The essay deals with the pioneering contribution to the philosophy of culture made by Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767- 1835). The focus is on the close connection between the philosophy of nature and the philosophy of culture in Humboldt's early works. The first section traces the beginnings of the philosophy of culture in classical German philosophy. The second section presents the early Humboldt as a contributor to the post-Kantian debates in anthropology, philosophy of nature and political philosophy. The third section discusses the early Humboldt's transposition of the concept of "formation" ("Bildung") from the sphere of nature into that of culture and society. The fourth section analyses the basis of Humboldt's political liberalism as contained in his early work, "Ideas toward an Attempt to Determine the Limits of State Action", in his philosophy of nature and philosophy of culture. The fifth section addresses the current relevance of Humboldt's twofold conjunction of the philosophy of culture with political philosophy and with the philosophy of nature.