1811: First university courses

Within the Imperial Academy created by Napoleon

1811: first university courses


lthough it is customary to consider that Liège owes its university to William I, King of the Netherlands, it must be admitted that the first Liège university charter was the imperial decree of 17 March 1808. The Principality of Liège, like the rest of present-day Belgium, was then part of the Empire of Napoleon I. The decree organised the Imperial University and designated Liège as headquarters of an Academy. Its first rector, Franz-Antoine Percelat, a Strasbourgeois, proposed to create a Faculty of Sciences first.

A priority which was justified by the industrial activity of the four departments which constituted the Liège Academy:  Ourthe, Meuse-inférieure, Roer et Sambre-et-Meuse. This Faculty was created by a decree from 25 September 1811, which can be considered as the actual date of the beginning of university activities in Liège. The new Faculty was set up in the buildings of the Jesuit College, still occupied today by the University of Liège. The first courses, taught by four teachers, were given on December 9 of the same year. Although the creation of the Faculty of Letters, which was also provided for in the decree, would take time to arrive, the teaching of medicine made notable progress under the Empire.

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