Why the establishment of the University Campus Bremen 50 years ago went without a plan

Rudolf Hickel helped to shape the re-establishment of the university from day one. The economic expert tells Bremen Zwei that it gave him some gray hair.

Rudolf Hickel is a professor of political economy and finance and has experienced and suffered a lot in his 50 years in Bremen. He describes Bremen University as “my university”: “Yes, of course this is my life’s work. I enjoyed doing it from the start.”

Rudolf Hickel came from the University of Konstanz at that time, also a new establishment, but designed completely differently than the later University of Bremen. The economist still remembers how his phone rang back then: “I got a call one morning, went to Bremen and fell in love with the city very early on. But also with this insane project, which I’m sure some of me too gray hair. I was very, very happy to get involved. “

“The mustard of 1,000 years under the gowns”: The banner was a huge impulse!

Rudolf Hickel on the desire for change at the universities in the late 1960s

If you looked at the map at the end of the 1960s, you saw that there was no university in the northwest. Anyone who wanted to study from the Bremen or Oldenburg region had to at least move to Hamburg, Hanover or Münster. But there was a second reason to establish a university in Bremen, recalls Rudolf Hickel: “The establishment can only be understood from the urgent need to build a reform university, to break out of the old full-time university.” The stench of 1000 years under the gowns’: The banner that Detlev Albers and Gert Hinnerk Behlmer wore in Hamburg – that was a very big impulse. Everyone wanted a reform in which – I put it a bit colloquially – all old braids are cut off. “

Suddenly the “red management team” was there

Back then, the campus between Horner Mühle, allotment gardens and the autobahn emerged completely haphazardly, says Rudolf Hickel: “It came faster than we expected, and it was good for us. In a certain way, however, we were thrown into the water. ” Because there was money, there were suddenly three buildings on the site, courses of study were designed, a research facility and organizational management had to be set up.

The establishment of the university as a reform university was nevertheless highly controversial. The talk quickly came of the “red cadre forge”: “We did not forge any red cadres, but the university’s basic attitude was rather ‘red’, especially in social science and also in finance”. But Rudolf Hickel preferred to emphasize a term that already existed back then, namely the “Bremen model”.

The pound today is that we also create the high-tech development in the most modern areas.

Rudolf Hickel on the future viability of Bremen University

Rudolf Hickel could have left the University of Bremen twice. Once he received a call to the economics faculty in Frankfurt / Main and once to the newly founded comprehensive university in Kassel. He refused both. He has close ties with the city of Bremen, which benefits greatly from students and workers at the university. Rudolf Hickel sees the University of Bremen with its technology park well positioned for the next 50 years: “The key today is that we also create high-tech development in the most modern areas, combined with corporate management. That is a huge advantage.”

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Image: Radio Bremen

Image: Radio Bremen

This topic in the program:
Bremen Zwei, speaking time, October 14, 2021, 6:05 p.m.

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