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1851 – 1965: Foundation phase and 80 years of „Geographical Institute“ exhibiting a classical, two-part structure of chairs

The Department of Geography and Regional Research of the University of Vienna is the oldest geographical institute of Austria and the third oldest (following Berlin and Göttingen) in Central Europe. The first chair for Geography was established in 1851 by Friedrich Simony. After his retirement in 1885, the “Geographical Institute” had been founded, including two chairs - one for “Physical Geography” and one for “Cultural- and Historical Geography”.

1965 – 1980: Expansion phase

In the mid-1960s, the growth of Austrian universities, the rising number of students as well as the high reputation of the subject “Geography” lead to a strong expansion of the institute. In rapid succession, further professorships were developed in order to cover the research and teaching needs in the fields of “Regional Geography”, “Cartography” and “Spatial Research and Spatial Planning”. Finally, at the end of the 1970s, a professorship for “Landscape Ecology” had been established. At that time, the institute had five full professorships and one associate professorship as well as approximately 20 other scientific employees.

Developments since 1980

In 1999, the institute has been renamed to “Department of Geography and Regional Research”. Besides the realization of some adaptations, the structural organization of research groups which existed at the end of the expansion phase is still prevalent. The reinstallation and expansion of labs and other facilities in the interest of a modern infrastructure as well as the growing number of employees also lead to a spatial extension of the department. In 2011, the Department of Geography and Regional Research has a staff of approximately 65 employees as well as approx. 2,100 students, hence being the largest Geography Department in Austria.

Department of Geography and Regional Research
University of Vienna

Universitätsstrasse 7
1010 Vienna
T: +43-1-4277-486 01
F: +43-1-4277-9531
University of Vienna | Universitätsring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43-1-4277-0