Today Göttingen is famous for its old university (Georgia Augusta, or "Georg-August-Universität), which was founded in 1737 to become the most visited university of Europe. In 1837 seven professors protested against the absolute sovereignty of the kings of Hanover; they lost their offices, but became known as the "Göttingen Seven". They include some well-known celebrities: the Brothers Grimm, Wilhelm Weber and Georg Gervinus.
Like other university towns, Göttingen has developed its own folklore. On the day of their doctorate, postgraduate students are drawn in handcarts from the Great Hall to the Gänseliesel-Fountain in front of the Old Town Hall. There they have to climb the fountain and kiss the statue of the Gänseliesel (Geese girl). She is considered to be the most-kissed girl in the world.