Müller (job title)

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Guild coat of arms of the millers

As Müller is craft and denotes the (often industrial) production of flour or spices , vegetable oil or animal feed is responsible. In addition, the owner or operator of a mill is called a miller, even if this mill is no longer a traditional miller today. At the same time, Müller is also the most common family name in the German-speaking area .

Current official job title

The job title has been adapted several times to the requirements of practice. The current official job title in Germany was published on May 3, 2017 in the Federal Law Gazette and has since been: Process technologist for mills and grains .

The responsible professional associations had come to the conviction that the old job title "Müller" no longer reflects today's technological requirements of the profession, and with the reform of the training regulations they also aimed to change the name. Henceforth the profession should only be called “Process Technologist, Milling and Grain Management”. Anyone who has previously completed the journeyman's or master's examination as a miller can continue to call themselves that.

Current job profile of the miller

Whereas in the past it was rather traditional old craft businesses that operated mills , now it is predominantly industrial operations. In the 2011/12 business year there were still 260 grain mills in Germany that milled more than 500 t of grain per year. Seven of them milled 200,000 tons of grain per year or more. 61 large mills with an annual grinding of 25,000 t and more account for 84.9% of total sales. According to the Association of German Mills, between 199 and 272 smaller mills with annual grinding between 500 and 25,000 t have a market share of 15.1%. There is no more room for nostalgia (the miller with pointed cap and flour sack over his shoulder) - today the miller comes with a silo truck and blows the flour into the baker's silos with compressed air .

The miller produces:

Since the work processes in mills and compound feed factories have been largely engineered, only a few workers are needed in the milling industry. However, they must be well trained, have extensive specialist knowledge, understand how to adapt to new requirements, combine them and be able to make quick decisions. The field of activity of today's miller is therefore wide-ranging and demanding. It requires organizational, technical and commercial thinking and acting. A trained miller can usually choose his place of work - even in today's world - because the milling companies do not train enough.

The job situation is very relaxed for Müller, the unemployment rate at Müller is extremely low.

Areas of activity in mills and compound feed plants

  • Purchase and sale
  • Company laboratory
  • Production and its monitoring
  • Raw material acquisition and storage
  • Raw material cleaning and wetting
  • Quality control
  • distribution


  • Physical exercise capacity
  • Food allergy free
  • Enjoy working with natural products
  • Technical understanding (interest in handling machines)
  • Skilled craftsmanship
  • Interest in biology , chemistry , physics
  • Spatial and abstract thinking
  • Good health (no flour allergy, no asthma )
  • Willingness to work irregularly



The apprenticeship period for Müller is 3 years. If you have a secondary school diploma , Abitur or an already completed apprenticeship, the training period can be shortened to 2 ½ or 2 years. The vocational school takes place in block form. The teaching time is approx. 12 weeks / year. After appropriate professional experience, the master craftsman 's examination can be taken in the miller's trade.

The master school in Stuttgart has been practicing a closely coordinated cooperation with the Swiss Milling School in St. Gallen since 2007 . With both five-month courses, the participants can achieve two high-quality degrees within ten months: the German master craftsman's certificate and the diploma as "Milling Technician SMS". Attendance at the master school can be credited to the technical school for food technology for up to one year. This regulation applies to technician training in Baden-Württemberg . The technical school ends with a final examination by the existence of which the professional title "State certified technician / certified technician specialized in food technology" and the college entrance be purchased.

Another option is to study in Braunschweig at the German Milling School Braunschweig (DMSB), a 2-year technical college (technical school) specializing in: " Milling , grain and feed technology". Here you can acquire the qualification as a “state-certified technician” in the field mentioned. It is possible to specialize in the areas of "plant engineering" or "process engineering", but both areas can also be taken at the same time. In addition, you acquire the technical college entrance qualification and a feed certificate, which entitles you to independently manage a compound feed company. In addition, the master craftsman's examination in milling can be taken in front of the Braunschweig Chamber of Crafts. The technician's qualification replaces the theoretical part II of the exam. The study period is 4 semesters (2 years) and school attendance is free.

The new framework curriculum for vocational schools in Germany was also reformed and adopted on March 30, 2017.


In Austria you can become a miller through an apprenticeship or through a corresponding vocational higher technical institute. Today the apprenticeship is called process engineer for the grain industry and is divided into three specialized courses with an apprenticeship period of three years each:

  • Grain miller
  • Feed production
  • Baking improver production

Depending on the focus, the process technicians manufacture baking agents, animal feed, flour or semolina for the grain industry.

In Austria there is also a private HTL in Wels in Upper Austria. After five years, which you complete with the Matura , you have an apprenticeship as a miller, baker, chemical apprenticeship as a laboratory assistant and food technologist. There is also a year-long master’s school for bakers, millers and confectioners.


The training to become a miller EFZ takes three years. The vocational school instruction takes place in block courses.

