Monasteries and Universities in Europe over the long-run

This page lists the data on the number and foundations of monasteries and universities in Western Europe published in Buringh and Van Zanden (2009) – Charting the “Rise of the West”: Manuscripts and Printed Books in Europe, A Long-Term Perspective from the Sixth through Eighteenth Centuries. In The Journal of Economic History, 69, 02, 409–445.

The visualization and the description of this research can be found in our entry on higher education here.

The table paints a detailed picture of the early rise of universities in Western Europe. By clicking on the top row, you can sort the cells and track the shift of higher learning from the mediterranean countries to the North. In the 15th century, there were 17 universities in Italy and 9 in the Iberian countries. Thereafter there were no new universities in these two regions, and only one new institution in France. But in the northern countries – especially in Germany and Central Europe – the rise of universities intensified and more universities were founded as time went on.

Estimated number of monasteries in Western Europe, 6th – 15th century – Van Zanden (2009)1
Century 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
Central Europe 0 0 0 0 16 79 458 718 695 690
Bohemia 0 0 0 0 17 32 113 119 107 113
Great Britain 236 460 463 437 437 526 1325 1530 1447 1333
France 586 988 1240 1636 2091 5051 8104 8564 8189 7554
Belgium 0 53 68 70 88 175 313 364 361 335
Netherlands 0 2 4 7 13 20 68 189 336 679
Germany 0 138 622 824 1129 1652 2873 3110 2967 2752
Switzerland 10 19 37 71 104 144 247 321 337 333
Austria 12 11 70 99 113 186 344 406 413 372
Italy 291 306 495 704 995 2072 2990 3405 3416 3333
Iberia 58 117 170 537 1340 2549 3290 3223 3003 2876
Western Europe 1193 2094 3168 4385 6343 12485 20125 21948 21270 20369
New foundations 1013 1021 1284 1533 2397 6776 8888 3836 1516 1226
Increase in % 86 58 44 48 91 63 17 6 4
Cumulative distribution of foundation dates of universities in Western Europe, 1200-1800 – Buringh & Van Zanden (2009)2
Century < 12 12 13 14 15 (I) 15 (II) 16 (I) 16 (II) 17 (I) 17 (II) 18 (I) 18 (II)
Central Europe 0 0 0 3 3 5 6 6 8 9 10 11
Bohemia 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 2
British Isles 0 1 2 2 3 5 5 7 7 7 7 7
France 0 1 4 10 13 15 15 15 16 16 16 16
Belgium 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 5 5 5 5
Germany 0 0 0 3 6 11 14 17 20 22 24 24
Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Austria 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 2 3 4 4 4
Italy 1 4 10 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17 17
Iberia 0 0 4 7 7 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
Latin West 1 6 20 44 52 66 70 80 89 93 96 97