Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, from the beginning intended to be an "Academy for German History", was founded in 1858 by King Maximilian II of Bavaria at the suggestion of Leopold von Ranke.

The Commission's brief is to "publish source material and accounts of German history", and for 150 years it has produced almost 650 volumes and thus made a major contribution to basic research into history. As well as the traditional medium of the book, it is increasingly making use of the Internet. Its members are leading historians from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (currently 41; since 1858: 184). The Commission's publication and research projects range from the Middle Ages to contemporary history and include political, economic and social history as well as the history of civilisation and scholarship. The European context is also taken into consideration in a variety of ways.

Every year, at the start of March, the members of the Commission meet in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities for their annual session to review the work of the previous year and to discuss the future. At this annual session fundamental decisions are made concerning new research projects and new members are elected.

Organisationally and financially the Historical Commission enjoys an independent status, but it is closely linked by statute to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Most of the funding comes from the State of Bavaria. About 25% comes from third-party funds. 26 scientific staff are currently working at 9 locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The Historical Commission is supported by the "Stiftung zur Förderung der Historischen Kommission bei der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und des Historischen Kollegs" (Foundation to promote the Historical Commission at the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Historical College) as a public foundation with legal status in civil law.

Alfons-Goppel-Str. 11
80539 München
Tel.: ++49 89 23031-1151
Fax: ++49 89 23031-1245

Leopold von Ranke

Leopold von Ranke (1795–1886) was the first president of the Historical Commission from 1858 to 1886. The illustration depicts him in about 1858 in a fresco by the historical painter Engelbert Seibertz (1813–1905) in the Maximilianeum in Munich with the Maximilians Medal for Science and Art conferred on him by King Maximilian II in 1853.