Official Ceremony: Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Celebrates 350-Year Company History in Darmstadt

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, marked 350 years of company history at an official ceremony today. Around 900 guests from the worlds of politics, business and society attended the ceremony in Darmstadt.

03 May 2018 | Darmstadt, Germany
  • Family representative Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp: “Time and again, this company has reinvented itself. And we will continue to develop Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany further in the future as well.”
  • Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board: “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been contributing to scientific progress for centuries.”
  • German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel among the approximately 900 guests
  • Official inauguration of the new Innovation Center

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, marked 350 years of company history at an official ceremony today. Around 900 guests from the worlds of politics, business and society attended the ceremony in Darmstadt.

Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp, as the representative of the family and Chairman of the Executive Board of E. Merck KG, Darmstadt, Germany and Stefan Oschmann, Chairman of the Executive Board of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, welcomed the many guests, which included the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel and the Minister President of the German Federal State of Hesse, Volker Bouffier.

The ceremony, which took place in the M-Sphere, one of the world’s largest geodesic pavilions worldwide constructed specifically for the various anniversary events, consisted of three acts: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. At the beginning of the first act, the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck played the first part of the anniversary composition (2018) created especially for the anniversary by the conductor Ben Palmer “Part I. Departure (1668).” Afterwards, Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp spoke on behalf of the family.

“The fundamental principles on which our company is based have withstood every transformation. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is developing research-intensive specialty products. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, places particular importance on quality. And Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a values-based company,” said Stangenberg-Haverkamp, a member of the 11th generation of the family, in his address.

“For us as a family, values-based action means taking on responsibility for our company, for our employees and for society. We are a family of owners with a strong heritage of industrial operations, as well as long-term thinking and actions. We are liable with our private assets and invest our financial resources to a very significant extent in the company. We consider ourselves trustees for the next generation”, is how Stangenberg-Haverkamp outlined the direction of the family.

“On behalf of the entire family, I thank everyone who has contributed to the success of our company – all our former employees and of course our workforce of nearly 53,000 people. Their engagement, their curiosity and their enthusiasm have made Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, the successful science and technology company it is today,” said Stangenberg-Haverkamp in his thank-you to the employees of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

“Time and again, this company has reinvented itself. And we will continue to develop Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, further in the future as well,” said Stangenberg-Haverkamp at the end of his statement. “We will remain true to our principles of scientific curiosity, clear and binding values, good corporate governance linked with the objective of achieving progress for patients, customers and society as a whole. This is what Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will always be about. Today and in the coming years, decades and centuries.”

In the second act, Volker Bouffier, Minister President of the German federal state of Hesse, delivered greetings from the state government.

“Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany – this name stands for history and new beginnings, and describes how faithfulness to a site and innovative strength in the form of new creativity and productivity can be linked. For 350 years, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been decisively shaping various industries from its home base in the federal state of Hesse. In addition, the company is characterized by its strong social roots and responsibility and enjoys an excellent reputation worldwide. I wish the company, its employees and also the family of owners all the very best for the future,” said Bouffier in his statement.

Lastly, the speech by Stefan Oschmann marked the beginning of the third act. “Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has been contributing to scientific progress for centuries. We are a vibrant science and technology company with nearly 53,000 employees working to develop breakthrough solutions,” said Oschmann. “Curiosity fuels us, research is our passion, and responsibility is a core value that shapes our daily actions.”

“We are currently at a crucial point. Many of the technologies at our disposal today have an entirely new dimension. They raise fundamental ethical questions. I’m thinking of examples such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, or genome editing as well. We need these technologies because they can help us, for instance, to find new therapies for serious diseases. Yet apart from all these opportunities, we must never lose sight of the tremendous responsibility that their applications involve,” Oschmann continued.

“Scientific curiosity, coupled with responsible entrepreneurship, is an incredibly powerful combination. It has helped people to make important advances. And is the reason why Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, has thrived for 350 years. We at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, are convinced that in combination, scientific curiosity and responsible entrepreneurship are the key to the technology advances that benefit everyone. This drives us and is what we are working for, each and every day,” said Oschmann at the end of his speech.

Oschmann’s speech was followed by the celebratory address given by the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, Angela Merkel. The Deutsche Philharmonie Merck then performed second part of the anniversary composition by Ben Palmer (2018) “Part II. The Journey Through Time”, marking the end of the third and final act.

Afterwards, Angela Merkel, Frank Stangenberg-Haverkamp and Stefan Oschmann officially inaugurated the Innovation Center of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The newly constructed building at the heart of the headquarters of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, offers start-ups and in-house innovation teams a five times larger area than was formerly available for working with Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, on innovation projects outside the company’s current portfolio. “It is a great joy to collaborate with young entrepreneurs. And who knows, one of the promoted business ideas might evolve some time into a company like Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. After all, we also began as a start-up in 1668,” said Stefan Oschmann.

Further regional ceremonies marking 350 years of the company history of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, will take place in June in Shanghai, China, and in October in Boston, Massachusetts (USA).

The other numerous events marking the 350th anniversary of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, include the national  Jugend forscht” (Young Researchers) competition under the auspices of German Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, which will take place in Darmstadt from May 24 to 27, 2018.

A further event during the anniversary year will be the “Curious2018 – Future Insight” conference in Darmstadt from July 16 to 18, 2018. This will be attended by more than 35 renowned international scientists - including five Nobel Prize laureates - who on three days will be presenting their work and discussing the future of science and technology. Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is supporting this premiere event as the main sponsor.

A highlight towards the end of the anniversary celebrations in autumn will be an Open Day on September 22, 2018 at global headquarters in Darmstadt. Interested visitors will then have the opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of the science and technology company Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

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About Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany

Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, a leading science and technology company, operates across life science, healthcare and electronics. Around 60,000 employees work to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day by creating more joyful and sustainable ways to live. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices – the company is everywhere. In 2021, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, generated sales of € 19.7 billion in 66 countries.

The company holds the global rights to the name and trademark “Merck” internationally. The only exceptions are the United States and Canada, where the business sectors of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, operate as MilliporeSigma in life science, EMD Serono in healthcare, and EMD Electronics in electronics. Since its founding in 1668, scientific exploration and responsible entrepreneurship have been key to the company’s technological and scientific advances. To this day, the founding family remains the majority owner of the publicly listed company.

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