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Map of Germany showing Göttingen
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Goettingen.jpg
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University of Göttingen

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Top: The old Auditorium Maximum (1862-65)
Bottom: New library building

Göttingen is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Göttingen. The Leine river runs through the town. Population: 129,000 (as of 2003).

Göttingen was founded in the 10th century (first mentioned in 953 as Gutingi). In medieval times the city was a member of the Hanseatic League and hence a wealthy town.

Today Göttingen is famous for its old university (Georgia Augusta, or "Georg-August-Universität"), which was founded in 1737 to become the most visited university of Europe. In 1837 seven professors protested against the absolute sovereignty of the kings of Hanover; they lost their offices, but became known as the "Göttingen Seven". They include some well-known celebrities: the Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm Weber and Georg Gervinus. Also, the German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder went to law school at the Göttingen university.

Like other university towns, Göttingen has developed its own folklore. On the day of their doctorate, postgraduate students are drawn in handcarts from the Great Hall to the Gänseliesel-Fountain in front of the Old Town Hall. There they have to climb the fountain and kiss the statue of the Gänseliesel (Goose girl). She is considered to be the most-kissed girl in the world.

Nearly untouched by allied bombing in World War II, the inner city of Göttingen is now an attractive place to live with a lot of shops, cafes and bars. Because of this, a lot of students from the Göttingen university live in the inner city and give Göttingen a remarkable young face. In 2003, 45% of the inner city population was only between 18 and 30 years of Age.

Economically, Göttingen is noted for its production of optical and fine mechanical machinery, including the Light Microscopy division of Carl Zeiss, Inc. – the region around Göttingen advertises itself as "Measurement Valley". Unemployment in Göttingen is at 12.6% (2003).

The town is twinned with Cheltenham in England, Torun in Poland, and Pau in France.

People born in Göttingen

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Gänseliesel-Fountain in front of the Old Town Hall

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