Danube University Krems is the leading university for continuing education. As the only public university for continuing education within the German-speaking countries, Danube University Krems sets the standards for lifelong learning. In 1995 it opened its doors to students and was first created as a competence center for scientific specialization that focused on the pressing challenges at the time designing study courses accordingly. Today, three faculties with 17 departments are successfully engaged in teaching and research; up to 20,000 people have graduated from the University for Continuing Education.

Follow us on this site through 20 successful, exciting years.


From pilot project to leading university of continuing education

In the early 1980’s the idea was born to create a new type of university in Lower Austria. In 1987 the provincial scientific academy began developing a postgraduate program, and in 1994 the National Assembly moved to build a university center for continuing education. This laid the cornerstone for the inauguration of Danube University Krems in 1995.

Danube University Krems has its roots in the early Eighties. When the then Provincial Governor, Siegfried Ludwig, pledged his commitment to an own provincial capital, plans for a university in Lower Austria were also formed. Not as competition for the large, traditional universities in Vienna, but as an innovation. The brainstorming sessions of the workgroup “University Institutions in Lower Austria” ranged from an environmental, third world and even peace university. The Provincial and Federal Governments demonstrated foresight by deciding to focus on university-based continuing education.

In 1987, a provincial scientific academy in Krems began working on developing postgraduate programs. At the end of 1990, after a working agreement was concluded with the Federal Government, “Danube University for postgraduate and continuing education“ was projected. Then, in the spring of 1994, the National Assembly moved to build the “University Center for Further Studies, to be named Danube University Krems.” On 13 September 1995 the university finally opened its doors on the premises of the former tobacco factory Krems Stein.

Founding principles

  • Danube University Krems is a postgraduate university.
  • Further education at Danube University Krems is based on three pillars: teaching, research, and service.
  • Danube University Krems is a public university guided by private sector criteria.
  • Danube University Krems strategically focuses on the future whilst imparting responsible thinking and behaviour.
  • Danube University Krems is cosmopolitan and yet deeply rooted.
  • Danube University Krems puts quality first. It is small and focuses on its customers’ needs.
  • Danube University Krems is a campus university, a cultural center and meeting place.

Courses start in the winter semester 1995/96

ersten MBA Courses began only a few weeks after inauguration with 93 students enrolled in three majors in European Integration and Journalism. In September 1997, Danube University became entitled to award the new academic degree Master of Advanced Studies. One month later, the first Austrian master‘s degrees were awarded in the presence of the Science Minister, Caspar Einem. This was followed in 1998 by the first Master of Business Administration (MBA) graduates in Austria.

Despite being a publicly funded university, Danube University Krems aligned itself with modern governance and management structures. It operated like a business, hired staff in compliance with national labour regulations, implemented management by objectives and officially reported its activities in the first financial report delivered by an Austrian university. In this way Danube University Krems demonstrated its pioneering role with respect to university administration, too, and was at the forefront of the push for full legal capacity for universities, which in the meantime has been implemented. Many of the principles outlined in the “Federal Law on the University for Continuing Education Krems” have since been incorporated into the University Act 2002.

In 2004, the former “University Center for Further Studies” - renamed “University for Continuing Education” – was deservedly awarded official status as Austria’s 22nd public university, thus obtaining the right to appoint professors and firmly establish its scientific reputation.

The latest milestones: 2014, Danube University Krems was given the right to award doctorates. Their first two PhD studies were accredited by the Agency for Quality Assurance and Accreditation Austria, AQ-Austria for short, in spring 2015.  Additionally Danube University Krems’ quality management system was certified by AQ-Austria.

Lifelong learning as a trend

When, in the winter semester 1995/96, the first 93 students enrolled in Danube University Krems, a new chapter in university-based education began. The innovative university not only set standards in Austria and other German-speaking countries, it also attracted the notice of the rest of Europe. On the one hand, the pilot project that became such a success story is largely thanks to the strong commitment and forward thinking endeavors of its staff; on the other hand, it is due also to the support from regional and federal government.


Furthermore, continuing education has acquired supreme importance in the past two decades. In many professions it has become essential to regularly update knowledge and skills, and to gain new competencies.  Danube University Krems recognized early on that the trend to lifelong learning would continue, and has successfully helped shape this trend for 25 years.

From a Tobacco factory to an Intellectual workshop

The Danube University Krems building was originally a tobacco factory, constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. The industrial building was planned by the architect Paul Hoppe, a student of Otto Wagner. Eight-hundred laborers rolled Virginier cigars here for nearly 70 years. In 1995 the tobacco factory was adapted and converted into a university for advanced education. In 2005 it was expanded into the Campus Krems and received a modern counterpart made of glass, steel and aluminum.

Kunsthalle krems

The cigar factory was established in Stein, in the district of Krems, because of its favorable traffic situation on the banks of the Danube and because of its proximity to Vienna. The old tobacco factory building which is separated from the "new" building by the Stein prison, houses the Kunst.Halle.Krems (Art Hall of Krems) today. This house was originally a restaurant, purchased by the Ministry of Finance in 1850 by official order. The production of cigars was started here just three months later. In 1865 about 600 laborers were producing more than 41 million cigars. The Virginia, a 20-centimeter-long, thin, slightly curved cigar made from strong Virginia and Kentucky tobacco, with a straw in its core (see picture above right), became a speciality of the Tobacco Monopoly’s range of products and one of the most popular cigars among the population of Vienna. Therefore, despite numerous financial difficulties the authorities decided to build a new Virginier factory in 1918.

Annual production of more than 75 million cigars

fassade The three-storied ferroconcrete skeleton structure in the form of a "third baroque" building which houses Danube University Krems today was constructed between 1919 and 1922. The new factory was inaugurated on 16 June 1922 by Dr. Karl Dorrek, who was the Executive Director of the Tobacco Factories at the time. The street adjoining the building was named after him later on. The Austria Tabakwerke (Austrian Tobacco Factories), previously known as the Austrian Tobacco Monopoly was a "social model" among Austria’s industrial institutions. It created a large number of charitable facilities like invalid and health insurances, treatment rooms for the company doctor, a company canteen and a public bath for laborers, children’s homes and – by the standards of those times – large apartments for laborers.

zigarre For a few decades, about 800 laborers produced Virginier cigars manually in the new factory. In 1931 the factory achieved its highest production standard – it was producing 75 million cigars. On account of the drop in the consumption of cigars, the production had to be reduced from the 1980’s. In 1991 it was fully stopped. Thus, the Virginier factory in Stein – along with a shoe factory in the Krems valley – was the largest and most important employer for the female population of Stein and its environs for a period of more than 100 years.

Sensitively re-designed according to Manfred Wehdorn’s plan

This building – after being transformed from a tobacco factory to a university for advanced education – is again playing an important role in this region today. It is the work-place of more than 200 individuals, a pulse generator in terms of science, and a cultural meeting point. In 1987, when it was decided to establish the Academy of Science in the Province of Lower Austria, the architect Manfred Wehdorn was asked to re-design the historical building in the tradition of the "hometown style". The reconstruction was planned with due regard to preserving and protecting the historical building, and also in accordance with economical criteria. The historical height of the rooms was not altered so that the charm of the industrial building could be retained. In 1995 Danube University Krems moved into the newly adapted rooms. The middle tract of the building was renovated and extended from 2002 to 2003. Simultaneously, the construction of the new Krems Campus was started. It will be completed in 2005. A modern building made of  steel, glass and aluminum will be erected opposite to the existing building. It will be harmoniously integrated into the historical landscape.

Donau Uni Campus Neu

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