After an extensive renovation, the Robert Koch Forum will once again become a home to research and learning. The city of Berlin has made available an additional 60 million euros in its state budget for this to happen. Where the 1905 Nobel Laureate Robert Koch once pioneered bacteriology and microbiology, more than 900 students, professors, and employees of the Hertie School will gather to learn, research, and work. From summer 2025, the graduate school will become the main tenant of the imposing, Wilhelmine-era building, bounded by Dorotheenstraße to the south and Wilhelmstraße to the west in the district of Berlin-Mitte.
The Hertie School will become the neighbor of the Einstein Center Digital Future, which has called the building home since 2017. In addition, the Robert Koch Forum will serve as the coordinating hub for the Berlin University Alliance, a network comprising the Free University, the Humboldt University, the Technical University, and Charité University Medical School.
Michael Müller, the former Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Science and Research, explained the goals the city was pursuing with the redevelopment: "For a long time, this wonderful building was in deep slumber, right in the heart of our city. We want the Robert Koch Forum once again to become a central place for science in Berlin and to enter into a wide-awake dialogue with the city. The Hertie School, the Einstein Center Digital Future, and Berlin's universities will form a lively community of tenants that wonderfully fulfills our aspirations. The size of the city’s investment should also make clear: This is not a quick paint-job, but an elaborate renovation that will do justice to the building’s historical heritage and the requirements of modern teaching and research. It is another example of the billions we’re investing in Berlin as a center for research.”
Cornelia Woll, President of the Hertie School, says: "With the new Hertie School campus on the site of the Robert Koch Forum, the Hertie School will further expand its profile as a leading university for good governance and modern statehood in Europe. We want to fill this historic site with life again. The campus, in surroundings steeped in tradition, is to become a lively place of ideas and encounters. In the heart of the capital, at the pulse of politics, business and culture."
Founded in 2014 ago by the non-profit Hertie Foundation, the Hertie School has grown continuously over the past few years. Itself a non-profit and entirely privately financed, the Hertie School is setting up five new centers of excellence for research and teaching in the fields of international security policy, EU governance, civil and constitutional rights, digital governance, and economic sustainability.
The Hertie School’s current location, Quartier 110 on Friedrichstraße, has been its home since 2008. But the building near Gendarmenmarkt does not offer sufficient space for the school to grow. "Our plans for the Robert Koch Forum include the creation of 25 seminar rooms, a library with 80 work spaces, a variable-size event hall with up to 300 seats, and the integration of two existing, historical lecture halls. With our many public events, we will fill the historic building - its charming rooms and halls, its corridors and stairwells – with life," says Axel Baisch, Managing Director of the Hertie School.