History of the Francke Foundations

The Francke Foundations are an impressive collection of buildings, whose historical heart came into being in less than one generation around the Linden Courtyard. However, they also form a building of thought, whose fundamental idea can today still captivate a good 300 years after its construction.

The religious school town, which August Hermann Francke (1663-1728) began in 1698 with an electoral privilege, was quickly considered by contemporaries to be the "New Jerusalem". It was the Pietist piety and the progressive pedagogy which created such an impression then. Francke's facilities consisted of an orphanage, a school system with many branches and scientific institutes. Additionally there were economic enterprises and agricultural lands. Francke succeeded in countering the social problems of his time with a widely admired example of Christian charity.

The Foundations formed the heart of a global correspondence and action network that spread the reform plans of Halle Pietism all over the world. Evidence of this can still be found today in many European countries, in India and the USA. The first Protestant mission, millions of German language bibles for ordinary people, the comprehensive school in Germany, the first teacher seminar in Germany as well the principle of complementary sciences, which are today considered usual, all have their starting points in the Francke Foundations.

In the 19th century the Foundations continued to establish themselves as a school town and continued until 1946 as a Christian and humanistic institution. Between 1946 and 1991 they lost their independence. Since 1991 the Francke Foundations have been reinstated as a public institution. Their reconstruction as an educational, cultural, social and scientific centre with European charisma has since then been pursued with multi-facetted dedication