History

The Bundesdruckerei Group is synonymous for more than 250 years of German history. The group's origins date as far back as the 18th century. Since 1763, the group has been working on behalf of the state. Find out about the moving times that we have been witness to.

Historie 1763

1763 - By order of Frederick the Great

In 1763, Frederick II, King of Prussia, grants Georg Jacob Decker the privilege of performing all printing orders for the court. This marks the birth of the Privy Court Printing Office, the first predecessor company to Bundesdruckerei. 

1851 - Printing banknotes for the state

In 1851, the Royal Prussian State Printing Office is founded in Berlin as the first state-owned printing house. Its prime task is to print banknotes, securities and postage stamps.

History 1851
History 1879

1879 - Reichsdruckerei

In 1879, the Privy Court Printing Office and the Royal Prussian State Printing Office are merged to form Reichsdruckerei. The idea: secure and central execution of all government orders.

1883 - Production in the German Empire

Reichsdruckerei flourishes and supplies printed products of the highest quality. The 100-Mark banknote, affectionately referred to as the 'long hundred' or the 'blue note', displays delicate motifs and a host of security features.

History 1883
History 1914

1914 - Inflation and Hyperinflation

Inflation begins with World War I and peaks in 1923: Reichsdruckerei produces new banknotes and prints vast quantities of money and postage stamps at incredible speed and with a staff of 12,000.

1933 - Forcible co-ordination

During the 'Third Reich', Reichsdruckerei is forced politically into line. The NS rulers were determined to shape politics, society and culture entirely according to their own raison d’etat and to eliminate any contradictory ideas. Director Franz Helmberger, a Social Democrat, is dismissed.

History 1933
History 1938

1938 - Identity Cards

During the Nazi era, Reichsdruckerei prints identity cards, for instance, which are introduced as domestic ID and which bear a capital J for Jewish people. It also prints concentration camp money for the concentration camp in Oranienburg.

1945 - Destroyed Reichsdruckerei

Allied air raids over Berlin damage Reichsdruckerei which is largely destroyed by 1945. Despite this, the company as State Printing Office already produces the first post-war postage stamps in May.

History 1945
History 1948

1948 - Frankfurt Branch Opens

In response to the introduction of the D-Mark, the Soviet Union begins its blockade of West-Berlin. This makes supplies and deliveries for the State Printing Office extremely difficult so that a branch office is opened in Frankfurt am Main.

1951 - Establishment of Bundesdruckerei

After the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany on 23 May 1949, a decision is made in 1951 to integrate the State Printing Office into the administrative structures of the Federal Republic of Germany. The company now bears the name 'Bundesdruckerei'.

History 1951
History 1952

1952 - Branch in Bonn

A new branch begins operations: In order to supply directly to the Federal Government and to be able to quickly produce government products, law gazettes and records of parliamentary meetings, another branch of Bundesdruckerei is opened in Bonn.

1956 - 5-DM Banknotes

Bundesdruckerei receives its first orders for banknotes in 1955. One year later; the first 5-DM banknotes designed by Max Bittrof are issued. 

History 1956
History 1957

1957 - New Foreign Orders

In 1957, Bundesdruckerei receives the first foreign orders again after the end of World War II. Their number increases significantly in the 1960s: Bundesdruckerei produces postage stamps for Tanzania, for instance, and passports for Peru.

1961 - Wall Built Behind Bundesdruckerei

The Berlin Wall is built. It runs directly behind Bundesdruckerei's exit on Kommandantenstraße. In the space of one night, 81 employees can no longer come to work. The Wall is extended in 1966.

History 1961
History 1975

1975 - Tradition in Art Printing

Bundesdruckerei picks up on a tradition from the Kaiser era:  Elaborately produced postage stamps and special stamps are just as popular as are the new art print reproductions of copperplate engravings and woodblock prints by old masters.

1987 - New German ID Card

As a consequence of ID card forgeries by the Rote Armee Fraktion (RAF) in the 1970s, a new German ID card is introduced starting 1 April 1987. The document is produced and personalised by Bundesdruckerei for the first time ever from one central location.

History 1987
History 1989

1989 - Fall of the Wall and New Orders

After the fall of the Wall on 9 November 1989, Bundesdruckerei's order books fill up quickly: the company, for instance, issues the around 16 million citizens of the former GDR with new ID documents.

1992 - Establishment of UNIQA

Bundesdruckerei lays the first foundation stone for a comprehensive product portfolio and enters the world of smartcard technology. Together with Preussag AG, UNIQA Chipkartensysteme GmbH is founded and takes over ORGA Kartensysteme GmbH just one year later.

History 1992
History 1994

1994 - Private-law Company

The German government decides to transform Bundesdruckerei into a company under private law. The federal government is the sole owner.

