15 million images for eternity. The STERN gives its photographic archive to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek as a present

The publishing house Gruner + Jahr commits the analogue photographic archive of the journal STERN to the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB) in Munich, in order to secure the long-term existence of the archive and to make it accessible to the public and to research. The donation comprises over 15 million photographs from the years 1948 to 1997 in the form of prints, negatives and slides. The archive constitutes one of the largest collections of photographs 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.

Stern, logo

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 BSB 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.

Frank Thomsen, STERN publisher and speaker of the company Gruner + Jahr: "With the BSB as our partner, we know that our photographic archive is in the best hands in order to preserve this enormous collection and make it usable in the long term. We are pleased that it has now found a new home in an institution that has stood for the collection and curation of our cultural heritage for over 450 years."

"For a universal library such as the BSB", said Klaus Ceynowa, Director General of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, "collecting and preserving materials over very extended periods of time – ultimately for eternity – forms part of the core business of our cultural remit. We are proud to preserve this fascinating treasure of imagery for future generations and to make it accessible to the public step by step, particularly in digital form."

Bernd Sibler, Bavarian State Minister of Science and the Arts: "I wish to thank the publishing house Gruner + Jahr expressly for taking the decision to place the STERN's image archive, one of the most important and extensive photojournalistic collections, in the hands of the BSB. This decision again confirms the standing and the renown of our library. I am very pleased that we can make these impressive contemporary historical documents accessible in Bavaria in the future!"

The STERN photographic archive will be transferred officially to the BSB by Gruner + Jahr at a press conference in Munich in the early summer.

Press release for download  (PDF, 327 KB)


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

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