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Campus Benjamin Franklin
Campus Virchow Klinikum, Cardiology Center
The four campuses in Berlin
The Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin is the medical school for both the Humboldt Universitymarker and the Free Universitymarker of Berlinmarker. After the merger with their fourth campus in 2003, the Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe.


Complying with an order of King Frederick I of Prussia from November 14, 1709, it was initially established in 1710 north of the Berlin city walls in anticipation of an outbreak of bubonic plague that already had depopulated East Prussia. After the plague spared the city it came to be used as a charity hospital for the poor. On January 9, 1727 Frederick William I of Prussia gave it the name Charité, meaning "charity". The construction of an anatomical theatre in 1713 marks the beginning of the medical school, then supervised by the collegium medico-chirurgicum of the Prussian Academy of Sciences. 1795 saw the establishment of the Pépinière school for the education of military surgeons.

After the University of Berlin (today Humboldt Universitymarker) had been founded in 1810, the dean of the medical college Christoph Wilhelm Hufeland in 1828 integrated the Charité as a teaching hospital. Rudolf Virchow, once student at the Pépinière, worked with anatomist Robert Froriep as prosector here and in 1856 became director of the newly created institute of pathology, where he developed his cell theory.

After the partition of Berlin in 1949 the Charité in Mitte remained the main hospital of East Berlin affiliated with the Humboldt University, while the Free Universitymarker of West Berlin had the Klinikum Steglitz erected in 1968 backed by the USmarker Benjamin Franklin Foundation of Eleanor Lansing Dulles. In 1986 the town's Rudolf Virchow Hospital became the second medical school of the Free University. When after reunification the City of Berlin had to deal with three university hospitals, all were finally merged as sites of the Charité in 2003. The reorganization is still in progress.

Notable people

Many famous physicians and scientists worked or studied for at least part of their academic lives at the Charité. Among them were:
Rudolph Virchow, by Hugo Vogel

The Charité today

Today, 7,500 students are enrolled at the Charité. It treats 1,080,000 outpatients and 128,000 inpatients in 3,500 beds annually. 14,400 people are employed at its four locations in Berlin: Strictly speaking, the locations in Mitte, Lichterfelde and Wedding are independent medical centers, each providing patients with the full range of medical treatments available in modern medicine. However, affiliated with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, special research and therapy focuses exist, such as the German Cardiology Center Berlin ( , DHZB) at the Campus Virchow Klinikum, the Center for Space Medicine at the Campus Benjamin Franklin, the German Rheumatology Research Center at the Campus Charité Mitte, and the Center for Molecular and Clinical Cardiology at the Campus Berlin Buch. The DHZB possesses the largest heart transplantation program in Germany and, after London and Paris, the third largest world-wide.


  1. Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  2. History of the Charite
  3. Geschichte & Zahlen

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