This program for guest scholars is aimed at supporting and intensifying scholarly work on the material contained in the research library in Gotha.

The research library at Schloss Friedenstein in Gotha, which belongs to the University of Erfurt, contains one of the most important collections of older printed works and manuscripts in Germany – 380,000 works printed before 1900 and approximately 11,300 volumes of handwritten material.  Alongside the State Libraries in Berlin and Munich and the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel, this places the Gotha Library among the most important libraries of historical material from the 16th and 18th centuries in Germany.

The cornerstone for all this was laid by Duke Ernst I. (1601–1675),  known as "the Pious". The scholarship program named after him makes it possible for doctoral students and post-doctoral students to spend several months working intensively with this material and the collections of the Justus Perthes Publishing House in Gotha.  The Fritz Thyssen Foundation has supported more than 150 projects since 2004. The scholarship program is assisted by the Gotha Research Center at the University of Erfurt.

The scholarly focus of the scholarship program is centred on the wide variety of material and universal spirit of the Gotha Library. It is in this spirit that the program is designed to be of an open nature in terms of topics as well as interdisciplinary. The following focal points are in particular intended to provide some idea the more salient areas of the research library's collection:

  • Culture of the German and European princely court in Gotha;
  • The ducal library and formation of cultures of knowledge – from travel reports and studies of countries in the early modern period to modern geo-and astronomy sciences;
  • Critique and history of European literature – from national literature to world literature;
  • History of religious cultures in the Classical Era, Protestantism and Islam;
  • Philosophy and literature of the German and European Enlightenment

Additional information on this program and modalities relating to the award of funds can be found at the website of the Gotha Research Center at:

Applications should be sent directly to the Director of the Research Center for Culture and Social Scientific Studies in Gotha:

Awards Commission
Herzog Ernst Grants by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation
Prof. Dr. Martin Mulsow
Forschungszentrum Gotha (FGE)
Postfach 100561
D-99855 Gotha