How it all began
More than 265 years ago, customs inspector Jan Willem Noot planned a packing house for groceries in the Royal Gardens in Ruhrort. In order to acquire the hereditary lease for the property, it was necessary to obtain the signature of the owner, who was none other than Frederick II. The document, signed personally by the Prussian king on 10 February 1756, went down in the history of the Haniel family-owned company as the “foundation charter”.
The place where the history of the Haniel Group began more than 265 years ago is now home to the Haniel Museum: the historical old packing house. Over three floors, visitors experience how the family-owned company developed into an international group. They can view original documents, historical furniture and lovingly restored living and working areas.
In the Haniel Museum it is clear to see that the history of the Group is closely linked with the economic history of the Ruhr region. The exhibition documents how the region became one of Germany’s key industrial locations and how Haniel drove forward the industrialisation of the Duisburg area.
“Maybe the success of Messieurs Haniel can be attributed to the fact that they relied on their skills and industriousness rather than seeking the protection and capital of kings and governments.”
The Haniel archive is home to more than 80,000 documents covering some two kilometres of shelves – including files, technical drawings, historical securities, photographs and films. The spectrum ranges from a property deed from the 17th century to current data in digital form. The jewel in the crown of the archive is the company charter, which dates from 1756 and bears the signature of Frederick II of Prussia.
The Haniel archive is located at the company headquarters in Duisburg-Ruhrort. In addition to historical artefacts bequeathed by family members, the archive continuously gathers files from the offices of employees and current publications. In order to preserve the original documents, some of which are several hundred years old, the archive also has its own restoration workshop where documents are cleaned and conserved.