CHILE-HAUS-FREIBERG: New Meeting Place for Guest Scientists Opens Thanks to Donor Dr. Erika Krüger

On 19 October, Dr. Erika Krüger formally donated the CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG to the University. Chairperson of the Executive Board of the Dr. Erich Krüger Foundation, Dr. Erika Krüger is a generous donor to TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

The new guest house was built to accommodate doctoral and post-doctoral students and professors from Chile and other South American countries during their stays in Freiberg, which can often last for several months. Dr. Erika Krüger financed the construction of the guest house with a donation of more than one million euro from her private funds. 

The donation ceremony took place in the Senatsaal (Senate Hall) of TU Bergakademie Freiberg, and was attended by Ambassador Patricio Pradel, the highest political representative of the Republic of Chile in Germany, along with representatives of Chilean universities. 

“The new meeting place bears testimony to the hospitality and openness of our internationally recognized university, and also points the way in Freiberg. This donation supports the internationality of the excellent research and teaching at the Bergakademie. We are very grateful to Dr. Krüger for her multifaceted dedication to our university – and to the people who are teaching, learning and doing research here,” said Rector Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht.

Dr. Erika Krüger had the CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG built with more than one million euro from her own funds. “I hope that this house will be a further link in the relationships between TU Bergakademie Freiberg and Chilean universities,” she said at the opening ceremony. In this manner, Dr. Erika Krüger has supported the strategy of internationalization pursued by TU Bergakademie Freiberg, including its efforts to establish even closer cooperation with Chile and South America. Such cooperation includes the already close and long-standing relationships that are bundled in the Domeyko Initiative – a German-Chilean training project in the field of mining science that aims to counteract the shortage of skilled workers in the resource industry.

The CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG signifies the opening of another international house of study and cooperation, offering foreign guest scientists and students a home and a perfect working environment from which they can carry out their research and work at TU Bergakademie Freiberg.

In addition, Rector Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Barbknecht and representatives of the Universidad de Santiago de Chile signed a double doctoral contract. The Chilean doctoral student Gerardo Retamal is aiming to complete the first double doctorate, and has been one of the first four residents of the CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG since the end of September. As part of the ceremony, he provided guests with an insight into his research. 

The CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG is a continuation of the long-standing commitment of the Dr. Erich Krüger Foundation in Freiberg. Like Dr. Erika Krüger in a private capacity, the foundation is particularly committed to the promotion of young talent. They have financed and continue to finance German scholarships for students (Foundation: 142; private: 30) and numerous doctoral students. In the area of research funding, two Krüger Research Colleges have been funded so far by the Dr. Erich Krüger Foundation: the Freiberger Hochdruck-Forschungszentrum (Freiberg High-Pressure Research Centre) and the Freiberger Biohydrometallurgische Zentrum (Freiberg Biohydrometallurgical Centre for Strategic Elements). In addition, Dr. Erika Krüger has already made a lasting contribution to the renovation and improvement of the area around Freiberg's Schlossplatz with the Krüger-Haus, and the new guest house is setting standards for Freiberg's urban planning.

Domeyko Network and Other Cooperative Projects

The Domeyko network was initiated four years ago with start-up funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The three partner universities in the Domeyko network are the Universidad de Concepción, the Universidad Católica de Norte in Antofagasta, and the Universidad de Atacama in Copiapó (see: In addition, TU Bergakademie Freiberg works closely with the Universidad de Santiago de Chile and the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, and particularly in the fields of microbial ore leaching and iron oxidation.

To date, 14 Chileans have come to Freiberg within the framework of the DAAD project “Jungingenieure aus Chile” (Young Engineers from Chile) for an additional period of study of from three months to two semesters. 

Chilean Students at TU Bergakademie Freiberg

In the winter semester 2016/2017, 34 Chileans were enrolled at TU Bergakademie Freiberg (with Chile ranked ninth among all of the groups of international students in Freiberg – in total, around 22 percent of students in Freiberg are from abroad). Most of the students study in the fields of geotechnical engineering/mining and geosciences, followed by students of mineralogy and of economics. Chilean students are enrolled in all six faculties at the Bergakademie. Eleven Chilean students have enrolled for the new winter semester 2017/18 (as of October 4: the deadline runs until October 30).

Object Description

The CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG has six apartments spread across three floors and a loft. The furnished and fully equipped apartments (incl. WIFI) range from 30 to 48 m² in size, and accommodate one person each. In addition, one apartment on the ground floor is accessible to persons with disabilities. There is also a common room for the tenants (approx. 25 m²) which is also equipped with a fully fitted kitchen. The guest house has its own landscaped garden area.

On national holidays or during important events at TU Bergakademie Freiberg, a Chilean flag and the flag of the university will be raised on the facade of the CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG. The object was built in the traditional style (with 48-cm-thick exterior brick walls, reinforced concrete ceilings, exposed wooden roof trusses, a traditional plain-tile roof, and hardwood windows in oak). The floor plan of the new CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG corresponds to that of the pre-existing building. To comply with building laws, however, the old extensions were omitted on the courtyard side. 

Construction Process

At the end of 2015, Dr. Erika Krüger bought the building at Brennhausgasse 3 in Freiberg – vacant for many years and with a completely overgrown garden. After extensive preliminary investigations and to ensure the quality and durability of the final construction, a decision was made not to renovate the building, which was not listed. After planning work and archaeological investigations in the first half of 2016, both the demolition and the new construction were approved by the local planning authorities. The stabilization work on the neighboring building in June 2016 was elaborate and costly, since the house shared some common gable walls with neighboring buildings. In July 2016, the grounds were cleared of trees and debris, and the property demolished. Unusable cellar vaults were backfilled. The foundation stone was laid on August 5, 2016, and a few weeks later the construction process began in earnest. The shell structure with roof trusses and all formwork was in place by 20.12.2016. The subsequent winter break was used to dry the building. The building was fitted out between February and September, 2017. Exhaustive cleaning work was completed on 22.09.2017, and the first four Chilean doctoral students moved in on 23/24.09.2017.

The ceremony was broadcast live. A recording of the ceremony can be viewed on the Media Centre's blog.

Dr. Erika Krüger and the Chilean Ambassador to Germany
Welcoming address of Dr. Erika Krüger
Chilean Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Patricio Pradel
Prof. Schlömann
Signing of the contracts for the double doctoral program
Senate Hall
Wind ensemble of the Collegium Musicum
Symbolic cutting of the ribbon to open the CHILE-HAUS FREIBERG
Dr. Krüger hands over the keys of the CHILE-HAUS to the Rector
Handing over the “Barbara” figurine for the CHILE-HAUS
Prof. Heide and the Chilean Ambassador viewing the CHILE-HAUS
Garden area
House resident and doctoral student Mr. Manuel J. Humeres Gormaz
Tischdeko (Figur)
Innenhof mit Leuten beim Festakt