Zwickau's cultural and educational roots go back to the 15th and 16th centuries. During this period of early economic prosperity through trade and craftsmanship as well as silver mining in the nearby Ore mountains, Zwickau's Lateinschule (Latin school) was widely renowned.
The most famous teachers who worked in Zwickau at that time were the mineralogist and doctor Georgius Agricola, the later town writer and councillor Stephan Roth - also known as the publisher of Lutheran writings - and the author of school plays popular at that time, Paul Rebhun.
At the end of the 19th century, industrial development, especially coal mining and its associated industries, increased the demand for skilled engineering staff. Specific schools were founded for their education, in the tradition of which the Westsächsische Hochschule Zwickau - University of Applied Sciences (FH) stands - today, however, with different educational profiles.
Closely related to the aforementioned Lateinschule is the Ratsschulbibliothek (Council School Library), which was first mentioned in 1498 and is therefore the oldest public library in Saxony.