Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung – Institut der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft
Since its foundation in April 1950, the Herder Institute has been one of the most important research institutions in Germany active in the field of East-European studies. It is an extra-university institution funded by the federal and all sixteen regional governments, a member of the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft.
It acts as a central German research forum and scientific service by
- making available, with its collections and services, a unique supra-regional scientific infra-structure
- producing basic aids and working material to assist academic research
- acting as a forum for international scientific debate
- offering a user-oriented information and research service
- carrying out its own research in order to acquire the best possible scientific grounding for its services
The Institute's fields of work comprise the history of the countries and peoples of eastern central Europe within the boundaries of today's states of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with special reference to the former Eastern Territories of Germany and German settlement areas in East Europe.
The collections form the basis for the Institute's activities:
- a library with now 450,000 volumes on the history and culture of eastern central Europe (of which 140,000 are currently listed online)
- an archive of daily and weekly newspapers collected since 1952 that are being analysed in a systematic collection of clippings
- a picture archive containing all kinds of pictorial material on the topography as well as the history of art and culture of eastern central Europe (present stock: 550,000 items)
- a collection of maps with ca. 40,000 maps and charts, ca. 1,300 historic maps as well as 6,300 aerial mapping photographs taken from 1942 to 1945
- a document archive that contains family archives and estates, single documents and films from archives in Riga, Reval/Tallinn and Dorpat/Tartu
Working with these materials, the scientific staff support basic research, the Institute's function as a public forum, information services and research projects.