Press release

What would Humboldt be doing today?

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Alexander von Humboldt Foundation celebrating the 250th birthday of its namesake with a video campaign which everyone can participate in

The Humboldt Foundation is commemorating the 250th birthday of Alexander von Humboldt in 2019 with the Humboldt Today campaign. The activities revolve around a video campaign everyone can take part in.

Alexander von Humboldt is considered to be a scientist and explorer who was far ahead of his time in many areas - be it as an international networker, a pioneer in the area of climate research, or a science communicator.

How modern, how relevant is Alexander von Humboldt today, some 250 years after his birth? The Humboldt Foundation’s campaign addresses this question and offers ideas, points of view, stories and even very personal answers from scientists and partners from the Foundation’s global network.

Anyone can upload their own answer in the form of a video or photo statement at Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the journalist Ranga Yogeshwar were among the first to contribute.

The latest issue of Humboldt Kosmos, the Humboldt Foundation’s magazine, is also devoted to the Foundation’s namesake and this special anniversary year. Kosmos articles on the question of Humboldt’s relevance and modernity can also be found on the campaign’s website.

Here are some of the topics you will find at (now here):

The Humboldt Code
He was an obsessive networker, a daredevil and a marketing genius. His reports about his travels and adventures made him a star. The Prussian scholar is still revered today – 250 years after his birth. The secret of an eternal idol.

What if Humboldt were to tweet today?
He loved succinct sentences and punchlines. He took a stand against slavery, colonialism and environmental destruction. What would Humboldt say today? His words in a new light.

Interview: Everybody's Star
Be it the discoverer, Romantic, Atlanticist, climate prophet or hero of the working class: there isn’t just one Humboldt, but lots of them. The science historian Nicolaas A. Rupke has investigated how the various images of Humboldt have come about.

Research expedition: On the road with Humboldt
Alexander von Humboldt left Europe ‒ via Spain ‒ for the first time in 1799. His ambitious destination: the New World. Insights into Humboldt’s epic journey to America from 1799 to 1804. 

The campaign website was realised with the friendly support of the Stifterverband.

Further information


The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time conducting research in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Laureates.

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