Selmec Academy


July 5, 2022

The founding of the mining and metallurgical educational institute (Bergschule, Berg Schola), which is the predecessor of the Selmec Academy, can be traced back to the minutes of the Vienna Court Chamber dated June 22, 1735. Based on this, an educational institute was established in Selmecbánya, the task of which was vocational training in mining and metallurgy; the training of technical specialists who can be experts in the field of mining, mining law, mine measurement, ore preparation, espionage-metallurgy, and coinage-gold exchange, and are capable of performing production, administrative and legal tasks. The Bergschule provided a two-year training period. Due to the large-scale development of the natural sciences, after a few decades of operation, it was radically reorganized. In 1763, a new type of institution began its operation, which was gradually expanded over the next 7 years. It was completed in 1770, at which time it switched to the three-year training system, and Mária Terézia raised it to academic rank, and from then on its name was Bergakademie, i.e. mining and metallurgical academy. In 1846, the forestry institute founded in 1808 was connected to it, and from that time on, education was offered in four grades (three for foresters). Among the teachers and professors of the institution, we can find many world-renowned professionals who belong to the international forefront of the profession: Sámuel Mikoviny, Nikolaus Jacquin, Giovanni Antonio Scopoli, Christoph Traugott Delius, Christian Doppler, Antal Kerpely, István Farbaky, Emil Herrmann, Ottó Cséti and many others. The educational institute is the oldest, viable mining and metallurgical school, engineering training, technical higher education institution, the legal predecessor of the University of Miskolc and the University of Sopron. It was also a pioneer in that it was the first state-founded (non-church) educational institution within the Habsburg Empire. The Academy - this name officially ceased in 1904, when it was organized as a college - was forced to cease operations in Selmecbány after the First World War and moved to Sopron in 1919. During the 19th century, a unique system of traditions developed among the students of the academy, which has been alive in the successor institutions ever since. As a spiritual cradle, in the usage of student traditions, it is still customary to call the institution by the name Academy, regardless of the changes that occurred after 1904.


For centuries, Hungary was at the forefront of European precious metal production. In the 13th century, the country produced five-sixths of the gold and one-quarter of the silver produced on the continent. Later, in the 15–16 In the 19th century, the country also played a world political role in copper production. In the 1770s, 30% of state income came from mining and metallurgy. By the 18th century, the center of domestic mining and metallurgy was already in the Selmecbánya area. The technological level, the management methods and the expertise concentrated here have been recognized all over Europe. At the same time, however, the ore deposits that had been easily mined until then were slowly exhausted, the miners had to extract the raw materials from deeper and deeper, and the metallurgists had to implement more economical ore extraction and the processing of ore types that were more difficult to smelt. All of this required well-trained specialists, who are prepared according to new principles and new themes to solve professional tasks. Until then, European university education was almost exclusively humanistic in nature (languages, philosophy, theology), the teaching of mathematics and physics was dominated by philosophical aspects, and chemistry was discussed according to the principles left over from the Middle Ages, even superficially. The only modern training based on exact foundations was implemented in the field of military engineering. The situation