The Wilhelm- Ernst- Gymnasium am Herderplatz 14 in Weimar was founded in 1712 by Duke Wilhelm Ernst and is the oldest school building in the city. Here among other things gave the writer Johann Gottfried Herder, Johann Heinrich Voss, Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer and Johann Karl August Musaeus education. The old high school is designated as a single monument and one of the few secular buildings pre-classical period in Weimar. It is up to urban prominent location in the old town and is one of three sites Weimar Herder part of the ensemble " Classical Weimar ", which was declared in 1998 by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


The Wilhelm- Ernst -Gymnasium was founded in 1712 at the behest of Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe -Weimar instead of the old Town and Country school in 1561 as a new ducal School Institute for the Gifted under the name " Wilhelminum Ernestinum ". As a teacher here had, among others, Johann Heinrich Voss, Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer and Johann Karl August Musaeus. After several years of school use took over in 1776 who was appointed by General Superintendent Weimar Johann Gottfried Herder, the director shank of the high school and was the headmaster at the same time the overall supervision of all schools of the duchy of Saxe -Weimar- Eisenach. As of 1784, the Grand Duke Karl August of Saxe- Weimar -Eisenach left the banquet hall of the Reformed church for worship. In 1800 the school received a hitherto long lacked school library ( part of which stocks came in 1950 in the city archives Weimar). In the 19th century, the building continued to serve as a humanistic Gymnasium. Increasing numbers of students led on 10 October 1887, regarding the move to a larger school building in the Weimar Amalienstraße 4 (since September 1991 Goethe School in Weimar ). The old building on Herderplatz served from 1910 as Grand Ducal Saxon Baugewerkenschule. The Wilhelm- Ernst -Gymnasium was referred only to 1945 as such. In the GDR, a Museum of Natural History was established in the former high school in 1953. In addition, the building took on the " Polytechnic center " of the Weimar schools with teaching classes and production rooms.


The school building in Baroque style, which bears the inscription "Soli Deo gloria " to date ( Latin for " Only God the glory " ), in the years 1712 to 1716, next to the Church of St. Peter and Paul was built and upon completion of master builder Christian II judges inaugurated. It is a three storey building with a high, dismounted mansard roof and roof cottage. The facade is accented by a tri-part central, which is crowned by a two storey dormer. The facade covers a sprawling, two-flight staircase that dominates the entire square. On the north side a staircase is risalitartig grown through which the floors are developed. The original probably stone staircase were replaced in 1860 by a wooden staircase. In 1976, the once spacious foyer that connected the ground floor with the upper floor, closed in favor of another classroom and built a massive stairwell as a steel structure with concrete block steps. The building has ground floor and 1st floor for six large classrooms and a hall whose stucco ceiling is still largely preserved. In the second top and on the top floor, the teacher apartments were once housed. Of the original doors and windows still a few double-leaf doors and windows remain, but the rest was replaced in later times. In GDR times, they brought in the entrance to a politically embossed mural painted tiles.

Herder wells

Before the stone steps of the Wilhelm -Ernst -Gymnasium, direction Herderplatz, since 1832 is an octagonal cast-iron fountain designed by the architects and building director upper Clemens Wenceslaus Coudray, who received the appropriate location the name " Herder fountain". He was probably cast in Lauchhammer. Its appearance is similar to the first cast iron fountain in Weimar, the " Goethe Fountain ", which was erected in 1822 on the woman plan (see: Fountain in Weimar). Again, the inlet can be seen in the well, an obelisk crowned with a crater. The gargoyle in the shape of a devil's face. A stylized snake adorns one of the plates of the fountain in its center. The plate edges, however, each bordered a continuous meander. The base, the paragraph stones as well as the dogs potions are made in contrast to the cast-iron basins of travertine.

Current usage

The premises of the now run under the name of " Old School in Weimar " building was used after 1990 by the non- commercial local radio " Lotte" ( until 2008 ) and by the neighboring community college Weimar, the latter used this until today. The UNESCO Ensemble " Classical Weimar " from the former school, the Herder House and the Church of St. Peter and Paul, known as " the Herder Church ," is currently being restored with 5.4 million euros from the " Investment Program National UNESCO World Heritage sites " of the federal government. For subsequent use, no agreement was reached. In January 2010, " Herder- Museum " was inspired by the Friends of the Goethe National Museum of the idea in the former school building set up to commemorate the work of the poet, translator, philosopher and theologian at the site of his former workplace.