The two subjects offered are food and pet food.

Social history of the miller's profession

Müller at work, from
Jost Amman's
book of status , 1568

From the Middle Ages to the early modern period , the miller's trade was considered disreputable and " dishonorable ". In the early modern times it was counted among the "dishonest" professions in many places . In the specific case, however, the millers usually succeeded in being rehabilitated by the authorities. In other cases they were accused of fraud. This is beautifully documented in the Fraud Lexicon by Georg Paul Hönn , published in 1721 , which describes in detail in a total of 30 different cases the manner in which the individual frauds are allegedly carried out by millers. Some examples:

  • When they keep secret side bags in hidden and covered places, whereby the Meel falls on the sides, into their thief holes.
  • If they go unnoticed two times, a large one to take and a small one to spend.
  • If, with the restlessness of those mill bags, you put double boards or floors inside the mill box, in which the flour can hide.
  • If they let their hens, pigeons, and pigs come into the mill, be master of foreign grain.

These fraud allegations are likely to have been largely defamation: in reality, millers were no more fraudulent than other craftsmen. In the urban class societies of the Middle Ages, children from miller families were usually not considered worthy of a guild. Since the middle of the 16th century, however, imperial laws of 1548 and 1577 explicitly declared Müller to be honorable and her children to be worthy of a guild.

"Watermills" used to be differentiated from "windmills" depending on the type of drive. Windmillers have existed in central Germany since the 17th century.

In the grinding mills, flour and meal were made for food by the grinding miller . In the improper mills which was hydropower used for processing different types of materials such as, among others, in paper mills , fulling mills , Bark Mill , hammer mills , cutting mills and sawmills . The corresponding job titles, which have often become established as family names, are Hammermüller, Bretschneider, Oelschläger, etc.

Erbmüller sat as property miller on a grinding mill or mill property. Measured by village standards, these millers were often extremely wealthy as early as the 17th century. Since the mills (often also equipped with a chopping gear) were almost exclusively inherited from father to son, ownership successes in a family over several centuries are possible with hereditary millers.

Leasehold millers, on the other hand, were only tenants on a mill. This mill was owned directly by the landlord or a mill owner. If the mill belonged to an electoral office, it was called the “official miller”; a nobleman , then z. B. from the "Wolffersdorfischer Müller"; if the landlord was a town, then the lease miller was the "Ratsmüller" or "Stadtmüller". The lease contracts , some of which have survived in the archives , were only concluded for a few years and then either renewed or the mill was given to the applicant who was willing to pay the highest rent. For this reason, it was not easy for the tenant millers to gather enough wealth to own a mill themselves. The lease millers are therefore a special occupation , the genealogical research of which is often only possible through large-scale mapping . In Saxony two thirds of all Pachtmüller were miller's sons, the rest the sons of farmers and artisans from town and country.

A cutting mill (also called Brettmüller, Holzmüller or Brettschneider) was a miller on a water mill , the drive energy of which was used to process wood. Typical for many cutting mills was the job title “miller and carpenter”, with pronounced marriage relationships with carpenters and other craftsmen. In the mountains, a sawmill was often only a sideline for the farmers in winter, and the modest economic situation of these "millers" was not comparable to that of grinding millers and hereditary millers in the flat and hill country .

If there were several mills in a village , people often spoke of Obermüller, Mittelmüller or Untermüller or used special names such as “Lerchenmüller”, “Kornmüller” etc. Sometimes the mill and the miller's families even gave each other the same name, e.g. B. "Ahnertsmühle" for a mill that has been run by the Ahnert family of millers for centuries; "Steinmüller" as a family name for a family who had run the "Steinmühle" for centuries.

Like large farms, large mills were almost a symbol of relative rural prosperity (see rural social structure ). From the 16th to the 18th century, 81% of the millers in Saxony were miller's sons. In most cases a miller took over a business as a property miller or as a hereditary miller only after several years of training, which he performed partly in foreign mills in the vicinity (up to 50 km away, but mostly closer), partly in his father's mill. But if a miller's son had no prospect of his father's mill or one that his father had bought, he had to look around himself if he did not want to remain a mill servant forever. The position of a lease miller was the next higher level compared to the Mühlknecht (see also social advancement ). If the young miller had a certain amount of capital , whether from a division of the estate, from his wife's dowry or from his own savings, he could try to buy a mill himself. However, this search often took years (see also special professions , mapping ).

Since the miller's families raised more children than there were mills, some of the offspring had to move to other professions. For example, miller families of significant landscape importance (such as the Käsmodel and the Landrock in the Saxon Ore Mountains ) always have namesakes in other professions in the same area. If you want to clarify the genealogy of a miller's family, it can help that millers were popular godparents , so that you can find the missing first name of the wife in the godparent entries. With the help of these sponsor entries in the church register , the period of time for the presence of a particular miller family in a parish can often be precisely limited (see also dead point (genealogy) ).

