The Grand Duke Paul-Friedrich-August of Oldenburg founded the nautical college at the instigation of the owners of shipping companies in Elsfleth.
The importance of the Elsfleth nautical college as a civilian training institute for mates and chief mates spread beyond regional boundaries. This led to the construction of a new building in Peterstrasse, demolished in 1975.
Training of navigators for the German navy.
Second World War:
The nautical college was transferred to Danzig for the duration of the war.
First post-war training course for navigational officers.
Move to the present-day building in Weserstrasse.
Introduction of degree course in Maritime and Port Economics
Introduction of degree course in International Transport Management
Construction of a new building for the ship handling simulator. Initially the simulator consisted of four bridges (now five) with a visual system and was installed by Kongsberg Maritime Systems, the world’s leading ship handling simulator manufacturer.
Building of the Maritime Campus housing the University of Applied Science, the vocational training college for ship mechanics, student residences, student cafeteria, library and Maritime Research Centre.
Introduction of the Master’s degree in Maritime Management.
Modernisation of the main building.
Building of the Maritime Safety Training Academy on the maritime campus.
The Oldenburg regional Nautical College was inaugurated on August 20th 1832. Before it was founded there was no recognised mandatory teaching for mariners and masters in training. At the time, such training was optional, taken if thought necessary. In the early years the classes took place in the hostel in Deichstrasse, now Deichstrasse 5, which soon turned out to be too small, leading to the acquisition of the building at Steinstrasse 19. Mr. von Freeden was appointed head of the college.
The nautical college has always been highly regarded in Elsfleth. In order to strengthen the links between the residents of the town and the students still further, the “Verein der Freunde der Seefahrstschule” (Association of friends of the nautical college) was established in 1930. This group made possible the purchase of the steam launch "Ahoi" and the motor-yacht "Seefahrt". The nautical college was hit hard when it was announced in 1943 that it would be closed in favour of the colleges in the larger port cities. In the same year the entire equipment was transferred to Danzig where it was destroyed during the war.
The nautical college was re-established in the first year after the war and shortly afterwards the training of navigation officers was restarted. A lorry-load of teaching materials from the disbanded naval college in Flensburg-Murwick laid the foundation for the new start.
As it soon became clear that the existing building could not keep pace with new developments, Captain Kruse, the director of the college, submitted an application in 1953 for a new and larger building. In 1957, the year in which the college celebrated its 125th anniversary, approval for a new building was given. The ground on which it was to be built belonged to the Elsfleth shipyard and could only be acquired by the town by way of exchange. On March 1st 1961 the first classes took place in the new building at 52 Weserstrasse and two months later the new nautical college was officially launched.
In the course of time the college was upgraded. In 1970 it became possible to study for the degree of Industrial Engineer (Nautical Studies). Due to educational reforms this was later termed “Diploma”. In the same year changes to the entrance regulations made either the German Abitur (general qualification for university entrance) or the “Fachhochschulreife” (qualification for entrance to university of applied science) a prerequisite for entry. The following year the nautical college, henceforth the Faculty of Maritime Studies, became part of the University of Applied Science in Oldenburg.
In the last two decades there has been remarkable development within the Faculty. The original focus on nautical studies was broadened to include new degree courses in Maritime Economics and Port Management (1992), International Transport Management (1997), a Master’s degree in Maritime Management (2009), and finally, in 2011, the dual course of studies (academic and vocational) Nautical Studies/Ships’ mechanic. The steadily increasing student numbers led to the building of the new ship handling simulator (2001) and the founding of the Maritime Campus, where higher education, vocational education, and advanced professional training are all offered on one common campus. Today the Faculty of Maritime Studies in Elsfleth is one of the largest of its kind in Europe.