Bologna - The Surprising Success of an Educational Vision

Herrenhausen Palace
Research and Higher Education Policy

What are the achievements and where are still stumbling blocks in the Bologna process? Experts will address these questions at a symposium on April 25 - 26 in Hannover, Germany.

What are the achievements of the Bologna process? Experts will discuss the last 20 years in Hannover. (Foto: .shock -

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At the end of the 1990s France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom shared the common vision to establish a European higher education area. The so-called Bologna process began with a series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher-education qualifications. Finally, the Bologna declaration was signed by education ministers from 29 European countries in 1999. Now, twenty years later, 48 countries have joined the initiative that became a success story.

Together with the European University Association and the German Rector's Conference the Volkswagen Foundation would like to use this anniversary as an opportunity for a critical review and a debate on future perspectives.

The harshest criticism was probably expressed in 2011 by the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek who called the process "an attack on the public use of reason" and "the end of intellectual life as we know it". Has his skepticism confirmed itself at the end of the first decade of the 21st century or do we now have a really modern European education system that helps us to meet the great challenges posed by progressive globalizaton and digitization?

The focus of the symposium is not only on such a big question, but above all on the many practical challenges we face today, such as:

  • What importance do we attach to the Bachelor's degree?
  • What is the Master's for?
  • What distinguishes Ph.D. students from early career researchers?
  • Which future skills and competencies do graduates need today?
  • What infrastructural prerequisites must be created to ensure student mobility?
  • Which elements should we add to improve the European higher education system?

Herrenhausen Symposium
"Bologna and the Move Towards a European Higher Education Area: The Surprising Success of an Educational Vision?"
April 25 & 26, 2019
Herrenhausen Palace, Hanover, Germany


The program of the Symposium can be found in the column on the right.


If you would like to attend the symposium, please register by clicking on the registration link in the column on the right. There are no fees for attendance but registration is essential.


The conference language is English.

Venue and public transport

The conference is held at Herrenhausen Palace in Hanover, Germany. You can reach the venue by tram: Take line 4 or 5 and get off at "Herrenhäuser Gärten".