The Baltic Sea School Berlin (Ostsee-Kolleg) is without equivalent
in the German academia. Thanks to its affiliation to the Department
for Northern European Studies at Humboldt-Universität and its
excellent contacts with higher education institutions throughout
the entire region, the Baltic Sea School Berlin is able to offer
an institutional umbrella for a broad variety of study and research
activities related to the politics, culture, history, and economy
of the Baltic Sea region.
The Baltic Sea School was established in 2001. It was initially
designed as a temporary programme with the aim of creating an "International
Quality Network" (IQN) for science and research in the Baltic
Sea Region, with financial support from the German Academic Exchange
Service (DAAD) and Humboldt-Universität. The Baltic Sea School
programme complemented to a similar EU funded research and exchange
programme that had already been started in 2000: "The Baltic
Sea Area Studies: Northern Dimension of Europe" or, in short,
The Baltic Sea School and BaltSeaNet were both international and
multidisciplinary projects, with particular focus on political science,
cultural and media studies, economics, history and geography.
Another similarity of the two programmes was their commitment to
international networking, which soon involved a growing number of
universities in all countries surrounding the Baltic Sea: from Greifswald
(Germany) to Gdansk (Poland), from Vilnius (Lithuania) via Riga
(Latvia) and Tartu (Estonia) to St. Petersburg (Russia), and from
Copenhagen (Denmark) vis Oslo (Norway), Lund and Södertörn/Stockholm
(Sweden) to Turku and Helsinki (Finland).
This network of co-operating universities developed over the years
a lively and fruitful and several guest lecturers during their stay
in Berlin. BaltSeaNet provided grants to about 40 young researchers
for the purpose of spending a study period abroad at a partner institution.
Correspondingly, the Baltic Sea School supported 20 doctoral students,
2 junior professors and several guest lecturers during their stay
in Berlin. Other activities included the realisation of seminars,
work shops, summer and winter schools, symposia and conferences
which resulted in a series of books and working papers. Many of
these documents have been made available via the internet and can
be obtained in our archive.
The most innovative achievement of the Baltic Sea School programme
has been the drafting of a curriculum for a "Master in Baltic
Sea Region Studies". The new training programme was put into
practise in a one year test with 13 students from 8 countries (see
Master 2003). Although the pilot project
became a success, it proved too difficult to secure adequate financial
and human resources in order to establish the master programme at
Humboldt-Universität on a permanent basis. We remain nevertheless
committed to achieve this goal.
The Baltic Sea School and BaltSeaNet programmes had to be concluded
by the end of 2004. At the same time, a follow-up programme was
put in place entitled BalticStudyNet.
In this situation, it was decided, not only to keep Baltic Sea School
as a name but also to make this name an institutional trademark.
Hence since January 2005, Baltic Sea School is being used as the
label of an umbrella organisation at the Department for Northern
European Studies which is designed to unite all study and research
activities relevant to the Baltic Sea region.