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The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation), located in Heidenheim an der Brenz and Jena, Germany, is the sole shareholder of the two companies Carl Zeiss AG and Schott AG [1] . It was founded by Ernst Abbe in 1889 [2] and named after his long-term partner Carl Zeiss. The products of these companies include the classic areas of optics and precision mechanisms, as well as glass (including optical glass), optoelectronics, and glass ceramics [2] . The statutes of the foundation emphasize the social responsibility of the companies and the importance of a fair treatment of the employees [1] .

Heidenheim an der Brenz Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Heidenheim an der Brenz is a town in Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. It is located near the border with Bavaria, approximately 17 km south of Aalen and 33 km north of Ulm. Heidenheim is the largest town and the seat of the district of Heidenheim, and ranks third behind Aalen and Schwäbisch Gmünd in size among the towns in the region of East Württemberg. Heidenheim is the economic center for all the communities in Heidenheim district and is the headquarters of the Voith industrial company. The town's population passed the 20,000 mark in 1925. Heidenheim collaborates with the town of Nattheim in administrative matters.

Jena Place in Thuringia, Germany

Jena is a German university city and the second largest city in Thuringia. Together with the nearby cities of Erfurt and Weimar, it forms the central metropolitan area of Thuringia with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, while the city itself has a population of about 110,000. Jena is a centre of education and research; the Friedrich Schiller University was founded in 1558 and had 18,000 students in 2017 and the Ernst-Abbe-Fachhochschule Jena counts another 5,000 students. Furthermore, there are many institutes of the leading German research societies.

Carl Zeiss AG German manufacturer of optical systems

Carl Zeiss , branded as ZEISS, is a German manufacturer of optical systems, and industrial measurement and medical devices, founded in Jena, Germany in 1846 by optician Carl Zeiss. Together with Ernst Abbe and Otto Schott they built a base for modern optics and manufacturing. There are currently two parts of the company, Carl Zeiss AG located in Oberkochen with important subsidiaries in Aalen, Göttingen and Munich, and Carl Zeiss GmbH located in Jena.


In fiscal year 2007/2008 more than 30,000 people were employed by the foundation's companies and their subsidiaries, with total sales of over 4.9 billion Euros.


Bond of the Carl Zeiss-Stiftung, issued 1. April 1926 Carl Zeiss-Stiftung 1926.JPG
Bond of the Carl Zeiss-Stiftung, issued 1. April 1926

The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung was founded by physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe. He named it after his late business partner and friend Carl Zeiss, who died in 1888. The deed of foundation dates from May 19, 1889. On the 21st of May establishment of the foundation was approved by the Grand Duchy of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach, making it a legal entity. Originally Abbe had intended to transfer his interests in the companies Carl Zeiss and Jenaer Glaswerk Schott & Genossen to the University of Jena, feeling that he had the University to thank for his rise to wealthy entrepreneur. He established the Ministerial Fund for Scientific Purposes in 1886 for this reason; through the fund, he annually donated substantial sums anonymously to the University. In addition, he financed the construction of a University Observatory in 1889 out of his private funds.

The gift of his shares to the University, as originally intended, was not legally possible. Working with representatives of the Sachsen-Weimar state government, the idea of a foundation was formed. The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung was founded in 1889; Ernst Abbe turned over his shares in these firms, as well as those of Roderich Zeiss, Carl Zeiss's son, to the foundation by 1891. In 1919 Otto Schott also donated his shares to the foundation, giving it the sole proprietorship of the glass works, as well. The act of incorporation lasted until 1896; an amendment governing grants to the University, followed in 1900.

In Paragraph 1 of this act of incorporation lays down the following general purposes of the foundation:

The act also includes rules of organization of the foundation, particularly regarding the foundations divisions, business operations, and questions of social and labor law. The legal establishment and enforceability of workers' rights were notable for the time, visionary, and trend-setting. The peculiarity of the original legal structure of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung was its definition as a business entity, rather than its current form as holding company. The foundation was thus the manager of both of its companies, rather than holder of ownership of independent companies. The foundation was governed by the Culture Ministry of Weimar; from there came the foundation's "commissar", who led the management of the businesses. The foundation's board was appointed by its management. The first commissar was Carl Rothe (until 1896), followed by Max Vollert who remained in office until 1911. Then Friedrich Ebsen occupied the office until 1933.

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Schott AG company

Schott AG is an international manufacturing group of glass and glass-ceramics. The company is headquartered in Mainz, Germany and employs approximately 15,100 people worldwide. All shares of Schott AG are solely held by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. The company reported sales worth 2.05 billion Euros in its fiscal year 2016/2017.

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August Karl Johann Valentin Köhler was a German professor and early staff member of Carl Zeiss AG in Jena, Germany. He is best known for his development of the microscopy technique of Köhler illumination, an important principle in optimizing microscopic resolution power by evenly illuminating the field of view. This invention revolutionized light microscope design and is widely used in traditional as well as modern digital imaging techniques today.

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  1. 1 2 "Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
  2. 1 2 "Carl Zeiss Stiftung AG: Private Company Information - Bloomberg". Retrieved 2017-11-30.
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The German National Library of Economics is the world’s largest research infrastructure for economic literature, online as well as offline. The ZBW is a member of the Leibniz Association and has been a foundation under public law since 2007. Several times the ZBW received the international LIBER award for its innovative work in librarianship. The ZBW allows for access of millions of documents and research on economics, partnering with over 40 research institutions to create a connective Open Access portal and social web of research. Through its EconStor and EconBiz, researchers and students have accessed millions of datasets and thousands of articles. The ZBW also edits two journals: Wirtschaftsdienst and Intereconomics.