Gymnasium Carolinum (Osnabrück)

The Gymnasium Carolinum in Osnabrück, Germany, was founded in 804 by Charlemagne, king of the Franks. It is reputedly the oldest school in Germany[1] and is also one of the oldest surviving schools in the world.


In 1632, the Gymnasium was elevated into a University by the Jesuits. However, Swedish troops captured Osnabrück the next year for the Protestant side in the Thirty Years' War, and the Academia Carolina Osnabrugensis was closed.[2] There would not be a university in Osnabrück until the University of Osnabrück opened in 1974.

Twentieth centuryEdit

In 1933 the boys' school of the Gymnasium Carolinum had twenty-two teachers, all of whom were Catholics and thirteen of whom had served in the First World War. Only one had up to that point joined the Nazi party.[3] Yet Nazi educational policy changed both the curriculum and the views of students. The number of schools hours devoted to physical exercise, history, and geography increased, while those involving foreign languages and religion decreased.[4] In 1939 essays written by students at the school reflected the new policies and referred frequently to works by Hitler and other Nazi leaders.[5]

Notable alumniEdit

The Gymnasium Carolinum in Osnabrück

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The building of the Gymnasium Carolinum, Osnabrück Archived 2006-05-19 at the Wayback Machine (accessed October 2008)
  2. ^ MacDonald, Alasdair A.; Martels, Zweder R.W.M. von; Veenstra, Jan R., eds. (2009). Christian Humanism Essays in Honour of Arjo Vanderjagt. Leiden: Brill. p. xviii. ISBN 9789047429753. Ere long the Jesuits made the Carolinum an important educational stronghold in the cause of the Counter-Reformation and in the middle of the seventeenth century, during the Thirty Years War, the Carolinum was raised to the status of Jesuit University. ... A year after its official opening, the university was closed down again, as the city, having the misfortune to be in the frontline between warring Protestants and Catholics, suffered the fate of repeated power changes.
  3. ^ Panayi, P. Life and Death in a German Town: Osnabrück from the Weimar Republic to World War II and Beyond. New York: Tauris Academic Studies, 2007. pp. 73-74.
  4. ^ Panayi 2007, pp. 74–75.
  5. ^ Panayi 2007, p. 76.

Further readingEdit

  • Julius Jaeger: Die Schola Carolina Osnabrugensis. Festschrift zur Elfhundertjahrfeier des Königlichen Gymnasiums Carolinum zu Osnabrück. Pillmeyer, Osnabrück 1904.
  • Josef Vormoor: Verzeichnis der Abiturienten des Gymnasium Carolinum 1830-1954. Nolte, Osnabrück 1954.
  • Klemens-August Recker: „… meinem Volke und meinem Herrgott dienen …“. Das Gymnasium Carolinum zwischen partieller Kontinuität und Resistenz in der NS-Zeit. Ein Beitrag zur Bildungsgeschichte der Stadt und des Bistums Osnabrück zwischen 1848 und 1945. Verein für Geschichte und Landeskunde von Osnabrück, Osnabrück 1989, ISBN 3-9800335-5-4, (Osnabrücker Geschichtsquellen und Forschungen 29), (Osnabrück, Univ., Diss., 1989).
  • Johannes Hesse: Carolinger 1938 bis 1947. Erinnerungen eines ehemaligen Schülers. Wenner, Osnabrück 1997, ISBN 3-87898-354-9.
  • Michael F. Feldkamp: Karl der Große und das Gymnasium Carolinum in Osnabrück. Begründung, Pflege und Wandel einer 1200jährigen Erinnerungskultur. In: Geschichte im Bistum Aachen 5, 1999/2000, ISSN 1616-4091, S. 71–116.
  • Rolf Unnerstall, Dr. Holger Mannigel (Hrsg.): Gymnasium Carolinum. 804–2004. Fromm, Osnabrück 2004, ISBN 3-00-013808-0.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 52°16′40.50″N 8°02′44.00″E / 52.2779167°N 8.0455556°E / 52.2779167; 8.0455556