On October 4, 1622, the imperial privilege arrived that finally made Salzburg a university city after lengthy negotiations. In 1810, under Bavarian rule, Salzburg’s university was over again. Only 60 years ago – on July 5, 1962 – the Austrian National Council passed the law for the reestablishment of the Salzburg Alma Mater.
First labeled woman 1932
The exhibition in the Domquartier offers a concentrated outline of the history of the University of Salzburg, which only gave women access late. “The first women who had students here were midwives, they were tried here. Admittedly, it took longer at the theological university, since it was Luise Bonora in 1932 who later made a career at the Chamber of Labour. She is the first woman to be enrolled in the register book,” said archivist Christoph Brandhuber.
Incidentally, the first graduation certificate in gender-neutral language dates back to 1993 – and was specifically requested by today’s Salzburg City Councilor Martina Berthold (Green Party).
The 400-year history of the university is also rich in bizarre events – the most striking being the Sacellum. “It is the crypt in the sacellum. The professors were buried in the truest sense of the word in the baroque period. The whole thing was supposed to represent a ‘Gymnasium mortis’, a school of death. Because death and the dead are the best teachers,” says Brandhuber.
Is Salzburg a student city?
The exhibition in the Domquartier is a retrospective, but should also be an opportunity to reflect on the current and future position of the University of Salzburg. Also about why the university has never really arrived in society. “It never became a real student town. This may have something to do with the fact that many welcome students come from Upper Austria, who then go home at the weekend or in the evening. It also has to do with the fact that Salzburg is an expensive place and that there is relatively little student life and student bars,” said Governor Wilfried Haslauer (ÖVP).
Uni also wants to position itself for the future
For the university itself, looking back at its history offers the chance to reposition itself for the future. “Sustainability, health, awareness, digital life – these are some of the leitmotifs of the university,” explained Rector Hendrik Lehnert. The exhibition 400 years of the University of Salzburg can be seen until the end of October.