The 2015 SOMP - Annual General Meeting & Conference takes place in Freiberg, Saxony, Germany.
The 26th SOMP Annual General Meeting will be hosted in a banquet hall in the "Ratskeller Freiberg", a medieval building constructed in 1545 as a municipal department store. Located directly on the northern edge of the Obermarkt, the building lies in the middle of the city center. In former days the building was used for social events like masked balls and theatre plays. Restored in 1986, the hall is nowadays used for festive receptions and conferences, while on the ground floor you can find a restaurant.
The hall is spacious and can seat up to 240 attendants. Additional rooms are available to host all the individual sessions and meetings of the committees. The meeting venue is within a walking distance of a few minutes from the main accommodation facilities as well as from all the main points of interest in the town center. The hall of the meeting is located on the 1st floor.
History of Freiberg
Freiberg (German for "free mountain") is a university and mining town in the Federal State of Saxony, Germany. It is a so-called Große Kreisstadt (large county town) and the administrative center of Mittelsachsen district (Middle Saxony). The town has a population of about 45,000 inhabitants.
Freiberg was founded in 1186 by Otto the Rich (Otto der Reiche) Margrave of Meissen, who had the great idea of allowing free men to dig for silver ore in Freiberg and thus became the inventor of free commerce in Europe. The silver mining of Freiberg made him and his family, as well as the whole of Saxony, rich for hundreds of years. This is one of the reasons why the kingdom of Saxony kept its independence within the German domain until the XIXth century. Freiberg quickly became the major town and economic center of the whole ore mountain mining region.
Until 1969, the town was dominated for around 800 years by the mining and smelting industries.
In recent decades it has restructured into a high technology site in the fields of semiconductor manufacture and solar technology, part of Silicon Saxony.
TU Bergakademie Freiberg
The mining academy was founded by Prince Franz Xaver in 1765 and today is the oldest mining and metallurgy university in the world, celebrating its 250th birthday this year.
Currently the Technical university consists of six faculties (Mathematics and Informatics; Chemistry, Biology and Physics; Geoscience, Geoengineering and Mining; Mechanical Engineering; Material Sciences; Business Administration and Economics.
Highlights and Sightseeing
In Freiberg, you may visit still active mines, albeit used only for education, research, and tourism. Silver, the primary commodity over many centuries, is no longer mined today , but the heritage of silver mining is evident wherever you go. The university took the opportunity of making its history ready for the future by owning and operating the Forschungs- und Lehrbergwerk (Experimental and Educational mine) including two historical mines, the "Reiche Zeche“ and the "Alte Elisabeth". The many well-preserved buildings bear witness to Freiberg’s splendid past. Not only the legendary mining heritage, but also its unique medieval architecture make the town a charming tourist destination. Surrounded by magnificent patrician houses on the Obermarkt, the statue of Otto the Rich proudly overlooks the 15th century city hall. Nearby, the oldest municipal theater in the world is nowadays a busy cultural focal point.
Another highlight is the late gothic cathedral, "Freiberger Dom", that dominates the skyline of the "Untermarkt" (Lower Market) and has several aspects that make it unique. Two of the famous baroque Silbermann organs are found here, making an organ concert an absolute must for every visitor. The cathedral's art treasures include the romanesque Goldene Pforte (Golden Portal), the burial chapel of the Saxonian kings, and the tulip-shaped pulpit.
Freiberg offers some fascinating museums and collections. Well worth a visit are both the Municipal History and Mining Museum (Stadt-und Bergbaumuseum) and the University's famous Terra Mineralia (a mineral collection with extensive specimen all over the world). The 12th-century Castle Freudenstein has become home for the state mining archives and the world's largest and most exciting mineral collection organized by the university. Visitors can enjoy a stunning mineralogical tour of remarkable and exquisite minerals from around the world and explore German mining history.
Travelling to Freiberg
Freiberg does not have an own airport and the closest international airports are in Dresden, Berlin, Leipzig and Prague (Czech Republic). Dresden airport serves many low-fare airlines from almost everywhere in Europe. Lufthansa and several big airlines also offer combinations to Dresden airport in connection with their regular international flights to Munich and Frankfurt.
Freiberg is well connected with Dresden by train, with a 40-50min trip in new comfortable regional trains every one hour, even more frequently in rush hours. You can manage your train travel here.
Finally, Freiberg has offices of several of the international car rental companies, thus the city is reachable from any of these airports with a one-way car rental.