Dagmar Szabados: The city of creative minds

The future paired with tradition – a contradiction? No, it is the motto of the big­­gest and oldest educational institution in Saxony-Anhalt, the Martin Luther Uni­­ver­si­ty of Halle-Wittenberg. Situated on the river Saale, Halle owes the university its reputation in Germany as a uni­­versity centre. Each year the university attracts thousands of young people from all over Germany and abroad to study in Halle. In 2002 the University celebrat­ed its 500th anniversary. This date com­­memorates the founding of the Univer­sity of Wittenber­g in 1502, which merged with the University of Halle in 1817. But our university is not only one of the oldest in German-speaking Europe, it can also claim another record – it was the first university in Germany at which a woman gained a doctorate degree. The lady in question was Dorothea Chris­­tiane Erxleben, who gained her doctorate in 1754.


Giebichenstein Castle, situated idyllically on the banks of the river Saale, is not only one of Halle’s favourite ex­­cur­­sion destinations, it is almost always pop­­ulated by young, creative people, the students at the College of Art and Design, whose work­­shops and classrooms are housed in this oldest castle on the river Saale. Currently some 950 students from more than 20 countries study Art and Design here. They regularly take part in art competitions and exhibitions and thereby put their artistic stamp on the city’s atmosphere. The College celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2005.

One of Halle’s landmarks is the white headquarters of the Franckesche Stif­­tun­­gen (Francke Foundations). The Foun­­dations were formed in 1698 as an or­­phan­­age by theologian and university profes­sor Au­­gust Hermann Francke and today these historic buildings are home to kin­­dergartens, four schools and faculties of the university. This cosmos of buildings radiates with innovative ideas onto the city of Halle and all of Germany and it has organized cultural theme years since 2000.


To date it is the only organization in Ger­­many devoted to socially relevant themes for a whole year and to throw light on them from unusual perspectives. In 2009 the Foundations will look at changes in the “worlds of work”.

“Conducting research into nature for the benefit of mankind” – this was and is the motto of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (German Leo­­poldina Academy of Research into Nat­ural Science). The Academy was founded in Schwein­­furt in 1652 and is thus the oldest academy that conducts research into the natural world in Germany. It has been based in Halle since 1878.

Its members are distinguished by their special scientific achievements and their numbers include many Nobel Prize win­­ners. Here, too, tradition and the future work hand-in-hand.
In February 2008, the Leopoldi­na was nominated the Nationale Akademie der Wissen­schaft in Deutschland (the Na­­tion­­al Academy of Sciences in Germany) by the Joint Conference of German State Ministers of Science.

We are especially proud of the weinberg campus Tech­­no­­logy Park, the second-larg­­est in Eastern Germany. The Tech­nol­­ogy Park offers business start-ups the opportunity to grow into productive me­­dium-sized companies. Since its in­­cep­­tion, more than 100 companies – technology-oriented companies in parti­­cular – have established a presence here.



But also the Martin Luther University and several research institutes produce innovative materials and conduct re­­search. Currently the Tech­­nology Park employs 3,500 people and this number will increase as there are still free spac­­es available for more com­­panies to lo­­cate here. The Halle Busi­ness Develop­­ment Corporation and its pro­­ject team of technology-oriented IT and media companies help interested companies through the process of getting established here.

Halle is the region’s media location. This is where the future starts! Since the Mit­­tel­­deutsche Multime­dia­­zentrum (Central Ger­­man Multi­-Me­­­dia Centre) was opened in October 2005, people have been done research and planning programmes or received a job training. This Centre is of enormous importance for the creative economy in Halle. The Multi­-Me­­­dia Centre offers the latest equipment and technol­ogy, from sound and video studios through production rooms up to a conference and presentation room and a video conference theatre.
Halle delivers solutions! We have many creative people here in the beautiful city of Halle who positively burn for the com­­mon cause and who contribute innovative ideas. We’ve long since arrived in the 21st cen­­tury and are creating our own future.


OB-Dagmar-Szabados-2007The author was born in 1947 and stud­­ied chemistry at the Berg­aka­de­­mie Frei­­berg. After completing her studies, she worked at the Fuel Institute in Frei­­berg and later as a research as­­sist­­ant at the Regional Institute of Hygiene in Halle. Dagmar Szabados became mayor of Halle in 1990 with special responsibility for en­­vi­­ronmental affairs. She has been Lord Mayor of Halle (Saale) since 1 May 2007.