In Bonn, starting 1872, Prof. Dr. Carl-Maria Finkelnburg (1832-1896) held the first lectures on hygiene in his private house. From 1888 until his health-related leave in 1892, the lectures were held in the newly established Pathology Institute.
In 1894, by ministerial decree, a provisional Hygiene Institute was founded in a former school building (Theaterstrasse 1), in the bacteriological station, which was established in 1893 but was not connected with the faculty. Its direction was transferred - against resistance from the faculty - to the associate professor of the medical faculty, Dr. Dittmar Finkler (1852-1912).
It was another five years before a proper professorship of hygiene was arranged. In 1905, a Medical Examination Department was set up at the Hygiene Institute, which included the investigations office of the City of Bonn and a Prussian medical examination office. Finkler died of influenza in 1912. From 1911 to 1913, his former assistant Prof. Dr. Walter Kruse (1864-1943) took over the directorate and management of the Hygiene Institute. In 1913, the Parasitological Department was separated from the Hygiene Institute under the management of the Countess Prof. Dr. Maria von Linden to become the "Parasitological Laboratory".
In 1914, Prof. Dr. Rudolf Otto Neumann (1868-1952), an approbated pharmacist and doctor, took his office as Professor ordinarius for Hygiene in Bonn. He managed the Hygienic Institute until 1922. After a two-year vacancy, Prof. Dr. Karl Kisskalt (1857-1962) took over management of the institute for three semesters in 1924. The following year, the new institute building (Theaterstrasse 32) was inaugurated. In 1926, Prof. Dr. Hugo Selter (1887-1952) overtook the management of the institute, over which he presided for twenty years until 1946. Like the main building of the university and many clinics, the Hygiene Institute was also completely destroyed in an air raid on the 18th of October 1944, the anniversary of the university's founding.
In 1946, Prof. Dr. Hermann Eyer (1906-1997) was appointed full professor for hygiene and became director of the Hygiene Institute. The institute was located provisionally in the Institut für Boden- und Pflanzenbaulehre [Institute for Soil and Cultivation] (Katzenburgweg 5), but moved to a converted building of a former anti-aircraft barracks on the hill Venusberg in 1951. In 1957, Eyer moved to Munich. One year later, Prof. Dr. Horst Habs (1902-1987) succeeded him as director of the institute. Under his management, the Hygiene Institute was divided into two independent units: the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Immunology and the Hygiene Institute. He managed the latter until 1971. In the following 23 years, this position was held by Prof. Dr. Edgar Thofern (1925-1996). He was followed by the officiated director Prof. Dr. Martin Exner (zum Ganzen Pöll-Verbeek 1994).