If several millers sat on the same watercourse, the miller who sat higher up (had upper water ) conventionally had the right to open or close his mill weir at will, regardless of the millers who were lower down. Since the millers often had legal disputes among themselves or with the authorities because of the water and the weirs , the court books and court files are a rich source of information about millers.

In 2018, the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture proposed the miller's trade for inclusion in the nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage . In December 2018, the “handicraft milling in windmills or water mills” was included in the “National Directory of Intangible Cultural Heritage” of UNESCO.


  • AT THE. Dubler: Müller and Mühlen in the old state of Lucerne. Legal, economic and social history of the land milling industry in Lucerne, 14.-18. Century. Lucerne: Rex 1978 (= Lucerne Historical Publications 8)
  • H. Herzberg: Mühlen and Müller in Berlin. A contribution to the history of the productive forces. Berlin: Publishing house for construction 1986
  • Burghard Kirsch: Milling technology, materials science. Composition, study, evaluation and use of grain and grain products . 8th edition. Bayerischer Müllerbund, Munich 2016, ISBN 978-3-9812436-6-6 .
  • Ilka Göbel: The mills in the city. Miller's trade in Göttingen, Hameln and Hildesheim from the Middle Ages to the 18th century . Dissertation University of Göttingen 1991 (= publications of the Institute for Historical Research at the University of Göttingen . Volume 31). Publishing house for regional history, Bielefeld 1993, ISBN 3-927085-87-1 , especially: 5. Das Müllerhandwerk. 5.3 Dishonesty, pp. 161–182.
  • Hermann Metzke: Müller marriages in the 17th and 18th centuries Century in southern Saxony-Anhalt. Genealogical Yearbook 33/34 (1993/1994) 183-260
  • V. Weiss: Müller and Müller's sons in the Saxon Ore Mountains and Vogtland in the valleys and side valleys of the Zwickauer Mulde, Zschopau and Weißen Elster (1540–1721). Neustadt / Aisch: Degener 1996, ISBN 3-7686-4146-5 (series of the Stoye Foundation 27)
  • Gollisch, Helmut: From the life of a miller, stories - anecdotes - sayings - songs , 2008, Verlag Moritz Schäfer, Detmold, ISBN 978-3-87696-124-8
  • Torsten Rüdinger, Philipp Oppermann: Kleine Mühlenkunde - German history of technology from friction stone to industrial mill , terra press, Berlin, 2012 (2nd edition), ISBN 978-3981162677

Web links

Commons : Müller  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Müller  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikisource: Der Müller  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Derivation of the job title , BiBB.de, accessed on November 25, 2017
  2. Ordinance on vocational training for process technologists in the mill and grain industry and process technologist in mill and grain industry (MühGetreiWiTechAusbV). Retrieved October 28, 2019 .
  3. BIBB / Training in the milling and grain industry modernized . Retrieved October 28, 2019 .
  4. ^ VDM leaflet on current production. (PDF; 350 kB) Accessed April 7, 2016 .
  5. ^ Association of German Mills - Economic Situation. Retrieved May 21, 2012 .
  6. VDM flyer on training: Whoever comes to us, serves first , accessed on April 7, 2016
  7. Master School for Müller, Stuttgart
  8. Swiss School of Milling St. Gallen
  9. Framework curriculum for the apprenticeship process technologist, milling and grain industry of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (PDF file; 83 kB), download at kmk.org, accessed on November 27, 2017.
  10. The rhyming text for this picture by Hans Sachs is transcribed at Wikisource: Der Müller
  11. Cf. Reallexicon of German Antiquities , ed. E. Götzinger, Leipzig 1885, p. 667
  12. ^ Jost Schneider: Social history of reading: on the historical development and social differentiation of literary communication in Germany . Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2004, p. 154. ISBN 3-11-017816-8
  13. ^ Rudolf Vandré: Dishonest millers. On the social position of a profession in the early modern period. Genealogy, German Journal for Family Studies, 2/2013, pp. 497–513
  14. Georg Paul Hönn: Fraud Lexicon, in which the most fraudulent activities are discovered in all states, together with the means that serve the good part against it . Pfotenhauer, Coburg 1721, pp. 264–267 ( digitized from Google Books ); alternatively: e-text of the 3rd edition 1724 at zeno.org
  15. A.-M. Dubler: Müller and Mühlen in the old state of Lucerne. Legal, economic and social history of the land milling industry in Lucerne , 14. – 18. Century. Lucerne: Rex 1978, pp. 123–126 (= Lucerne Historical Publications 8)
  16. German Encyclopedia or General Real Dictionary of All Arts and Sciences . Volume 18, Varrentrapp and Wenner, Frankfurt am Main 1794, p. 277
  17. Nationwide register of intangible cultural heritage and register of good practice examples , unesco.de, accessed on July 5, 2019