Zeiss headquarters in Oberkochen. 
JENA, OBERKOCHEN, Germany—175 years ago, on Nov. 17, 1846, young mechanic Carl Zeiss opened his workshop for precision mechanics and optics in Jena, thus laying the foundation for what would become Zeiss. To mark this special day, the company ran a celebration event, the highlight of a jam-packed anniversary year. The virtual event took place on Nov. 16  at the Volkshaus, in the company's founding city Jena. During the virtual event, Dr. Karl Lamprecht, president and CEO of the Zeiss Group, praised the company's successful past, celebrated its present and shared his outlook on the future.

Zeiss is also taking the anniversary as an opportunity to look back over its successful technology story. In addition, Zeiss has invested over €350 million in the new high-tech site in Jena, an area measuring 80,000 square meters which will accommodate more than 2,000 employees. The aim of the new facility is to lay the groundwork for further growth at the Zeiss Group. An efficient building, new infrastructure, and cutting-edge workplaces will all play their role here.
After a €5 million donation to the Deutsches Museum last summer, the "A Heart for Science" initiative will be launched. More details on that are posted here. Zeiss is expanding its social commitment and pooling existing STEM projects in the global initiative to bring kids and teenagers together under one roof. Meanwhile, new activities are being run worldwide. 


Zeiss group president and CEO Dr. Karl Lamprecht during the virtual event at the Volkshaus in Jena.
Said Dr. Lamprecht, "Zeiss' unique history and its exceptional achievements make it a truly extraordinary company. Its 175 years also demonstrate the company's high level of resilience and its willingness to accept change. And, above all, Zeiss' tremendous passion, coupled with its pioneering spirit and its pragmatism in challenging and pushing the limits of the technically feasible. 175 years of Zeiss are more than just a historical milestone in our corporate history. It's also what motivates us to look ahead and help contribute to a bright future shaped by technological innovations."

In a video message, German federal president Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated all Zeiss employees around the world, "175 years of Zeiss is much more than an anniversary. Its interplay of entrepreneurial spirit, drive to research, and inventiveness make the ZeissGroup a pioneer of modern industry."

The president underlined Zeiss' responsibility as a foundation-owned company: "Thanks to Ernst Abbe's visionary realization that economic success, scientific progress and social cohesion all go together, he set up the Carl Zeiss Foundation and thus paved the way for the company to take entrepreneurial responsibility for the common good." He also expressed his conviction that we most definitely need this collaboration between science and industry to achieve goals like climate neutrality as well as to safeguard jobs and ensure social welfare.

German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulates Zeiss on its 175th anniversary.
"As Zeiss' sole shareholder, the Carl Zeiss Foundation benefits in particular from the economic success of its foundation company," said minister Theresia Bauer, chair of the Carl Zeiss Foundation Administration, adding, "Upwards of €300 million have been invested in more than 700 research projects since 2007 alone. This makes it one of the largest private foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science."

"I'd like to thank all our employees for enabling us to promote science through their innovative power," said Dr. Dieter Kurz, chairman of the Carl Zeiss Foundation Council and chairman of the Supervisory Board of Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG.

Dr. Kurz said, "Zeiss 175 is the fascinating story of an evolution from a small workshop with just one employee in Jena to a global market leader for the optics industry that employs 35,000 people. However, it's a success story that's not as straightforward as it looks today.

"In fact, it's a story packed with twists and turns, ups and downs. Its long-term success has been possible because core virtues, values and skills have always been protected, while plenty of other aspects have been reinvented time and again. This is part of Zeiss' innovation culture."