Fritz Thyssen Stiftung


Fritz Thyssen Stiftung was founded in 1959 by Amélie Thyssen and her daughter Anita Countess Zichy Thyssen, in memory of the late August and Fritz Thyssen. It was the first large private foundation to be established after World War II in Germany. The work of the foundation began in the second half of 1960, following the appointment of the members of its governing body.


To advance research and scholarship primarily in the humanities, but also in medicine and the natural sciences.

Geographic Focus

Germany and international

Programme Areas

The foundation promotes projects of scientific research, mainly in the following fields:
• Humanities
• International relations
• State, economy and society
• Medicine and natural sciences
• Image and Imagery

Seeks to respond to processes of change in the study of history, language and culture. Special attention is paid to interdisciplinary research projects which take into account the social sciences and natural sciences, particularly with regard to cognitive neurosciences. The foundation also continues to support the research traditions of the ‘classical’ arts disciplines, particularly philosophy and theology; it furthers research which can act as a stimulus to all subjects in the broad fields of the arts and cultural studies. The foundation also supports with the VolkswagenStiftung, a joint initiative entitled "Pro Humanities" which aims to foster research in particular where it crosses over borderlines between disciplines, where they overlap and where difficult new fields of enquiry are arising. Another joint initiative with the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the Verwertungsgesellschaft Wort and the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, support the “International Humanities Prize for the Support of Translations of Works in the Humanities”. With this prize, the partners support the translation of works in the humanities and social sciences into English.

International Relations
Supports research on the interaction between the processes of de-territorialisation in the economy, law and politics. The foundation focuses on facilitating cooperation between German and foreign institutes, research groups and individual scholars in this field of interest.

State, Economy and Society
Supports projects which investigate the preconditions leading to and the results arising from the process of change in modern societies. Emphasis is placed on projects in the fields of economics, law, politics, sociology and ethnology, as well as other areas of the social sciences. The foundation supports projects which make productive use of a variety of methods and which have a comparative orientation, as well as projects which deal with Europe.

Medicine and Natural Sciences
Concentrates its support on molecular-biological research on those diseases which are caused by genetic defects or in which genes contribute to the development of complex illnesses. Preference in this programme is given to younger researchers with appropriate experience in areas of interests pre-defined by the foundation.

Image and Imagery
Endeavours to stimulate and support research projects in the area of iconic recognition models. Special preference is given to projects which deal with the logic of images; the anthropology of images; problems in the sciences; the culture and the history of images; the relation of aesthetic and cognitive achievements; or the instrumental role of the image in the representational processes of the sciences.

In addition, the foundation sponsors international scholarship and exchange programmes; libraries; and smaller scientific seminars/conferences.

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