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Experience 170 years of history in our archives

Siemens maintains one of the largest, best-known corporate archives in Germany. We have been the “memory” of Siemens ever since we were founded in 1907.

Our tradition and heritage are a source of inspiration for the future.

Nathalie von Siemens, great-great granddaughter of the company founder

As the central archive at the corporate headquarters in Berlin, we have the task of documenting and disseminating knowledge about our technology company’s 170-year history and development. We safeguard, lay open and analyze precious written documents, photos, films and products from the history of Siemens AG and its predecessor companies.

 

The Siemens Historical Institute currently holds about 10,000 meters of shelf space filled with written sources and 12,000 books.  The collection of stored information and documents has now reached about ten terabytes. Our constantly growing collections include about a million historical pictures, as well as recordings of various speeches by Siemens managers. About 8,000 industrial, business and promotional films illustrate the history of electrical engineering and electronics from the 1930s to the present. Our collection of exhibits currently holds about 10,000 historical objects – a rich historical legacy.

Your entryway to Siemens history

Whether you’re a Siemens employee, a journalist, a researcher or an interested customer – the Siemens Historical Institute offers you ways to learn about Siemens’ history, and thus about a company that has played an impressive role in the technological development of Germany, Europe and the world over the past 170 years. 

Our holdings and current projects

Holdings and current projects – as diverse as our company history

Our extensive holdings and collections emphasize documents from the Supervisory Board, Managing Board and central corporate units. These sources are the foundation for all our historical work. Without them, it would be impossible to trace the main events, processes and contexts for the company as a whole. Legal questions are just one of the many reasons why it’s so important to reconstruct historical developments reliably. 

1.000.000 photographs

Take a look back at the past and let us bring it to life. A million photographs from the company’s eventful history make it possible.

10 terabyte data

Today, many sources – whether conventional documents or photos and films – reach us only in digital form. And we’re digitalizing many of our old holdings, so that they can be easily accessed and searched – a total of more than ten terabytes, and the figure is rising.

More than 10,000 exhibits

The Siemens Historical Institute holds a well-filled treasury of Siemens technology, starting with reconstructions of the pointer telegraph of 1847 and the first Siemens electric car from 1905 – the “Electric Viktoria” – as well as the legendary first Siemens radio of 1924, and extending all the way down to the first Siemens PC.

8,000 films

About 8,000 industrial, business and promotional films illustrate the history of electrical engineering and electronics from the 1930s to the present – a priceless historical resource in images and sound.

10,000 meters of shelf space

Business correspondence, minutes of meetings and company reports, price lsts, prospectuses, printed matter, employee newsletters, customer magazines, drawings, maps and plans – altogether more than ten kilometers of shelf space – Siemens history in black on white.

The history of the Archives

Wilhelm von Siemens, the company founder’s second son, already recognized at an early stage that the company’s history had significant potential. To celebrate the company’s 60th jubilee in 1907, he arranged to found a Siemens archive. For many years, archive employees were primarily occupied with collecting files and printed documents relating to Siemens and using this essential source material to reconstruct the company’s history. In the 1920s, this groundwork paved the way for the first publications about the founding and development of the company. 

Move to Munich

Substantial amounts of archive material were damaged and lost during World War II. In the immediate postwar years, the first priority was to reassemble the archives, which had been split between various locations or confiscated. By 1954, this task had been largely completed. That same year, the Siemens Archives were transferred from Berlin to Munich, where the headquarters of Siemens & Halske AG had been located since 1949.

Strategic reorientation

In the mid-1990s, the Siemens Archives was transformed into a professional provider of information services for questions relating to Siemens’ history. New challenges such as the electronic indexing and long-term archiving of digital documents, the standardization of core archive tasks, the increasing focus on customers and service and the facility’s stronger profile within Siemens have had a profound impact on the tasks and goals of the archive staff. The archives have been housed at the Siemens Historical Institute since April 2011.

Back to the roots

In 2016, the construction of the new company headquarters in Munich resulted in the third move in the archives’ more than 100-year history. With the lower levels of the new building now housing large technology control centers, these spaces were no longer available for storing archive material. Looking for a future-proof location, the Siemens Historical Institute quickly set its sights on the tradition-steeped location of Berlin-Siemensstadt. The administrative building on Nonnendammallee, constructed in 1913, offered adequate floor space and suitable rooms. Thus, in the fall of 2016, the archives moved back to the location where it was founded and have been available to the public here since January 2017.

Who to contact

Questions or comments?

Please contact us or use the links and downloads for further information.

Dr. Frank Wittendorfer
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