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

Almost 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.

The Archive

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 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.

The Historical Library

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.

The Exhibition

The development of our company, the evolution of technology and work as well as the progress of natural sciences and medical knowledge: All this can be experienced by the objects 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.

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Corporate History

Frankfurter Straße 250
Building A3/121
Darmstadt, 64293, Germany

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.

  • Dr. rer. nat Sabine Bernschneider-Reif, pharmaceutical chemist & pharmaceutical historian
  • Stephan Böhm, M. A., historian & ethnologist
  • Peter Conradi, M.A., historian
  • Bodo von Eberstein, academic historian
  • Katja Glock, M. A., historian
  • Timo Gruber, M. A., communications scientist & cultural anthropologist      
  • Dr. Ingunn Possehl, pharmaceutical chemist and historian, former head of the Merck archive

Volunteering with us are:    

  • Klaus-Peter Brandis, law specialist, former head of the legal department      
  • Dr. rer. nat. Joachim Lindner
  • Peter Müller, engineer
  • Dr. rer. pol. Rolf Strauß, pharmaceutical chemist and economist, former head of Cascan
  • Wolfgang Zimmermann, engineer, former work council chairman

Do research with us!

We would be delighted to exchange ideas with you regularly, creating a symbiosis of knowledge and methods.

Dr. Sabine Bernschneider-Reif

Head of Corporate History