Prussian Geological State Institute

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Building Invalidenstrasse 44: The headquarters of the state institute were located in this building complex

The Prussian Geological State Institute (abbreviation PGLA ) was founded in Berlin in 1873 as the Royal Prussian Geological State Institute and existed until 1939. Its tasks were the geological investigation and mapping of Prussia as well as the documentation and processing of the results for scientific and economic purposes. The first directors were Heinrich Ernst Beyrich and Wilhelm Hauchecorne .


After its founding, the state institute was housed in Berlin in the building of the so-called "Old Stock Exchange" at Lustgarten until 1878.

On November 15, 1878, she took over the property at Invalidenstrasse 44 in Berlin from the Royal Prussian Iron Foundry and moved with her collection into her own new building, which was built between 1875 and 1878 under the architect August Tiede (1834–1911).

In the building complex Invalidenstrasse 42-44 there is now the Museum of Natural History (house number 43) and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Housing (house number 42), founded in 1898 by merging the geological-paleontological, mineralogical-petrographic and zoological museums. .


The work of the establishment was regulated by the statute of March 6, 1875 of the Minister for Trade, Industry and Public Works, Heinrich von Achenbach , which contained only four paragraphs. In Paragraph 2, the establishment of geological and palaeontological maps and related treatises as well as the systematic construction of a geological state museum by amalgamating the exhibits and collection material contained in various museums and collections are named as tasks of the institute . The main task of the geological institute remained the mapping of the Prussian state territory and the production of detailed geological maps on a scale of 1: 25,000 until the 20th century. In addition, there were tasks in applied geology (raw material exploration, soil research for agriculture, method development, engineering geology, groundwater exploration, peatland drainage). The PGLA was in charge of the creation of the international geological map of Europe on a scale of 1: 1,500,000. In the former German colonies, the state institute also took on direct imperial tasks. When Hitler came to power in 1933, the state institute began to focus unilaterally on the exploration of natural resources.


Before 1873, the geological survey of the state belonged directly to the department of the "Administration for Mining, Metallurgy and Saltworks" department in the Prussian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Public Works. As a result of the increase and expansion of the recording areas of special geological maps, the geological activity in the mines department of the ministry increased enormously over time, so that the plan was made to have this work carried out by a separate authority.

After it was founded on January 1, 1873, the state institute formed an organizational unit with the Bergakademie Berlin, founded in 1770 . While the state institute was responsible for the planned registration of Prussia, the Bergakademie was responsible for training as a university . There was a common administration. With the attached geological-mineralogical museum, the mining library taken over and expanded by the Mining Ministry, and a chemical and metallurgical laboratory, a comprehensive research and training center was created.

The actual workforce was initially small, but the majority of geology professors at the Prussian universities worked with the state institute.

On April 1, 1907, the Bergakademie was spun off again. It was later one of the forerunners of today's Technical University of Berlin .

After the abolition of the monarchy, on May 31, 1919, the Prussian Minister of Commerce and Industry renamed the Royal Prussian Geological State Institute (KPGLA) to the Prussian Geological State Institute (PGLA).

On May 1, 1934, the Institute for Petroleum Geology with a branch in Hanover was founded in the PGLA . Under its director Alfred Bentz, the institute was instrumental in the implementation of the so-called Reich drilling program , which was the first to carry out a thorough and systematic investigation of Germany's oil deposits.

The state institute was dissolved on April 1, 1939 and became the Reich Office for Soil Research (from 1941 Reich Office for Soil Research ). After the war, the State Geological Commission, later the Central Geological Institute (ZGI) of the GDR, took over the geological archives. In 1990 the collection was incorporated into the holdings of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Raw Materials (BGR).

Directors / Presidents

Until 1920 the official title was director , then president .

Known employees (selection)

See category: Employees of the Prussian Geological State Institute


  • Hans Udluft: The Prussian Geological State Institute 1873-1939 (= supplements to the Geological Yearbook, supplement 78). 1968.
  • Federal Institute for Soil Research and the Geological State Offices of the Federal Republic of Germany (Ed.): 100 years of Prussian Geological State Institute. Ceremony on June 1st, 1973 in Hanover. Greetings, lectures, scientific contributions . Federal Institute for Soil Research, Hanover 1974
  • Klaus-Dieter Meinhold: 125 years of the Prussian Geological State Institute and its successors, past and present (= Geological Yearbook Series G, Volume G 10). 2003, ISBN 978-3-510-95909-9 .
  • The Royal Geological State Institute and Mountain Academy in Berlin . In: Journal of Construction . Volume 32 (1882), Col. 7–12, 153–162, Tables 7–14. Digitized in the holdings of the Central and State Library Berlin .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. to: 08/03: On the 175th birthday of Wilhelm Hauchecorne. BGR Hanover
  2. text of the Statute on
  3. Geological Yearbook, Series G, Issue 10, Hannover 2003, p. 6
  4. ^ Geological Yearbook, Series A, Issue 15, Hanover 1974, p. 142
  5. to: Directors and geologists (biographical and obituaries).