The Salzburg University Weeks – Summertime well spent at the University of Salzburg

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A university start-up

Salzburg in summer – that means the world-famous festival, tasty baked delights, green city mountains, and magnificent lakes. It also means the start of the Salzburg University Weeks: an international and interdisciplinary university event at the heart of the city.

The summer programme was founded in 1931 in support of the reconstitution of the Benedictine University, which was closed in 1810. You could call it a university start-up: the summer programme was intended to put Salzburg on the intellectual map of Europe and make it a university city again, which in turn attracted thousands of visitors to the city.

Audio and visual insights into the history of the Salzburg University Weeks

Salzburg University Weeks: the early years

90th anniversary celebration

The University of Salzburg’s archivist, Dr Christoph Brandhuber, talks about the first years of the University Weeks.

Smarte Sommerfrische Podcast

A look back at the 1930s

Three Historical Walks

The current chair of the Salzburg University Weeks, Prof. Dr. Martin Dürnberger, offers a tour of interesting places from this period.

Thumbnail Video historische Spaziergänge

A ban imposed by the National Socialist regime – and a new start

In 1938, the event was banned by the National Socialists because of “anti-state activity”, but it was held again as early as 1945 and has been held every year during the summer ever since. While the original aim was still to push for the foundation of a (Catholic) university, this goal became obsolete with the reconstitution of the (state) university in 1962.

Nevertheless, the University Weeks remained a permanent feature of the Salzburg summer season: they had established themselves as a summer retreat – a renowned university forum where theology enters into discourse with all other sciences on big life questions. Every year, around 1,000 people come from all over the German-speaking world, but also from Eastern Europe, to Salzburg to attend the event.

The event is organised by the University of Salzburg – supported by the Faculty of Catholic Theology together with the Salzburg Abbots’ Benedictine Conference, the Katholischen Hochschulwerk Salzburg, the Görres Society, the Catholic Academic Associations of Germany and Austria, the Forum Hochschule and Church of the German Bishops’ Conference.

Renowned guest speakers come to Salzburg year after year to hold talks, including the following names: Karl Rahner, Getraud von le Fort, Hartmut Rosa, Joseph Ratzinger, Hans-Georg Gadamer, David Steindl-Rast, Hans Joas, Jan and Aleida Assmann, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Viktor Frankl, Romano Guardini, Ruth Klüger, Jacques Maritain, Agostino Gemelli and many others.

The great questions of time and being human…

The Salzburg University Weeks 2022

The aim of the programme is to address the current issues of our time and to discuss them in an interdisciplinary manner – posing the big questions in a contemporary context. The most recent general topics were: "The complexity of the world and the longing for simplicity" (2019), "You have to live your change! (2020) or "What is (still) holding us together?" (2021). This year, the Summer University is dedicated to an urgent question for society as a whole: "Where do we go from here?”

Salzburger Hochschulwochen Plakat 2022

Salzburg University Weeks: past to present

The University Weeks: an overview

Listen to this podcast for a great overview of the history of the Salzburg University Weeks.

Smarte Sommerfrische Podcast

You can find more information about the Salzburg University Weeks at:

Text: Martin Dürnberger | Translation: Leonie Young
Photos: © Martin Dürnberger (1,2,5) | © Dorit Ehlers (3) | © wirsindartisten (4)