Prof. Dr. Hermann Pünder, Professor of Public Law, on his family, Hamburg and who, in his opinion, is the real star of the school

Research & Faculty |

Dr. Hermann Pünder is Professor of Public Law, Administrative Sciences and Comparative Law at Bucerius Law School. He was appointed to the Law School in 2002, shortly after its founding. For this reason, he was able to prepare the very first Law School class for their exams! In the video "5 minutes with" Dr. Pünder talks about his career, true to his motto, "I am a boy originally from Cologne, my heart rests on my sleeves”.



Prof. Pünder comes from a long legal tradition. His great-great-grandfathers already worked as lawyers in the Rhineland, his great-grandfathers were judges. His grandfather's sister also studied political science in the 19th century, something rare at the time. It is even rumored in the family that she was one of the first women to receive a doctorate from the Humboldt University in Berlin. The tradition continues as one of his sisters is also a doctor of law.

Made in Cologne (KÖLSCHE JUNG)

Prof. Pünder was born in the "Severin Monastary" in Cologne. Even though his family moved away from Cologne when he was only five years old - nevertheless, the saying "You can take the boy/girl away from Cologne, but the city and spirit always stays in your heart” is true! To this day when he hears Cologne carnival songs, he becomes nostalgic.

In the meantime, however, Prof. Pünder also feels "very much at home" in Hamburg. He suspects that this may have something to do with the fact that, as a Rhinelander, you are a little exotic in Hamburg. In addition, it also helps that the students have appointed him honorary chairman of the university's carnival association



One of the best aspects of Bucerius Law School, according to Mr. Pünder, is the close contact between professors and the students. The special familiarity with the students also means that the teachers at Bucerius Law School make an extra effort with their instruction and course work.

This inspires him, especially intellectually. Many questions from his students have enriched him academically. He is especially proud that four people from his team have already decided to enter the guild of constitutional law teaching.


CURRENT research projects

Currently, Prof. Pünder is dealing with the National Socialist era. The German legislature recently stipulated that law students must, in addition to their studies, deal with the injustices of the National Socialists as well as the SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) dictatorship. Against this background, he has written two essays on the "Perversion of Police Law under National Socialism." This was a difficult experience for him personally, since his father's family suffered a great deal during the Third Reich.



In Istanbul, Hermann Pünder befriended a constitutional law scholar with whom he co-taught constitutional law. His friend presented Turkish constitutional law to German students, and Prof. Pünder then presented the German perspective on these legal issues in return. It was a very special experience, inspiring both students and teachers.

This made it all the more disturbing when his friend from Istanbul informed him that it had become too dangerous for Hermann to travel to Istanbul and teach constitutional law. Even more shocking was what happened to his Turkish friend. He had to give up his professorship, and it remained unclear whether he would have to leave the country together with his family.


In the video series: "5 minutes with" we introduce our professors. What kind of chair do they hold and what are their main areas of work? In addition, we are just as interested to learn more about them on a personal level. What is behind the chair? What do they like about Bucerius and about working in Hamburg? We answer all this and much more in "5 minutes with".

All episodes


At one point during the interview, Prof. Pünder proudly holds up his cute, little dog Lotti. He adds that he occasionally takes Lotti with him to the university; on campus, she is a star!  But her fame also influences him: About a year ago, at the opening of the academic year he stood up to introduce himself to the students. No one said "Ah, the renowned professor!" But several students smiled and said, "Oh, nice to meet Lotti's owner!" For Prof. Pünder, this is just another example of the special spirit at Bucerius Law School.


Florian Helwich, Emma Schimmel