The STERN Photo Archive has arrived in Munich. Presentation of the donation at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek with State Minister Bernd Sibler

In the presence of Bernd Sibler, the Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts, the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN is presented for the first time today at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB), with a number of former STERN photographers taking part as well. Moreover, a small selection of photographs is shown. The Hamburg publishing house Gruner + Jahr donated the analogue photographic archive of the magazine STERN, which comprises 15 million photographs, to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at the start of 2019, in order to ensure the long-term existence of the archive and to make it accessible to the public and research.

The complex transport from Hamburg to Munich, divided into eight truck loads, has been concluded. The transport was accompanied and supervised by curators and conservators of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Currently, the archive is accommodated in external stacks of the library. For the later use of the photographs, it is essential to clarify the copyrights. Corresponding negotiations with the photographers are already progressing successfully. It is planned to digitize this collection without much delay and thus make it available in the course of the coming years within the scope of a large digitization project.

The archive includes over 15 million photographs from the years 1948 to 2001 in the form of prints, negatives and slides, thus representing one of the largest collections of photographs held by a public-sector institution in the German language area. It is considered the visual memory of the Federal Republic of Germany and one of the most important documents of photo journalism on a worldwide scale. With its multiply award-winning illustrative features, the STERN has developed a unique visual power and has set standards in magazine journalism for over 70 years. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is one of the world’s leading heritage institutions to now take over responsibility for this unique cultural good. In addition to conserving the photographic archive, the donation contract also includes the gradual digitization of the archive by the library and the legal clarification of the conditions of use.

Bernd Sibler, Bavarian State Minister of Sciences, Research and the Arts: "Photographs are special historical source materials, they communicate directly, they pinpoint messages, events, emotions and become ingrained in one’s memory. It makes me proud that the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek has assumed the important task of conserving the over 15 million photographs of the STERN archive for the future. This underlines its importance on an international level."

Frank Thomsen, STERN publisher: "The image archive of STERN is a collection full of highly diverse events of world history and has grown over half a century. It is an enormous undertaking to preserve it and make it accessible in the long term. The Bayerische Staatsbibliothek ranks among the most renowned institutions for collecting and curating cultural heritage. This means that the images are in the very best hands here. Today is therefore a day of celebration for the STERN magazine, for the photographers and for everybody interested in contemporary history."

Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek: "With the photographic archive of the STERN, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek once again positions itself as one of the world's leading heritage institutions. The successive digitization of the archive will make its visual power and immense contemporary-historical importance visible for the general public in the long term – globally on the Internet."

Press release for download
Press release  (PDF, 324 KB)  (in German)

Reproducible press images can be downloaded here:
Please take account of the respective picture credits.


Peter Schnitzlein
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Head of Press and Public Relations
Ludwigstr. 16, 80539 Munich
Phone  +49 89 28638-2429

Sabine Grüngreiff
Gruner + Jahr
Head of Brand Communication
Am Baumwall 11, 20459 Hamburg
Telefon  +49 40 3703-2468


About the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek
Founded in 1558 by Duke Albrecht V, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek is an international research library of world renown. With around 33 million media, the library forms part of the most important heritage institutions worldwide. The library’s photographic archive now comprises over 17 million images and has thus become one of the most extensive photographic archives held by any public-sector institution in the German language area. With over 2.3 million digitized works, the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek holds the largest digital data stock of all German libraries. The library offers a broad variety of services in the field of innovative digital use scenarios.

Large, topical stories, a clear stance regarding the relevant social issues and its repeatedly rewarded visuals have made the STERN unique in the German media landscape for more than 70 years. Reaching around 5.8 million readers week by week (ma 2019 Pressemedien I), the journal is the most read newsstand magazine in Germany. In addition to the digital services, the trademark STERN also includes the magazines DR. v. HIRSCHHAUSENS STERN GESUND LEBEN, CRIME, VIEW, NIDO and JWD, as well as NEON.DE.