolled at LMU including 53 were women – by 1918/19, the number was up to 1,191 out of 8,625 enrolled.
The post-World War I years were known for prominent, internationally recognized scholars. Sociologist Max Weber, who died in 1920, the cardiopulmonary surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch, and the art historian Heinrich Wölfflin numbered among the most influential. The National Socialist dictatorship and the war meant a great watershed for LMU Munich as well: Jewish and politically unacceptable professors were fired, and students found their academic careers disrupted.
In 1943, members of the resistance group Weisse Rose (White Rose) risked an attempt to revive the national conscience and the voice of reason in Germany. The seven students and their teacher, all of whom were executed, are commemorated by Geschwister-Scholl-Platz in front of the main building, and the Professor-Huber-Platz in front of the Law Faculty building. In 1997, the memorial room Gedenkstätte Weisse Rose in the main building atrium was dedicated. LMU Munich honors their memory and recognizes their courageous commitment as a fundamental part of its duty to society to provide young people with a comprehensive education that encompasses a critical awareness of values and history.
If you would like to receive the monthly Europaeum bulletin, with information on our events, programmes and publications, sent directly to your email, please subscribe by emailing us. You can view past bulletins on this site.