The Humboldt University of Berlin (German: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, HU Berlin) is one of Berlin's oldest universities, founded on 15 October 1810 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, whose university model has strongly influenced other European and Western universities. From 1828 it was known as the Frederick William University (Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität), and later (unofficially) also as the Universität unter den Linden after its location in the former palace of Prince Henry of Prussia (1726–1802) which his brother, King Frederick II, had built for him between 1748 and 1753 on the avenue Unter den Linden. In 1949, it changed its name to Humboldt-Universität in honour of both its founder Wilhelm and his brother, geographer Alexander von Humboldt.
This historic university has a very impressive list of alumni and professors. Since it was founded, the university has educated 29 Nobel Prize winners and is considered one of the most prestigious universities in Europe overall as well as one of the most prestigious universities worldwide for arts and humanities. Here (to only mention a few) are some of the notable alumni and professors:
- Jurek Becker (1937–1997), writer (Jacob the Liar)
- Otto von Bismarck (1815–1898), first German chancellor
- Max Born (1882–1970), physicist, Nobel Prize for physics in 1954
- Albert Einstein (1879–1955), physicist, Nobel Prize for physics in 1921
- Jacob Grimm (1785–1863), linguist and literary critic
- Wilhelm Grimm (1786–1859), linguist and literary critic,
- Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767–1835), politician, linguist, and founder of the university
- Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), natural scientist - Robert Koch (1843–1910), physician, Nobel Prize for medicine in 1905
- Karl Marx (1818–1883), philosopher
- Max Planck (1858–1947), physicist, Nobel Prize for physics in 1918.
In 2012, the Humboldt University of Berlin was one of eleven German universities to win in the German Universities Excellence Initiative, a national competition for universities organized by the German Federal Government. Currently the university has an academic staff of 2,441 and an administrative staff of 3,330 all of who look after a total of 33,540 students.