Through the Reformation movement that has been part and parcel of the existence of the city of Debrecen for more than four and a half centuries, the Reformed Protestant College, which was founded in 1538 and later dubbed “the school of the nation,” has played an extremely important part in the life of Hungary. The commendatory epithet was applied with good reason, as there were quite a few well-educated and gifted young people who graduated from this school to the benefit of the entire nation. Professors with experience gathered at universities in the Netherlands, Germany, and England were the first in Hungary to introduce the subjects of geography, history, medical science, and exact sciences into the curriculum. The official language of instruction was Latin up until as late as the 19th century, which ensured the contacts with the scholarly-scientific circles of the rest of Europe.
After the demolition of the old college building, the new Kollégium [college and dormitory combined] was constructed according to the plans of architect Péchy Mihály between 1803 and 1816. The irregular quadrangle shape of the complex is the result of the work of another architect, Vasél Lajos from Budapest, whose plans were used to connect the two buildings between 1870 and 1874.