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I want to get back in touch with a former professor of mine, who has now recently moved to a different institution. Would I, in my email, congratulate her for having moved to the new institution or should I just not mention it at all?

I am worried it could be understood the wrong way.

For what it matters: both the old & the new university are top 20 in the world, the new university is top 3 (in the relevant field).

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    Why would she understand it the wrong way? A congratulation is always a nice gesture.
    – PsySp
    Mar 14 '17 at 22:50
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    @PsySp For example, suppose the former professor really wanted to stay in the former institution, but was not able to get tenure there, and was forced to move to the current institution. Mar 16 '17 at 10:08
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    If you mean it, congratulate her. If you don't do not.
    – skymningen
    Mar 16 '17 at 12:40
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If your relationship was all one-way, as professor-student relationships often are, then I would not mention it.

If you sometimes had casual conversations that made things more two-way, and you happen to know something that provides context to this move (for example, if this is a solution to a two-body problem, or you happen to know that the professor was hoping to move to a certain geographical region, e.g. to get in more skiing or hiking or snorkeling, or to support an aging relative) then sure, you could include congratulations.

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