The Beginning of German Aviation: 1909-1945
The area known today as the “City of Science, Technology and Media”, was once the Johannisthal airbase. Germany's first motorized aircraft took off from here at the beginning of the 20th century. Albatros, Fokker, Rumpler and Wright made Adlershof-Johannisthal famous. In 1912 the German Experimental Institute for Aviation (Deutsche Versuchsanstalt für Luftfahrt – DVL) made Adlershof its headquarter. Laboratories, motor test beds, wind tunnels and hangars were erected in the 20s and 30s and are historical landmarks today.
The East German Era: 1945 - 1989
After World War II, the airport was closed and new institutions determined from then on Adlershofs destiny:
In 1952 East Germany's National Television began broadcasting from Adlershof.
The East German Academy of Science was established in 1946 with nine scientific institutes in the fields of physics and chemistry. "Scientific Equipment Engineering" with its approx. 1,700 workers developed and produced a majority of East Germany's research equipment.
A substantial portion of the research done at the Academy institutes was notable for its close connection with the industry, allowing the scientists to engage in world-wide networks. Adlershof produced many known products and inventions, such as ultra-short pulse lasers, time-resolved optical spectroscopy and space diagnosis devices. Other things like trifocals and contraceptive pills were also invented here. In 1989 over 5,600 people were working in Adlershof. That was more than half the R&D capacity of the whole Science Academy.
After German reunification in 1990, the fate of the Academy was sealed by the German Unification Treaty: The research facilities of the Academy were subjected to an evaluation marathon by the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat), which established that there were about 1,500 Academy employees who ought to be placed in new research structures. For the rest of the former employees, it was recommended that they either find new jobs or start their own companies. So of the 250 newly founded companies, approx 100 were founded by ex-academy workers. Today almost 90 per cent of the companies co-operate with at least one partner, and 60 per cent with three or more partners at the site.
Eight of the twelve research institutes now located in Adlershof and financed by Berlin and the Federal Republic of Germany are directly descended from the former GDR Academy of Sciences at the beginning of 1992 and integrated into the Federal German research landscape. They continued their activity under the responsibility of other bodies for example under the Max Planck Society, or affiliated to large research establishments like the "Joint Initiative of Non-University Research Institutions in Adlershof" - IGAFA.
Making Ideas a Reality: Adlershof - City of Science, Technology and Media
In September 1991 the State of Berlin founded the “Adlershof Development Society” (EGA), from which WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH emerged in 1994. In 1992 the Berlin Senate decided to establish an "integrated scientific and business landscape" on the Adlershof site and made building investments amounting to about 230 million Euros. The goal was to bring together the synergies from science and industry, innovation to market.
To encourage innovative businesses to settle here, modern specialised centres were established on the premises, some in reconstructed old buildings, and others in new buildings with spectacular architecture. The first was the Innovation and Business Incubation Centre" (IGZ) in 1991, followed by the Centre for Photonics and Optical Technologies, the Centre for Environmental, Bio and Energy Technology, the Centre for Information and Media Technology, and the Centre for Materials and Microsystems Technology. A Service-Centre and the OWZ - International Business Incubator for Middle and Eastern European entrepreneurs top off the profile.
Up to the end of the year 2000 WISTA-MANAGEMENT GMBH had made investments to the amount of approximately 325 million euros.
The Prospects of the Humboldt-Campus
The decision to relocate the mathematics and natural science faculties of the Humboldt University of Berlin to Adlershof fell in 1991. In 1998 the Departments of Computer Science and Mathematics settled here, followed by Chemistry in 2001, and Physics, Geography and Psychology in 2003. One of the most modern libraries in Europe, the new Information and Communication Centre "Erwin Schrödinger-Zentrum", is a computing centre, library and a technology transfer point, which can be used jointly by both university and non-university institutions alike.