Welfengarten 1

Photo: Welfenschloss Photo: Welfenschloss Photo: Welfenschloss

Since 1879, the main university building ("Welfenschloss") located at Welfengarten 1 is the centre of today’s Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität. The palace was initially built as the main residence of the Kingdom of Hanover. The bronze sculpture depicting the Saxon Steed in front of the building symbolises the reign of the House of Welf. With the kingdom’s annexation by Prussia in 1866, construction work came to a halt. The palace lost its function and it was considered to be used as a location for the former polytechnic college.

In 1876, the conversion of the building started according to plans by Hermann Huneus. After moving into the building in 1879, the constantly growing need for additional space soon made it necessary to extend the inner courtyards and build the side wings. Thus, in 1895, the recently established Electrical Engineering Institute was given new premises on the west side of the main building. Further extensions and conversions followed.

Photo: Lecture hall building Photo: Lecture hall building Photo: Lecture hall building

Bombing during the Second World War damaged the building considerably. The reconstruction of the palace was achieved through donations and – mandatory – participation of students. Designed by professor Ernst Zinsser, the roofed atrium was built in 1956. It replaced an originally open courtyard and has served as a central event venue ever since. The construction of a lecture hall building (main lecture hall etc.) on the east side of the Welfenschloss in 1958 expanded the available space even further. The royal chapel destroyed during the war was originally located there.

The use of the Welfenschloss gradually changed after 1945. The space was no longer sufficient for the increasing requirements of the departments. For this reason, some departments, such as the Architecture and Civil Engineering departments as well as the library and the human resources department, were relocated to other buildings, some of which were constructed specifically for this purpose.

Photo: Lichthof (atrium of the main university building) Photo: Lichthof (atrium of the main university building) Photo: Lichthof (atrium of the main university building)

Other departments such as Mathematics, Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering are still located in the Welfenschloss. Important facilities for students, such as the lecture halls, Student Advisory Services and the Leibniz Language Centre (the former “Fachsprachenzentrum”), also remained in the main university building or moved there. Most administrative departments and university management are also housed here. The conversion of the Sprengelstube cafeteria and the establishment of a central service centre increased the appeal of the university's central building.

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