The University of Bern, based in the Swiss capital, was officially founded in 1834 - although it can trace its roots back to the 16th century, when it became compulsory for monks to be educated in a higher education institution.
It was in the 1800s, however, that the university was officially founded, growing in size throughout the 19th and 20th centuries in line with the city of Bern’s own booming fortunes.
The university played a key role in the evolution of women's studies. Even in 1870, the the institution had a female student -Catharina Gontscharoff - registered. In 1899, the institution’s Female Students' Society was established, representing women's interests. Its motto was: "Same Rights, Same Duties".
The university has some prestigious former faculty members. Albert Einstein taught theoretical physics at Bern in 1908, and the following year the Russian philiospher Anna Tumarkin became a professor (and the first European lecturer to accept PhD students).
The University of Bern is not located on a single, main campus. Instead, its faculties and schools are based in the Länggasse area - a district net to the city centre known as the academic part of the town.
The institution has also obtained and repurposed other buildings in the area. Its Faculty of Theology (along with some other faculties), for example, is based in a former chocolate factory. Another former factory known as the vonRoll site is also to be turned into a university building, and will house the Department of Social Sciences.
Famous alumni of the university include philosopher Walter Benjamin, Nobel Prizewinner for chemistry Kurt Wüthrich, and the writer John le Carré.