History

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, was founded all the way back in 1668. Discover with us the exciting story of the oldest pharmaceutical and chemical company in the world!

The story of our success goes back 350 years

350 years of history have shaped our ideals – from the very beginning. Each of the 13 generations of the Merck family has made its own contribution. That’s how we became what we are today: a leading science and technology company.

Change and consistency, euphoria and disenchantment, failures and success… over time, a company will experience many extremes. Insight provides the foundations for foresight: That’s why we’ve dedicated a special department to researching the history of our company.

 

How historic questions help create answers for the future

The ‘Corporate History’ department builds a historic understanding of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, reflecting on the conceptual foundations of pharmaceutics and chemistry, and answering questions in both research and business contexts. We carry out our work as an interdisciplinary team, cooperating with external partners and employing a wide range of methods. This way, high-quality scientific contributions based on professionally edited sources are created, influencing the industry's as well as the public debate. We offer expert guidance, deliver ideas and find solutions.

Our database contains almost 200,000 indexed items, including handwritten and printed documents, photos, films and audio recordings. The oldest written items are around 400 years old.

Our historical library comprises over 10,000 books and an extensive journal collection. The spectrum ranges from 15th century herbariums to 21st century specialist literature on business strategy.

Explore our history, the evolution of technology, and the progress of natural sciences and medical knowledge through the historical objects we have on display.

Discover our work

Opening hours: Monday to Friday 9 am to 12 pm and 1 pm to 4 pm. Prior registration is required for use of the archive and historical library. 

The location

From lectures and symposia to round-table talks we offer a variety of different opportunities for subject-specific or interdisciplinary exchanges on fascinating themes.

The team

Scientists from a diverse range of disciplines work together in our department. Our team researches what once was, in order to offer ideas and solutions for the future.

  • Sabine Bernschneider-Reif, pharmacist & pharmaceutical historian, Head of Corporate History
  • Stephan Böhm, historian & ethnologist
  • Peter Conradi, historian
  • Bodo von Eberstein, historian
  • Katja Glock, historian
  • Timo Gruber, communications scientist & culturalanthropologist 

Volunteering with us are:

  • Dr. Werner Becker, chemist, former Liquid Crystals
  • Klaus-Peter Brandis, lawyer, former head of the Legal Department
  • Dr. Gabriele Disselhoff, chemist, former Regulatory Affairs
  • Dr. Ing. Rainer Hoffmann, engineer, former associate director Sales, Pigments & Cosmetics
  • Dr. Joachim Lindner, chemist, former head of Fire Protection & Safety
  • Peter Müller, engineer
  • Dr. Ingunn Possehl, pharmacist & historian, former head of the Merck Archive​
  • Dr. Irmtraut Schläfer, pharmacist & art history student
  • Dr. Ulrich Schönefeld, chemist, former Lab Manager Surface Solutions
  • Dr. Rolf Strauß, pharmacist & economist, former head of Cascan

Do research with us!

We would be delighted to exchange ideas with you regularly, creating a symbiosis of knowledge and methods. Join our team for a personal and professional adventure!

Sabine Bernschneider-Reif

Head of Corporate History