The (Long) Night of Freiburg University

Going to university – sometimes you love it, sometimes you hate it. Last Thursday pupils, students and anyone else who’s interested had the option to experience an unusual event – the (Long) Night of Freiburg University. From 7pm to 6am eleven lectures, five science slams and two bands entertained more people than one could possibly imagine inside the Audimax. We collected some impressions in case you missed the annual event.

9pm – Arriving back at Uni

So. Many. People. Despite the cold weather the Platz der Alten Synagoge (Square of the Old Synagogue) is packed with people and chatter, laughter and a faint smell of weed fill the air. Small groups of people are scattered across KG II, the doors to the Audimax close the second I enter the building but luckily the back entrance is still open. All the seats are taken, people are standing in the back, many are sitting of the floor and everyone is trying to find a spot where they can sit, have a drink and watch the science slammer talking about superheroes and the immune system. What is a cytolytic T-cell?

9:20pm – The suicide machine

The next lecturer talks about active and passive euthanasia and the ethical questions concerning that topic. He also shows a picture of an artwork that depicts a “suicide machine”, a device with which one could drown oneself, that is currently on display at Museum für neue Kunst. He makes sure to mention that touching, let alone using it is illegal. Some people tell depression-related jokes to their friends, but most are listening attentively.

10:20pm – Music!

The warm, stuffy air makes us feel more tired than we are. Luckily, the first band starts playing and covers some all-time classic songs which is a nice break from focussing on the lecture. Some people use the break to get another beer or stretch since it’s still too full for everyone to get a seat and many are sitting of the floor or the stairs. We decide to take a walk to get some fresh air and head to a local pub for a break.

11:45pm – The drinking game

We sneak back into the Audimax during a lecture on cultural exchange but it’s difficult to get the gist of it after missing the first half. By now there are some free seats but it’s still pretty full. During the break even more people arrive to listen to the punk band that is now playing. At first there are some technical difficulties but soon people start dancing. The audience is a lot louder than earlier, maybe thanks to the high number of empty beer and wine bottles standing and lying on, under and next to the tables. The next lecturer continues in that spirit and combines his lecture on facts, fakes and post-modernism with a drinking game. Whenever he says “Geist” everyone takes a sip and while he can’t keep up with the students he doesn’t seem to mind the rowdier parts of the audience too much.

01:10am – Rats on coke

The next science slammer seems a little nervous at first but soon has captured the attention of the entire audience. She talks about how marihuana could be used to help people to quit other (harder) drugs and supports her argument with a beautifully designed powerpoint, colourful gifs and a demonstration using a bubble gun. When she mentions rats that coke infusions in their brains some people cheer but most seem to thank fate that they didn’t end up as a lab rat.

01:25am – Social anxiety

Good news – since everyone is anxious sometimes we don’t have to act so tough after all. This lecturer talks about social anxiety and ways to treat it and even though she focusses on children the audience is calmer and more attentive again. Who knows what one could learn so late at night? In order to get back on schedule the film before the next lecture is cancelled and even though we planned an leaving, we decide to stay for a few minutes and see what it’s about.

02:15am – Monkeys, snakes and Schalke

When talking about the event before only one person wanted to see this lecture. Why? Probably because the rest of us already failed to understand the title “Willst Dau, Hannes, noh Bresilje ziehe, wo Deich Schlange unn die Affe kriehe”. But even if one isn’t particularly interested in linguistics the charismatic lecturer uses a mixture of jokes, memes and personal anecdotes that keep the now small but attentive audience under his spell. After all that time in the same room you don’t even notice the stuffiness anymore – at least until some guy and his doner kebab arrive and suddenly the smell is overpowering.

03:00am – Nighty night!

No matter how much we’d love to hear one more talk – a brewer talking about beer and the German purity law – it’s too late, we need some fresh air and a few hours of sleep before going back to uni in the morning. Walking through town at 3am on a weeknight is a nice way to process all the input of the night – superheroes, suicide, bingo, Geist, drinking, rats, coke, anxiety, Schalke, snakes and much more. As always, some lectures were more interesting than others, some topics surprisingly funny and some parts of the audience more attentive than others – but still, it makes us realise how many interesting topics, subjects and lectures there are and that studying is not only about taking mandatory classes.


Check out the website of Lange Nacht der Universität Freiburg here:

Find some more interesting lectures here:



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