History of the Institute of Geography

Scientific Geography at the FAU - a brief review

At the University of Erlangen, lectures on geography were already held in the 18th century – as “predominantly statistical descriptions of states, peoples and the earth, as instructions in the service of pedagogy and theology” (Wirth 1995). A professorship for geography was established in 1895 and filled with Eduard Pechuel-Lösche. The Institute of Geography at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg is one of the traditional and big sites of scientific geography in Germany. In 1933, Walter Christaller earned his doctorate here with his work on the “Central Places in Southern Germany” with Robert Gradmann.

In addition to some contributions to the publication series of the Frankish Geographical Society and a student thesis on the period between 1919 and 1945, there is still no systematic discussion of the histories of academic geography in Erlangen . On the occasion of the 120th anniversary of academic geography in Erlangen in 2015, some students have prepared individual selected biographies and stories from Erlangen geography as part of a bachelor seminar (in German) – for example:



  • Waldmann, K. (1985): Die Geographie an der Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen 1919 bis 1945. Zulassungsarbeit zur wissenschaftlichen Prüfung für das Lehramt an Gymnasien im Frühjahr 1985.
  • Wirth, E. (1995): Einhundert Jahre Geographie in Erlangen. Eine Universitätsdisziplin im Kontext übergreifender wissenschaftlicher und hochschulpolitischer Zeitströmungen. In: Kopp, H. (Hrsg.): Erlanger Geographische Arbeiten. Erlangen: Selbstverlag der Fränkischen Geographischen Gesellschaft in Kommission bei Palm und Enke, 3–32.