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History Feature

The foreground needs a background

Welcome to the Siemens Historical Institute

The only way to master the present and shape the future is to know one’s own past – that’s the understanding behind our work.

As part of a communications team that operates worldwide, we have the task of documenting the diverse history of our technology company, founded in Berlin in 1847, as well as researching that history and making it accessible to a broad audience. The Siemens Historical Institute bridges the gap between Siemens’ history and its present and future. We reveal the continuity in Siemens’ history, and frankly and transparently point out discontinuities and disruptions. In this way, we also help heighten the company’s profile.

Our tasks and our goals

We work with well-known partners from academia and in practical research to present the company’s economic, technical and social development, ­portraying it consistently with the highest scholarly standards. Our work therefore concentrates on three general areas of activity.

Our mission

By constantly reflecting in the present the guidelines, values, principles and core ideas that have provided orientation to our company throughout its history, and by infusing them with life, we make an important contribution toward the company’s identity – both for Siemens employees and for the societies in which we operate as a business.

As part of a communications team that operates worldwide, we have the task of documenting the diverse history of our company as well as researching it and making it accessible to a broad target audience.
Siemens Historical Institute – committed to history

As part of a communications team that operates worldwide, we have the task of documenting the diverse history of our company as well as researching it and making it accessible to a broad target audience.

Our task – bridging the gap between the past, the present and the future

We work with well-known partners from academia and practical research to present the company’s economic, technical, and social development, portraying it consistently with the highest scholarly standards.

Our projects – keeping the history of Siemens alive and vivid

For the company’s 170th birthday, we took our Siemens History website online with new content, a new design, and new insights into various aspects of the Siemens story.

Our digitalization projects – securing history for eternity

By constantly digitalizing important documents, we are contributing to preserving the company’s valuable history for posterity.

Our picture archive – vivid insights into the past

There are roughly one million historical images in our continuously expanding collections.

Our scientific mission – reviewing history

Our research topics are as diverse as history of Siemens itself. They include biographies, presentations of specific questions of corporate and technological history, general discussions, and complete chronicles of operations in particular countries.

Our documents – important source of our daily work

The Siemens Historical Institute currently holds about 10,000 meters of shelf space filled with written sources – including business correspondence, minutes of meetings, and company reports, price lists, brochures, printed matter, employee and customer magazines, drawings, maps, and much more.

Our library – a rich source of knowledge

Our library offers more than 12,000 volumes, which we are continually expanding with publications about the history of Siemens.

Our archive – foundation and basis of our success

We have the task of documenting and disseminating knowledge about the history and development of this technology company.

Our target groups

Siemens Historical Institute – engaged in an open dialogue

In our work, we’re concerned to maintain a dialogue with all of our target groups, whether with Siemens employees, our customers and partners, representatives of government, business and society or the general public.

Faces of the Siemens Historical Institute

As experts in technical, business and social-history topics relating to the company, we serve as the internal and external contact people for all questions about the history of Siemens. We support the company’s communications and sales activities and help researchers and journalists in gathering information.

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Dr. Ewald Blocher

Film archive, communications

Ewald Blocher is in charge of the film archive. He makes sure that the archive’s rich holdings of film and video materials are available for research, continuously expanded, and gradually digitalized. In communications, he expertly handles historical print and online projects in collaboration with outside authors.

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Sabine Dittler

Communications

Sabine Dittler is in charge of communications at the Siemens Historical Institute. Telling the Siemens story in various formats and media is a matter of personal interest for her. And the variety of possibilities offered to people interested in the company’s 170-year history is correspondingly diverse.

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Christoph Frank

Archives

Christoph Frank is in charge of the photo archive. He makes sure that the archive’s rich holdings of photographic materials are continuously expanded and gradually digitalized, thus making them available for research and communications activities. He provides photos and information about Siemens history.

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Dr. Franz Hebestreit

Exhibitions

Franz Hebestreit is in charge of exhibitions at the Siemens Historical Institute. He’s interested in making the company, its history, its technology and its visions accessible worldwide to a diverse range of target groups worldwide – from school children to government VIPs – in exciting exhibitions and guided tours. For that job, he maintains contacts with a long list of colleagues at Siemens, as well as outside specialists.

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Dr. Johannes von Karczewski

Head of Siemens Historical Institute

Johannes von Karczewski heads the Siemens Historical Institute. The Institute’s mission is clear in a quote from philosopher Odo Marquard: “The foreground needs a background.” We make our company’s 170 years of history accessible to a broad target group. Individual characteristics add up to yield a holistic profile that has distinguished Siemens from the start. Thus we build a bridge between yesterday, today and tomorrow.

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Alexandra Kinter

Communications

Alexandra Kinter enthusiastically handles communications for the Siemens Historical Institute. She reviews and prepares source materials and edits print and multimedia projects. She also provides information about Siemens history both in-house and outside the company.

Reiner Philipp

Digital archive

Reiner Philipp is administrator for the servers and database systems at the Siemens Historical Institute. He develops interfaces and procedures for importing mass data and provides for a consistent, secure filing structure so that the archives’ digital holdings will remain accessible for decades to come.

Ute Schiedermeier

Archives

Ute Schiedermeier is in charge of enquiries and reports on the history of technology and of the company. She documents and maintains collections and the electronic infrastructure at the company archives. Digital archiving, website archiving and a continuous search for new solutions for the archives of the future are her main activities. She also advises and supports archive users and assists on projects on Siemens history.

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Ramona Schmidt

Assistance, contactperson for visitors

Ramona Schmidt is an assistant at the Siemens Historical Institute. Besides supporting the head of the department and the team, her job also includes taking care of the library and processing commercial matters. But her main interests are assisting visitors and answering their questions.

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Dr. Frank Wittendorfer

Archives

Frank Wittendorfer is the head of the archives and is in charge of its organization and operations. He ensures that the archives’ extensive holdings are filed in the best possible way and can be accessed for research anytime. He maintains a network within the company to make sure valuable documents find their way into the archive – including in digital form.

Who to contact

Questions or comments? Please contact us, or use the links and downloads for further information.

Dr. Johannes von Karczewski, Head of Siemens Historical Institute
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