Talk:Free University of Berlin

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Name of article: Freie Universität Berlin/Free University of Berlin[edit]

The German name seems to be more common used. Google: Searched the web for "Freie Universität Berlin". Results: 159,000 (39,400 searching English pages only), Searched the web for "Free University of Berlin". Results: 28,100 (25,900)


not sure about the student figures given for 1980s and 1990s; there was (still is?) a discrepancy between the nominal number of "student places" and the actual number of students enrolled; during the 1990s there were still more than 60,000 students, but about 40,000 official places; this number has been cut (several times?), and I think the absolute number of students has also begun to drop.Ianb 07:17, 16 Jul 2004 (UTC)


Wat does the "Free" stand for? Perhaps Free as in Inquiry (like the Vrije Universiteit Brussel) or Free as in Protestantism (like the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)?


>It was meant to distinguish the "Free University" from what is now the Humboldt University, then simply the University of Berlin, which was located in communist East Berlin. So "free" was mostly of geopolitical significance. Cjs2111 21:38, 4 January 2007 (UTC)


The Freie University indeed regards "Freie" (=Free) as part of its name and therefore never translates it into any language, neither in correspondance nor for student or academic exchange programms. And yes the adjective free relates to the time of the wall, in calling themselves free the founders of the universtity silently made it clear that - in their eyes - humbold university (in the eastern part) was to be considered the unfree University. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 77.188.21.37 (talk) 09:50, 17 December 2008 (UTC)


Free university of Berlin is the wrong title, as a name "Freie Universitaet Berlin" should not been translated. A Free univerity is a univerity where everybody -without any grade- is able to study, not so at FU Berlin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 160.45.168.143 (talk) 08:58, 3 January 2011 (UTC)


The word Freie (engl. "free") was used in the name, when the university was founded in 1948, to distinguish it from the old University of Berlin (which later became the Humboldt University), that being located in East Berlin had been taken over by the communists and was no longer free - either academically or politically.

I work at the FUB and we never translate the name "Freie Universität Berlin" into another language. The English language version of the website uses only the name "Freie Universität Berlin", never Free University. Also, when corresponding with international contacts, I have only ever used the name "Freie Universität Berlin". DE481889 19:16, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

Objectivity concerns[edit]

There is so much self-promoting, unobjective bullshit obviously written by the university it doesn't read like an encyclopedia article at all. Also, WTF is a "top-university". Garbage. YusufAlBinVeryNaughty (talk) 10:46, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

I mean, read this and tell me it has not been composed by some junior corporate relations douchebag "Freie Universität Berlin is one of the leading research universities in Germany and distinguishes itself through its modern and international character." Ahahahahahaha YusufAlBinVeryNaughty (talk) 10:48, 27 October 2010 (UTC)

Agree, also it is not giving sources when stating improvements after a "revamping" under History. Since this is after mentioning a reduction in students it would be interesting to know if improvements where mostly due to said reduction rather than policy. Feels ambigous Cantot (talk) 11:35, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Requested move (2011)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

No consensus to move. Vegaswikian (talk) 06:01, 25 July 2011 (UTC)

Free University of BerlinFreie Universität Berlin – As already discussed here, Freie Universität does not translate its name but rather uses "Freie Universität Berlin" for its foreign language communication as well. This seems to be in accordance with how other names are treated in English in general. Neoryt (talk) 11:03, 18 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Support. No need whatsoever for translation.--Huh direction (talk) 16:03, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Very strongly oppose per the sources (such as they are) to the article. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:51, 18 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Comment WP:OFFICIALNAME ; though only two of the four references used in the article actually discusses this university, and one of those two translates the name... 65.93.15.213 (talk) 05:44, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
    • The only reference needed is the one from the university itself, and all of the university's website and printed materials in English refers to it as the German name, not translated. This is very easy to check by visiting its official website in English.--Huh direction (talk) 17:05, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
    • Please note that what WP:OFFICIALNAME says is that we do not use official names, unless they are also the common name in independent reliable English sources. (Often they are; but I do not see this as likely or demonstrated here.) Therefore the University's own site does not matter, unless anglophones follow it. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:08, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
      • With some common sense we can see that the title in English is confusing. Is it free as in beer or free as in speech? The German name is unambiguous.--Huh direction (talk) 17:26, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
        • We are not here to reform the English language; we are here to communicate in it. I will say nothing about the wisdom of reforming by swallowing another language wholesale; that's the path of Holofernes. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:06, 19 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Oppose "Free University of Berlin" and "Freie Universitat Berlin" seem to be about equally common, according to this ngram. Since "Berlin's Free University is also a very common way to refer to this institution, "Free University" is the common name, not "Freie Universität". Kauffner (talk) 01:05, 20 July 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move 13 October 2015[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: Not moved (non-admin closure)  — Amakuru (talk) 17:53, 21 October 2015 (UTC)



Free University of BerlinFreie Universität Berlin – The university itself uses exclusively the untranslated name on its English language website and in foreign language correspondence. Furthermore, there is no evidence that English language sources use a translated version of the name in equal quantity to the real name. Google.com shows 2.5 million hits for "Freie Universität Berlin" whereas only 400k hits for "Free University of Berlin". DE481889 (talk) 18:46, 13 October 2015 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:COMMONNAME. WP does not generally use the official name as the title, unless it is also the most commonly used name. Here, it's pretty clear that the English translation is used much more often in English-language reliable sources. Look at this ngram comparing "the Free University of Berlin" with "the Freie Universität Berlin"+"the Freie Universitat Berlin" - the English translation gets over 70% of the results. (Note: ngrams are now seven years out-of-date, and the trend in this one favors increasing use of the German name. However, given that fourteen years ago, the English name was used 80% of the time, and that seven years ago it was used 70% of the time, it is reasonable to assume that current usage remains well above 50%.) The German name is not unknown in English reliable sources, but we should go with the name most sources use. Dohn joe (talk) 16:56, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose: per above and the oppose rationales from the 2011 discussion. The usage of the German name in English-language press would have to be much more dominant than it is in order to justify not using the translation. Vrac (talk) 17:55, 14 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Oppose WP:UE This is English Wikipedia, use English. WP:OFFICIALNAME we do not use official names just because it is official, we use common names. -- 70.51.44.60 (talk) 05:08, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
  • Comment I'm agreeing with common name over official name. But regarding the Ngram, which seems to be the only evidence supporting the translated name as the "common name": I could be wrong, but doesn't Google Books scrawl only books? And isn't that only a tiny slice of overall usage? Should not the overall English language Google results count instead of the Google Books results? DE481889 (talk) 22:59, 15 October 2015 (UTC)
Google Books collects a wide variety of print material - books, journals, etc. And by and large, its sources are much more WP:RELIABLESOURCES than what you find in a Google search. Dohn joe (talk) 02:52, 16 October 2015 (UTC)
But do the guidelines regarding 'reliable sources' really apply here? Because the question isn't verification of a particular fact, but determining how much one name or another is used in all English language conversation around the world. Isn't a broader method like a Google search of all English language sources exactly what you would want for that? DE481889 (talk) 13:51, 17 October 2015 (UTC)
It might if that were the standard. But it isn't - WP:AT says that we base our titling decisions on reliable sources, not on conversational usage. WP:COMMONNAME in particular says that a half dozen times. So that's why a Google Books search is much better than a regular Google search for this question. Dohn joe (talk) 21:26, 17 October 2015 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

External links modified[edit]

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