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The front portal of the main building of the Viadrina
The Viadrina celebrated the 500th anniversary of its founding in 2006
The Audimax building, known colloquially as the Flachbau ("flat building"), is a modernized GDR-era building that houses the university auditorium


Viadrina European University ( , hence its frequent appearance as "European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder)" in English) is a university located at Frankfurt marker in Brandenburgmarker, Germanymarker. It is also known as the University of Frankfurt (Oder). The city is on the Oder River, which marks the border between Germany and Polandmarker. With 5,200 students — around 1,000 of whom come from Poland — and some 160 teaching staff, the Viadrina is one of Germany's smallest universities (only the University of Erfurtmarker has fewer students).

The word "Viadrina," from Latin, means "belonging to, or situated at, the Oder River": it derives from Viadra, the Latin name for the Oder (the city of Frankfurt was known in Latin as Francofortum ad Viadrum).

Historical Viadrina

The Alma Mater Viadrina was founded in 1506 by Joachim I Nestor, Elector of Brandenburg, as the principal university of Brandenburg. It was organized into four faculties: law, theology, philosophy, and medicine. The university enjoyed an excellent reputation in Brandenburg and the surrounding regions, and its graduates had high positions in administration, politics, law and the church. One of its earliest chancellors, Bishop Georg von Blumenthal (1490-1550) was a vigorous opponent of the Protestant Reformation and did his utmost to expel Lutherans such as Jodocus Willich.

In 1736 the eminent jurist Johann Jakob Moser was called to head the Faculty of Law at the university, but had to leave after three years due to his thoroughly Liberal ideas which were disliked by then King Frederick William I of Prussia.

In 1811 the university of Frankfurt was moved to Breslau marker and merged with the University of Breslaumarker, the Leopoldina, in order to be competitive with the newly founded University of Berlinmarker. Some of the Viadrina professors did, however, accept positions in Berlin.

The old university building in Frankfurt was damaged in World War II and controversially demolished in the early 1960s. Only the arch of the main entrance has been preserved as a monument.

Famous students at the historical Viadrina included the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt, the philosopher Ulrich von Hutten, the musician Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, the theologian and political leader Thomas Müntzer, and the poet Heinrich von Kleist.

The new Viadrina

In 1991 the university was re-established as Viadrina European University. It currently comprises three faculties: Economics and Business Studies; Law; and Cultural Studies. A prime focus of the educational program is to attract students from throughout Europe in order to create a multi-national student body. Currently about 40 per cent of the students are foreigners (mostly Polish), a greater proportion than other German universities.

Viadrina European University maintains close cooperation with Adam Mickiewicz Universitymarker in Poznańmarker, Poland. The two universities jointly operate the Collegium Polonicum, located just opposite the Viadrina on the Polish side of the Oder River.

Notable among the research institutions at Viadrina University is the Frankfurt Institute of Transformational Studies (FIT). The Institute is a substantial contributor to research on economies in transition.

The former president of the university, Professor Gesine Schwan, ran for President of Germany in 2004, being narrowly defeated by Horst Köhler, and will run again for the office in 2009.Since 1 October 2008 the former diplomat Gunter Pleuger holds the office of the president if the university.

Studying at Viadrina

The Viadrina European University currently offers the following study programs in English:

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