Dr. h.c. mult. Alfred Toepfer, merchant, farmer and honorary citizen of Hamburg, founded the “Stiftung F.V.S. zu Hamburg” on December 5, 1931. He guided the foundation of international renown until his death in 1993.
To mark the occasion of Alfred Toepfer's 100th birthday, his name was added to that of the Foundation, so that it became Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. Today, the Foundation's name vouches for the required transparency concerning the founder and the Foundation's history.
Details about the founder's life can be found in the Alfred Toepfer Chronicle (updated 2005) as a download (in German). A critical analysis of Toepfer's life and work is available in Jan Zimmermann's Toepfer biography, published in the series, "Hamburger Köpfe" (2008).
Since its history extends as far back as 1931, the Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. has a particular responsibility to research the cultural, political and business dealings of Alfred Toepfer and his foundations. An examination not only of the history of the Foundation from its beginnings up to 1945 but also a critical survey of its awards for culture between 1933 and 1945 has been published in 2000. These were carried out by an independent board of academics. In addition, an assessment of the history of individual prizes awarded since the 1950s was published in 2003. Together, these works form the basis of the Foundation’s documentation of its own history. See under Publications (in German) and Current Debates.