Kohlhammer Verlag

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W. Kohlhammer GmbH

legal form Company with limited liability
founding April 30, 1866
Seat Stuttgart , GermanyGermanyGermany 
management Leopold Freiherr von und zu Weiler
Number of employees 311 (group)
sales 59.0 million euros
Branch publishing company
Website www.kohlhammer.de
As of December 31, 2018

The W. Kohlhammer GmbH , also Kohlhammer Verlag , a German scientific publishing company with headquarters in Stuttgart . The W. Kohlhammer GmbH has developed next to a composite of trading, manufacturing and service companies and is active in the areas of communications, electronic media, data storage and printing. The publisher does not belong to any group or larger association, but is owner-managed.


Portrait of Wilhelm Kohlhammer

On April 30, 1866, Wilhelm Kohlhammer (* August 26, 1839; † March 8, 1893) declared in the trade change protocol of the municipality of Stuttgart that he had taken over the printing and bathing establishment founded in 1849 by his late father-in-law Gottlob Carl Rümelin .

The print shop, which Kohlhammer now operated under his own name, had been in the back of an office building at Stuttgart Urbanstrasse 14 since 1857, where the publishing house had been based for 120 years. The shared bathing establishment, the "Stuttgarter Neckarwasserbad", worked profitably and provided Kohlhammer with financial support for the further expansion of the printing plant and the establishment of a publishing house until it was closed in 1890.

The consolidation of the small print with up to 8 owed agents Kohlhammer a new business idea. His experience as a notary's assistant gave him the idea of producing forms for standardized administrative processes and thus not only avoiding time-consuming paperwork, but also making a contribution to administrative legal security ( form publisher ).

From the business with pre-printed forms, the production of legal texts, service and administrative regulations for the Kingdom of Württemberg developed as a further line of business . In the period that followed, a legal and political science publisher was established, which is still one of the main pillars of the company today. The Kohlhammer Verlag also became known for its regional and regional specialist publications.

The impetus for setting up a theological and humanities department came from the dissertation of the vicar of the collegiate church and later professor for the Old Testament at the University of Leipzig , Rudolf Kittel . Another highlight was the critical edition of the Avesta, the holy books of the Parsees , obtained from Marburg professor Karl Friedrich Geldner between 1885 and 1895 , for the production of which Kohlhammer allegedly brought a Parse priest to Stuttgart who helped with the printing of the complicated characters and supervised the printing. In the course of time, other departments were added.

In order to be able to offer the public a Sunday paper, Kohlhammer founded the Neue Deutsche Familienblatt in 1872 , which had been printed on a rotary printing press since 1895 and had a print run of 185,000 copies in 1914. The success of the family paper prompted further expansion of the publisher's own magazine division by acquiring the publishing rights to the “ Deutsche Feuerwehrzeitung ”, which first appeared on October 5, 1860, in 1882 . Finally, in 1888 was still Schwaben calendar established that every year than 2018. Swabian Heimatkalender appeared.

After the sudden death of the publisher's founder in January 1893, the widow Marie Kohlhammer (1850–1925), supported by her brother, continued to run the business until 1909 when their son Walter Kohlhammer (1879–1946) joined the company as a partner and started printing and publishing companies continued to expand in the period that followed.

Kohlhammer Urban paperbacks

Within the Kohlhammer science program, the Urban pocket books form a well-known series of scientific pocket books in the subjects of history , psychology , education , theology and philosophy .

It was founded in 1953 as the first scientific paperback series on the German market. The idea of ​​the Urban books goes back to the Heidelberg historian Fritz Ernst , who visited the publishing house in Stuttgart's Urbanstrasse in the early 1950s as the author and editor of the magazine Die Welt als Geschichte . In the course of a conversation with the publisher, the idea of ​​a new scientific paperback series emerged, for which the name Urban Books was chosen, on the one hand because it started from Urbanstrasse, on the other hand because the transferred meaning of urban in the sense of education and cosmopolitanism should set the trend for the goal and task of the new series.

The series of Urban paperbacks, which comprises several hundred titles, includes introductions to scientific sub-areas, compact monographs and brief biographies on historical personalities and representations of historical peoples and dynasties . They are aimed particularly, but by no means exclusively, at students and interested laypeople: Despite the limited length of 200–300 pages, several volumes have the status of standard works on their respective topic. More recently, the volumes have mostly been given endnotes . The Urban paperbacks have been published in a new format since 2017; instead of yellow-orange as it was for decades, the envelopes are now blue.


Departments of the publisher

  • history
  • Political science
  • Literature and linguistics
  • law
  • theology
  • Religious Studies and History
  • philosophy
  • Cultural studies
  • Social sciences
  • Economics
  • medicine
  • Care and hospital
  • State history (especially Baden-Württemberg)
  • psychology
  • pedagogy
  • Social work
  • Fire protection and fire brigade (Die Rote Hefte)
  • administration

Former departments

  • architecture

Corporate group

Today the following companies belong to the association of publishing companies:

  • Verlag W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart
  • W. Kohlhammer Compunication GmbH, Stuttgart
  • W. Kohlhammer Druckerei GmbH + Co. KG, Stuttgart
  • W. Kohlhammer Medien GmbH + Co. KG, Stuttgart
  • Service at Buch Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart
  • Deutscher Gemeindeverlag GmbH (public administration), Stuttgart
  • Publishing house for architecture and construction
  • Publishing house for doctors
  • Hospital and care publisher
  • Publishing house for schools
  • Verlagvertrieb Stuttgart GmbH

Former corporate groups

  • Kohlhammer and Wallishauser GmbH printing company
  • Data Images GmbH


  • Verlag W. Kohlhammer (Ed.): Hundred Years of Kohlhammer 1866–1966 . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1966.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Imprint of W. Kohlhammer GmbH
  2. a b Federal Gazette : W. Kohlhammer Beteiligungen Geschäftsführungs GmbH. Consolidated financial statements for the financial year from 01/01/2018 to 12/31/2018
  3. ^ Franz-Josef Sehr : Development of fire protection . In: Freiwillige Feuerwehr Obertiefenbach e. V. (Ed.): 125 years of the Obertiefenbach volunteer fire brigade . Reference 2005, ISBN 978-3-926262-03-5 , pp. 116-117 .
  4. ^ Rolf Schamberger: One for All - All for One. 150 years of the German Fire Brigade Association . Ed .: Kohlhammer e. V. Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-17-018108-4 , pp. 26-38 .