UFr – Germany

Albert-Ludwigs Universität Freiburg, Germany

Already a comprehensive university at its founding in 1457, the University of Freiburg still offers undergraduate and graduate studies as well as professorial qualification in all important disciplines today: the humanities, natural and engineering sciences, medicine, law, and theology. This diversity also provides an ideal environment for innovative interdisciplinary studies. More than 24,000 students from over 100 nations are matriculated in 180 degree programmes at 11 faculties.

Physical Geography is part of the Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography. Geography at the Uni-Freiburg covers both Human and Physical Geography, with a focus on Applied Regional Geography and Global Change. One important field in this context is geo communication. Since 1997, Freiburg geography has a research group which focuses on heritage interpretation. This group was among the first to transfer this approach from North America to Central Europe. Applied research in heritage interpretation investigates the transmission of meanings and understanding of relationships to visitors through exhibitions, guided tours or self-guided trails. As an applied discipline heritage interpretation has a strong impact on heritage related tourism as professional interpretation can significantly enhance the visitor experience of natural and cultural heritage assets.

Uni-Freiburg carried out a number of projects in the context of EU programmes. E.g. the Transinterpret project developed an approach to set up quality standards for professional heritage interpretation in rural areas. From this collaboration, Interpret Europe – the European Association for Heritage Interpretation – emerged, which currently has more than 500 members from 50 countries.

The heritage interpretation working group has carried out many projects on nature-based tourism for nature parks, national parks or biosphere reserves. Natural resource management and heritage interpretation are their key competences.