City in Lower Saxony, Germany, on the River Leine, 95 km/59 mi southeast of Hannover; population (2005 est) 121,900. Industries include printing, publishing, and the manufacture of chemicals and optical and precision instruments. Its university was founded by George II of England in 1737. After 1945 the town absorbed many refugees.
The university, with its Academy of Sciences (founded in 1751 by the Swiss physician and scientist Albrecht von Haller); and the Max Planck Association (for scientific studies) have made the city an intellectual centre; numerous Nobel Prize winners have either studied or taught here. It is also a centre for regional planning studies.
In the Middle Ages Göttingen was a textile centre and a member of the Hanseatic League, a federation of trading cities. After its foundation in 1737, the university was rechartered in 1838 as the Academia Georgia Augusta. The Göttinger Hainbund was a school of poets and writers which included Gottfried Bürger, Johann Voss (1751-1826), Ludwig Hölty, Leisewitz (d. 1806), and the Stolberg brothers: Christian (1748-1821) and Friedrich (1750-1819). The Göttingen Seven were seven professors, including Heinrich von Ewald (1803-1875), the Grimm brothers, and Georg Gervinus (1805-1871), who were expelled for political reasons by King Ernst August in 1837.
In the old town there are a number of historic churches, including St Mary's (c. 1300), formerly the church of the Teutonic Knights; and the 14th-century St John's. In front of the Altes Rathaus (Old Town Hall), constructed between 1369 and 1443, stands the Gänseliesel-Brunnen (Goose Lizzie Fountain), which should traditionally be kissed by every new graduate. Since 1981 Göttingen has hosted an International Organ Festival annually in October.
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