University of Franeker

The University of Franeker (1585–1811) was a university in Franeker, Friesland, the Netherlands. It was the second oldest university of the Netherlands, founded shortly after Leiden University.

De academia van Vrieslant (Friesland Academy), 1622


Also known as Academia Franekerensis or the University of Friesland, it was the stopover for many Puritans, such as Peter Stuyvesant, escaping the persecutions of Bishop Laud on their way to, eventually, the American Continent. It consisted of departments of Theology, Law, Medicine, Philosophy, Mathematics and Physics.

Initially the university had an excellent reputation, attracting students from far and wide, but from 1700 its fortune changed. The university was disbanded by Napoleon in 1811, along with the Universities of Harderwijk and Utrecht. After the end of the French régime, the university was not restored. Instead, an Athenaeum illustre was founded, which did not have the right to issue doctoral degrees. In 1843, the Athenaeum itself was disbanded because of a lack of students.

Today, Franeker has no institute of higher education, although postgraduate students from the University of Groningen are permitted to defend their thesis in the Franeker Martinikerk, provided they are Frisian or their thesis subject has a connection to Friesland.

Notable professors and alumniEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ A. C. Grayling, Descartes: The Life of Rene Descartes and Its Place in His Times, Simon and Schuster, 2006, pp. 151–152.

External linksEdit