Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

University of Munich
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Sigillum Universitatis Ludovico-Maximilianeae.svg
Latin: Universitas Ludovico-Maximilianea Monacensis
Established1472 (as University of Ingolstadt until 1802)
Budget€1.727 billion[1]
RectorBernd Huber[de]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
LocationMunich, Bavaria, Germany
Nobel Laureates42
ColoursGreen and White
AffiliationsGerman Excellence Universities
University of Munich logo

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (also referred to as LMU or the University of Munich, in German: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.

The University of Munich is Germany's sixth-oldest university in continuous operation.[n 1] Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig IX of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being relocated to its present-day location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, the university was officially named Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität by King Maximilian I of Bavaria in his as well as the university's original founder's honour.[2]

The University of Munich has, particularly since the 19th century, been considered as one of Germany's as well as one of Europe's most prestigious universities; with 42 Nobel laureates (as of 2017) associated with the university, it ranks 16th worldwide by number of Nobel laureates. Among these were Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university. The LMU has recently been conferred the title of "elite university" under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.

LMU is currently the second-largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester of 2015/2016, the university had a total of 51,025 matriculated students. Of these, 8,671 were freshmen while international students totalled 7,812 or almost 15% of the student population. As for operating budget, the university records in 2015 a total of 660.0 million Euros in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has a total funding amounting to approximately 1.7 billion euros.[3]



University buildings in Ingolstadt

The University was founded with papal approval in 1472 as the University of Ingolstadt (foundation right of Louis IX the Rich), with faculties of philosophy, medicine, jurisprudence and theology. Its first rector was Christopher Mendel of Steinfels, who later became bishop of Chiemsee.

In the period of German humanism, the university's academics included names such as Conrad Celtes and Petrus Apianus. The theologian Johann Eck also taught at the university. From 1549 to 1773, the university was influenced by the Jesuits and became one of the centres of the Counter-Reformation. The Jesuit Petrus Canisius served as rector of the university.

At the end of the 18th century, the university was influenced by the Enlightenment, which led to a stronger emphasis on natural science.


Portrait of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, after whom the University of Munich was renamed in 1802
Adolf von Baeyer, Emil Fischer, Jacob Volhard and other chemists at LMU in 1877

In 1800, the Prince-Elector Maximilian IV Joseph (the later Maximilian I, King of Bavaria) moved the university to Landshut, due to French aggression that threatened Ingolstadt during the Napoleonic Wars. In 1802, the university was renamed the Ludwig Maximilian University in honour of its two founders, Louis IX, Duke of Bavaria and Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria. The Minister of Education, Maximilian von Montgelas, initiated a number of reforms that sought to modernize the rather conservative and Jesuit-influenced university. In 1826, it was moved to Munich, the capital of the Kingdom of Bavaria. The university was situated in the Old Academy until a new building in the Ludwigstraße was completed. The locals were somewhat critical of the number of Protestant professors Maximilian and later Ludwig I invited to Munich. They were dubbed the "Nordlichter" (Northern lights) and especially physician Johann Nepomuk von Ringseis was quite angry about them.[4]

View of the University of Munich from Amalienstrasse around 1900

In the second half of the 19th century, the university rose to great prominence in the European scientific community, attracting many of the world's leading scientists. It was also a period of great expansion. From 1903, women were allowed to study at Bavarian universities, and by 1918, the female proportion of students at LMU had reached 18%. In 1918, Adele Hartmann became the first woman in Germany to earn the Habilitation (higher doctorate), at LMU.

During the Weimar Republic, the university continued to be one of the world's leading universities, with professors such as Wilhelm Röntgen, Wilhelm Wien, Richard Willstätter, Arnold Sommerfeld and Ferdinand Sauerbruch.


During the Third Reich, academic freedom was severely curtailed. In 1943 the White Rose group of anti-Nazi students conducted their campaign of opposition to the National Socialists at this university.


View of the main building of LMU from Professor-Huber-Platz in 2017
The Lichthof (atrium)
Colonnade in the first floor

The university has continued to be one of the leading universities of West Germany during the Cold War and in the post-reunification era. In the late 1960s, the university was the scene of protests by radical students.

Today the University of Munich is part of 24 Collaborative Research Centers funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and is host university of 13 of them. It also hosts 12 DFG Research Training Groups and three international doctorate programs as part of the Elite Network of Bavaria. It attracts an additional 120 million euros per year in outside funding and is intensively involved in national and international funding initiatives.

LMU Munich has a wide range of degree programs, with 150 subjects available in numerous combinations. 15% of the 45,000 students who attend the university come from abroad.

In 2005, Germany’s state and federal governments launched the German Universities Excellence Initiative, a contest among its universities. With a total of 1.9 billion euros, 75 percent of which comes from the federal state, its architects aim to strategically promote top-level research and scholarship. The money is given to more than 30 research universities in Germany.

The initiative will fund three project-oriented areas: graduate schools to promote the next generation of scholars, clusters of excellence to promote cutting-edge research and "future concepts" for the project-based expansion of academic excellence at universities as a whole. In order to qualify for this third area, a university had to have at least one internationally recognized academic center of excellence and a new graduate school.

After the first round of selections, LMU Munich was invited to submit applications for all three funding lines: It entered the competition with proposals for two graduate schools and four clusters of excellence.

On Friday 13 October 2006, a blue-ribbon panel announced the results of the Germany-wide Excellence Initiative for promoting top university research and education. The panel, composed of the German Research Foundation and the German Science Council, has decided that LMU Munich will receive funding for all three areas covered by the Initiative: one graduate school, three "excellence clusters" and general funding for the university’s "future concept".

In January 2012, scientists at the Ludwig Maximilian University, published details of the most sensitive listening device known so far. This has led to the college being inducted into the Guinness book of world records.[5]

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