Akademisches Gymnasium (Vienna)

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Akademisches Gymnasium
Wien - Akademisches Gymnasium (2).JPG
Beethovenplatz 1


School typesecondary school
School districtInnere Stadt
Head of schoolMeinhard Trummer
Age range10 - 18

Founded in 1553, the Akademisches Gymnasium is the oldest secondary school in Vienna. Today, it is state-run and therefore nondenominational and non-feepaying. The school offers a humanistic education and is known to be rather liberal compared to other traditional secondary schools in the city. Currently, there are approximately 600 pupils in 24 classes.


16th–18th century[edit]

In the 16th century, it was the privilege of the University of Vienna to decide about the founding of educational institutions. In March 1553, the Jesuits were granted permission to found the Akademisches Gymnasium.

The main educational objectives of the exclusively Jesuit teachers was to instill knowledge and the practice of Catholicism in the pupils. At the time, the Akademisches Gymnasium was located opposite the university (today the Austrian Academy of Sciences) on the premises of today's Dominican monastery. Pupils were taught in Latin.

18th–20th century[edit]

In 1773 Pope Clement XIV dissolved the Jesuit order so that both the teaching staff and the educational objectives of the Akademisches Gymnasium changed. The new focus was on History, Mathematics, German, Literature and Geography. The school was now run by the Piarists order.

It became more profane and the spirit of the Enlightenment was felt among teachers as well as pupils. New didactical and paedagogical methods were introduced, as were tuition fees.

As a result of the reform of secondary schools in 1849 the school was restructured to its present curriculum of 8 years ending with the Matura final exam. The humanistic aspects became more and more pronounced as education focused on languages, history, mathematics and the natural sciences. The first Matura exam was held in 1851.

In 1866 the school moved to its present building at Beethovenplatz in the 1st district of Vienna. It was built by Friedrich von Schmidt, the architect who also designed the Vienna townhall, in his typical neo-gothic style.

After the World Wars[edit]

The period after World War I was very difficult for the Akademisches Gymnasium and it narrowly escaped closure because of a rapid decrease in the number of pupils. This development was temporarily reversed but in 1938 the school's fate was again in peril: with the Nazis coming to power in Austria, all the Jewish pupils and teachers - among others philosopher Peter Singer’s grandfather, as recounted in Pushing Time Away - had to leave the school thereby reducing the school's studentship by 40 percent. One of the most famous victims of these measures was Nobel laureate Walter Kohn.

After World War II, the Akademisches Gymnasium regained its old reputation. Known as one of the most demanding schools in Austria, it offers a general, humanistic education with a special focus on classical and modern languages preparing its pupils for further academic studies. Several of its teachers also teach at the University of Vienna. State-run, the school is free of charge and admission by merit. Nationwide examination for the Matura is only slowly being introduced in Austria since 2014/15; nevertheless, schools continue to examine their own pupils. Marks on non-centralised exams reflect the school's internal standards. The Akademisches Gymnasium has been performing Greek theatre on a semi-professional level, but is also known for excellent musical performances. Lately, the school's choir has won several competitions.

21st century[edit]

There continues to be an emphasis on languages. Pupils have 8 years of either English or French, 6 years of Latin (5 years for intakes from 2011), and either 2 years of French or English (3 years from 2011) followed by 4 years of ancient Greek, or 6 years (7 years from 2011) of their second modern language. Italian, Spanish, Russian and Chinese are optional for the last three years.[1]

Additionally, there are many intra- and extra-curricular projects and optional classes. The aim of the Akademisches Gymnasium is to give pupils a broad but solid general education, preparing them for study at university.[2]

The school's main difficulty is lack of space. The landmark building cannot be enlarged, so there is not enough room to offer a place to all of the large number of applicants.[3]

Prominent graduates of the Akademisches Gymnasium[edit]

Born before 1800[edit]

Born after 1800[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Akademisches Gymnasium. Wien 1, Beethovenplatz 1. In: Peter Haiko, Renata Kassal-Mikula: Friedrich von Schmidt. (1825–1891). Ein gotischer Rationalist (= Historisches Museum der Stadt Wien. Sonderausstellung 148). Museen der Stadt Wien, Wien 1991, ISBN 3-85202-102-2, S. 86–89.
  • Felix Czeike: Historisches Lexikon Wien. Volume 2. Verlag Kremayr & Scheriau, Wien 1993, ISBN 3-218-00544-2, p. 649.
  • Robert Winter: Das Akademische Gymnasium in Wien. Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Böhlau, Wien 1996, ISBN 3-205-98485-4.
  • Festschrift zum 450. Jubiläum der Schulgründung, Akademisches Gymnasium Wien
  • Year books


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-06-17. Retrieved 2015-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-09-10. Retrieved 2015-06-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ http://www.akg-wien.at/default.htm

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°12′05″N 16°22′34″E / 48.20139°N 16.37611°E / 48.20139; 16.37611