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The formation of the University of Berlin, which involved the creation of the so-called Humboldt model, bears a paradigmatic significance in the history of higher education and even today plays a considerable role in debates about the mission and institutional setting of universities. In this paper, I investigate the founding of the University of Berlin and underscore the fact that contemporary philosophers and highly-placed government officials, who were receptive to certain philosophical ideas, collaborated with great efficiency. Numerous leading philosophers (such as Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schleiermacher, and Humboldt) were engaged in creating theories of education, whilst officials were capable of keeping ideas intact and transforming them such that they could be put into practice in the bureaucratic process of establishing an institution. The founders of the University of Berlin were able to exploit Prussia’s defeat and implement their ideas. These efforts resulted in a new type of institution which implied: (1) the selection of professors for the first faculties, (2) the legal regulation of the relationship between the state and the university, (3) the regularization of the functioning of the university, and, last but not at least, (4) the collection of texts which formulated the philosophical considerations and arguments for establishing the university. Thanks to cooperation between officials and philosophers, the latter’s understandings of German idealism and neohumanism became institutionalized in the university. The writings by these philosophers on the university have come to be considered its founding documents. The institutional structure and the ways in which it was discussed in the top echelons had a longlasting effect on higher education policy for over two centuries.