The Maximilianeum Foundation was founded in 1852 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria. Its purpose was to enable gifted Bavarian students (all men at the time) to study at a university in Munich without financial concerns. Since Duke Albrecht of Bavaria established the Wittelsbach Jubilee Foundation in 1980, female students have also been accepted. see History
The seat of the Foundation is the impressive building at the end of the Maximilianstraße. Its Neo-Renaissance architecture and art testify today to the educational ideals of the time when it was founded. (see Art) Ever since the original endowment lost all of its value to inflation in the 1920s, the building has been the sole capital of the Foundation. Much of the space and land around the original building are used by the Bavarian Parliament through a rent and building agreement. The name Maximilianeum stands today for the Foundation, the building itself, and the Bavarian Parliament.
The members receive free board and lodging in the Maximilianeum for the duration of their study (until their first completed degree on graduate level), as well as the opportunity to study abroad and take part in language courses. see Living in the Stiftung
Admission to the Maximilianeum Foundation involves a multi-step process. The most important requirements for applicants - who must come from Bavaria or the Palatinate - are: a recommendation by the headteacher of their school; a top grade national Abitur examination; then a test administered by the Bavarian state; finally, a special test in the Bavarian Ministry of Culture. Particular stress is laid on the breadth of students' interests, their openness to new and unexpected questions, and their social competence. Of the approximately 400 students with the highest Abitur score every year, between six and eight are admitted. see Admission
King Maximilian assumed that most Maximilianers would enter the civil service after their studies, but this is no longer expected. With the exception of medicine and theology for entering the ministry, any subject can be studied. The approximately 50 members study law as well as mathematics, physics, computer science and humanities. The variety of personalities and interests that come together in the Maximilianeum is one of the most important elements of the experience, and is comparable to that in an Oxford or Cambridge college.