The official opening ceremony on 7 November 2009 marked the start of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg as Göttingen’s Institute for Advanced Study, with a special focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences. Financed by funds from the so-called Exzellenzinitiative, one of the town’s finest buildings, the monumental Historic Observatory, was extensively renovated to become the home of the Kolleg.


Constructed between 1803 and 1816, the Sternwarte is mostly associated in terms of historical memory with the great natural scientist Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855) who lived and worked here from 1807 until his death. The Cupola, in many ways the jewel of the building, was also renovated, thanks to the local initiative and fundraising efforts of the Gauss-Kuppel Gemeinschaft.