Senior Directors and Deputy Vice Presidents of the High School (sorted by term ):

  • Johann Matthias Gesner (1691-1761), classical scholar and librarian - vice-principal from 1715 to 1729
  • Johann Friedrich Hirt (1719-1783), Protestant theologian, orientalist, philosopher - vice-principal from 1748 to 1758
  • Johann Gottfried Herder (1744-1803), poet, translator, theologian, philosopher, etc. - Director 1776-1791
  • Karl August Böttiger (1760-1835), philologist, archaeological writer - director from 1791 to 1806
  • Johann Friedrich Rohr (1777-1848), theologian, writer, orator Goethe's grave - Ephorus 1820
  • Sauppe Hermann (1809-1893), classical scholar, educator and epigraphists - Director 1845-1856
  • Gustav Weiland, Director 1856-1860
  • Rassow Hermann (1819-1907), Hellenist and Aristotle researchers - Director 1860-1881
  • Ilberg Hugo (1828-1883), respected high school teacher - vice-principal from 1861 to 1862
  • Less Ludwig, Director 1881-1908


Well-known teachers and professors of the high school (in order of teaching time):

  • Johann Karl August Musaeus (1735-1787), writer, philologist, fairy-tale - 1769 Professor of ancient languages ​​and history
  • Johann Traugott Leberecht Danz (1769-1851), German church historian and theologian - Teacher until 1798
  • Johann Heinrich Voss (1751-1826), poet, translator of Homer and friend of Goethe - Professor 1804-1806
  • Franz Passow (1786-1833), classical scholar - from 1807 to 1810 professor of Greek
  • Ferdinand Gotthelf Hand (1786-1851), classical scholar - from 1810 professor of philosophy and Greek literature
  • John Schulze (1786-1869), Prussian theologian, philologist, teacher and official culture - Professor 1808-1812
  • Friedrich Wilhelm Riemer (1774-1845), philologist, writer, librarian, Goethe's secretary - Professor 1812-1821
  • Henry Graefe (1802-1868), German educator - spiritual master of the grammar school
  • Christian Gottlob Troebst (1811-1888), theologian, philosopher and mathematician - Professor from 1847
  • Otto Apelt (1845-1932), classical scholar and translator - 1869-1898 senior teacher or professor

Students and graduates

Known students and graduates of the high school (sorted by year of birth):

  • August Wilhelm Hupel (1737-1819), deutschbaltischer pastor, writer
  • Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1747-1822), publisher and patron
  • Johann Gottlob Bernstein (1747-1835), German physician, professor of medicine
  • August von Kotzebue (1761-1819), playwright and writer, Russian Consul General - High School 1777
  • Christian August Vulpius (1762-1827), German writer, librarian, Goethe's brother-
  • Carl Leberecht Schwabe (1778-1851), mayor of the city of Weimar, Saxony- Weimarischer Councilor
  • Gottlob King (1779-1849), German forest scientists - students 1790-1794
  • Charles Benoît Hare ( Charles Benedict Hase ) ( 1780-1864 ), Hellenist, paleograph, professor and librarian
  • Wilhelm Martin Leberecht de Wette (1780-1849), theologian
  • Hieronymus Mueller (1785-1861), scholar and translator
  • Johann Gottlob Töpfer (1791-1870), organist and composer - Students 1804-1808
  • Karl Wilhelm Göttling (1793-1869), classical scholar
  • Emil Huschke (1797-1858), anatomist, zoologist and embryologist - Students from 1811
  • Johann Christian Lobe (1797-1881), composer and music theorist - Students 1804-1811
  • Heinrich August Aemilius Danz (1806-1881), German jurist - Students from 1820
  • Carl Zeiss (1816-1888), mechanic and entrepreneur (optics) - Pupils to 1832
  • Karl Eckermann (1834-1891), German landscape painter
  • Alfred Götze (1865-1948), German prehistorians, museum director - Students 1875-1886
  • Hans election (1885-1949), Goethe scholar, museum and archive manager - Students from 1894
  • Georg Hair (1887-1945), founder and notary - Students 1897-1906
  • Felix Raabe (1900-1996), conductor and musicologist - Secondary School 1919
  • Othmar Jauernig (* 1927), German legal scholar