1997 - Shares in Maurer Electronics

Bundesdruckerei acquires shares in Maurer Electronics GmbH, a specialist in devices for forge-proof personalisation of ID documents. Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Bundesdruckerei, it operates as a technical development company.

History 1997
History 1998

1998 - Establishment of D-TRUST

Bundesdruckerei and debis Systemhaus GmbH jointly establish Germany's first ‘Trust Center’: D-TRUST. Once a seller of signature cards, the wholly owned subsidiary is today a trust service provider for public and private customers.

1999 - Subsidiary in Poland

Bundesdruckerei acquires Polish company iNCO Spółka z o. o. based in Gorzów. This wholly-owned subsidiary offers support for products from Bundesdruckerei and D‑Trust GmbH; in addition, iNCO provides digital services, such as scanning, text recognition or data capture.

History 1999
History 2000

2000 - Privatisation

The Federal Government sells its 100% stake in Bundesdruckerei to the investor group Apax Partners. Newly established authentos GmbH acts as the holding company for Bundesdruckerei and its subsidiaries.

2002 - New Euro Currency

In 1999, Bundesdruckerei is commissioned, along with privately owned printing company Giesecke & Devrient, to print the German share of the planned euro banknotes. On 1 January 1999, the euro is launched as scriptural money and on 1 January 2002 as cash.

History 2000
History 2003

2003 - Turbulent Times

Due to the collapse of the telecommunications market, authentos GmbH experiences economic difficulty. Bankruptcy is prevented by the sale to two asset management companies.

2005 - Introduction of the German ePassport

Bundesdruckerei re-positions itself: It aims to become established as a full-service supplier of Secure ID. The introduction of the electronic passport in Germany on 1 November 2005 marks an important milestone.

History 2005
History 2007

2007 - Second Generation of the ePassport

The second-generation ePassport includes two fingerprints stored on the chip. In order to protect these fingerprints against misuse, Bundesdruckerei is the first company in the world to implement Extended Access Control (EAC).

2009 - Buyback by the Federal Government

In September 2008, the German Federal Government decides to buy Bundesdruckerei back as a measure to safeguard Germany's security interests. The buyback comes into effect on 8 October 2009.

History 2009
History 2010

2010 -Electronic ID Card

Starting 1 November 2010, Bundesdruckerei produces the new electronic ID card for Germany. This is the first document which enables holders to identify themselves without doubt in both the analogue and the digital world.

2012 - Strategic Investments

Bundesdruckerei acquires shares in DERMALOG Identification Systems GmbH, one of the leading international biometrics producers. In 2013, the company invests in cryptography specialist cv cryptovision GmbH.

History 2012
History 2013

2013 - Automated Border Control

By the end of 2014, Bundesdruckerei and partner secunet Security Networks AG equip Germany's biggest airports with 90 eGates where automated processes are used to check the identity of passengers and the authenticity of their electronic travel documents. 

2013 - Expanding expertise in cryptography

Bundesdruckerei acquires a stake in cv cryptovision GmbH, a specialist for highly efficient secure encryption technologies based in Gelsenkirchen. In September, Bundesdruckerei increases its stake, becoming the largest shareholder with 35.1 percent.

History 2012
History 2014

2014 - Working the international market together

Bundesdruckerei and Giesecke+Devrient GmbH pool their international business with secure identification solutions, establishing Veridos GmbH as a joint venture. Bundesdruckerei holds 40 percent of this joint venture.

2015 - Share in genua Gmbh

Bundesdruckerei acquires a majority share in IT security specialist genua GmbH which is based in Kirchheim near Munich. genua GmbH provides network security  for customers with high IT security requirements. The investment rounds off Bundesdruckerei's portfolio.

History 2015
History 2016

2016 - Proof of Arrival for Asylum Seekers

The new proof-of-arrival system is to accelerate the entire range of procedures for asylum seekers, from registration right through to the issuance of proof of arrival. Bundesdruckerei supplies the complete system consisting of registration components, proof-of-arrival documents and the background system.

2020 - Growth in the new Group structure

With its Group structure, Bundesdruckerei sets the course for further growth in its core fields of business, i.e., secure identities, secure data and infrastructures. As the parent company, Bundesdruckerei Gruppe GmbH controls the subsidiaries and manages the shareholdings. The motto of the Group’s common mission is secure digitalization ‘Made in Germany’.

History 2020

2021 - Secure communications for public authorities

The establishment of Xecuro GmbH strengthens the strategic position of Bundesdruckerei Gruppe GmbH as the Federal Government’s IT security company. This wholly-owned subsidiary, based in Berlin, is to set up and operate a system for secure communications for the public sector.