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Carl Zeiss Foundation marks its establishment 125 years ago

The Carl Zeiss Foundation has marked its establishment 125 years ago at a festive event at its headquarters in Oberkochen, Germany.The Chancellor of Germany, Dr Angela Merkel, opened the celebrations, saying the foundation was established 125 years ago thanks to the commitment and farsightedness of German physicist and entrepreneur Ernst Abbe, who decided to allocate profits from the Zeiss and Schott and companies operating in the optical and glass sector to such purposes as promoting science.Both Zeiss and Schott are now owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation.

Between 2007 and now, the Carl Zeiss Foundation has received €80 million from Zeiss and Schott for promoting scientific research through grants for universities, Dr Merkel said.

The foundation says that although dated 1896, the statute of the Carl Zeiss Foundation still applies today "because it describes the ideal model of responsible entrepreneurship".

According to Dr Merkel, the foundation's statute is "an exceptional document of German economic and social history".

The statute in 1896 recognised the social rights of its employees, a new development for the period that would become part of Germany's labor laws only ten years later. It has survived such crises as two world wars and the division of the country into East and West.

Dr Merkel also praised Zeiss and Schott, "well-known all over the world for their state-of-the-art technology, for being a jewel in Germany's economic crown.

"Zeiss is an international company in the optical and optoelectronics sectors, while Schott specialises in the manufacture of glass products and is the world leader for many of the products it offers.

"Zeiss and Schott are known all over the world for their state-of-the-art technology 'made in Germany.' They are flagships of German business."

And due to their special company model, she also called them "exporters of the social market economy".


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