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300th anniversary of Personal Union: The Duke of York tours Göttingen

17.11.2014

Prince Andrew visits Great Hall of University, Old Town Hall and Pauliner Church

(pug) The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, and the British Ambassador in Germany, Simon McDonald, visited Göttingen this week. Their tour of the city included a stop at Göttingen University‘s „Great Hall“ Assembly Building and the Pauliner Church. At the Old Town Hall, the Duke signed the Golden Book of the City.

The convoy of vehicles was greeted in front of the Great Hall at Wilhelmsplatz by University President Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel. After a short briefing in the „Akademiesaal“, which was also attended by University Vice-Presidents Prof. Dr. Hiltraud Casper-Hehne and Prof. Dr. Norbert Lossau, the guests visited the historical student prison in the building. In the Great Hall, the Duke met and talked to British and German students and scientists from the university. Prof. Dr. Arnd Reitemeier, Head of Göttingen University’s Institute for Historic Regional Studies, explained the historic significance of the building and the so-called „Wall of Kings“. Subsequently, the Duke and University President unveiled a plaque marking the 300th anniversary of the Personal Union.

After a short walk through the historic town centre, the guests were greeted at the Old Town Hall by Göttingen’s Mayor Wolfgang Meyer. The Duke signed the Golden Book of the City and received a statuette of Göttingen’s city mascot, the „Gänseliesel“, as a gift. Another walk took the guests to the Historic Building of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB). After being welcomed by SUB Director Dr. Wolfram Horstmann, they were shown historic books in the Heyne Room and the Gutenberg Bible in the Pauliner Church by Librarian Dr. Helmut Rohlfing.

With the annual Queen’s Birthday Party being held in Hannover this year to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the beginning of the Personal Union, the Duke of York spent two days in Lower Saxony. Göttingen University was founded during the period of Personal Union in 1737 by George II., King of Great Britain and local Ruler Elector in Hannover at the same time. Serving the goals of Enlightenment, Göttingen University abandoned the supremacy of theology and set its faculties on equal footing. Today, it is a research university of international renown with strong focuses in research-led teaching and a broad subject spectrum.

The founding of the Göttingen University Library in 1734 was a landmark: For the first time in library history, the concept of a modern research library was put into practice and the institution became the first comprehensive academic library of European standing. Today, the Göttingen State and University Library is one of the biggest libraries in Germany.