Archiv des Liberalismus

Archive of Liberalism
The Historical Memory of the Liberals

About the Archive

Like people, organizations and political movements also need memory in order to have a basic orientation. For liberals, the archive of liberalism represents this historical memory. Its task is to preserve everything which provides information about the foundation and the development of liberalism in Germany and abroad to present and future generations. This includes, of course, files, autographs and publications, but also photos, posters, audio and film documents and, increasingly, the digital traces which liberals leave behind.

A look into the liberal memory of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

An Overview of the Archive

  • In addition to extensive file material, the Archive of Liberalism collects and indexes printed matter, photos, posters, leaflets, films and digital documents relating to organized liberalism since 1945. A few individual collections date back to the Weimar Republic and very few pieces to the 19th century.

    In total, the file collection covers about five linear kilometres. The core consists of the party and parliamentary party files of the Free Democratic Party (FDP). On top of this, the archive is responsible for the archives of the liberal apron organizations, the European Liberals, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the Central Party Archive of the Liberal Democratic Party of Germany (LDPD). Furthermore, deposits and estates document the work of liberal personalities.

    The special library attached to the archive compiles literature on the history and foundations of liberalism. The collections mainly include:

    • Publications of liberal party organizations in Germany after 1945
    • Publications by liberal parties before 1933 and by liberal organizations
    • Publications of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom at home and abroad
    • Research literature and accounts of Germany's recent history with a focus on liberalism and the bourgeoisie

    Find out more


    • Selective bibliography "Liberalism in Germany"

    • The Archive of Liberalism's collection profile

    • The Archive of Political Foundations in Germany's collection profile

    • The documentation and collection profiles of political foundation archives in Germany

  • The "Historical Liberalism Research" of the ADL represents the hinge between the working fields of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and the scientific research of liberalism, its history and its foundations. Here, relevant research results and findings of third parties are communicated for the work of the foundation in general or on special occasions. Nevertheless, they also - especially by using the holdings in the ADL – present own research results. Besides, it intends to stimulate research that could be helpful for the foundation and its work. Through events, publications and reviews on research into liberalism, the department offers a joint discussion forum for science, political education and political consulting.

    The Yearbook serves as an "interdisciplinary platform for the publication of scientific work on the theory and history of liberalism" (from the editors' foreword to Volume 1). The Yearbook has been published since 1989 by Nomos-Verlag, Baden-Baden and can be obtained either with them or through bookstores.


  • In the Yearbook of Liberalism Research, which has been published since 1989 by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom and is edited by the Archive of Liberalism, the presentation and discussion of newly published academic literature on liberalism formed an essential part from the very beginning. Since 2009, the current reviews of liberalism research have been published online biannually on the foundation's homepage. They are permanently accessible via the Archive of Liberalism as well as on the review platform

    The contact address for all those who wish to actively participate in the scientific monitoring of liberalism research through comments or review suggestions is


  • The Wolf-Erich-Kellner Memorial Foundation was established in 1965. It commemorates the liberal politician and scientist Wolf Erich Kellner, who died at an early age, and is supported by the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

    Every year, the Wolf-Erich-Kellner-Foundation awards a prize for outstanding work on the history and intellectual foundations of liberalism. The list of prize winners includes the names of notable scholars and scientists.

    The Board of Trustees of the Wolf-Erich-Kellner Memorial Foundation is composed of: Dr. Ernst Wolfgang Becker (Stuttgart), Prof. Dr. Eckart Conze (Marburg), Dr. Jürgen Frölich (Gummersbach), Prof. Dr. Alexander Gallus (Chemnitz), Prof. Dr. Dominik Geppert (Potsdam), Prof. Dr. Ewald Grothe (Gummersbach), Priv.-Doz. Dr. Jens Hacke (München), Prof. Dr. Anne Chr. Nagel (Gießen), Frank E. Portz (Walluf), Dr. Susanne Schimanski (Essen), Prof. Dr. Joachim Scholtyseck (Bonn), Prof. Dr. Elke Seefried (Aachen) und Prof. Dr. Ulrich Sieg (Marburg).

    The Chairman of the Foundation is Prof. Dr. Joachim Scholtyseck; the Deputy Chairman is Prof. Dr. Eckart Conze. The fiduciary is the director of the Archive of Liberalism Prof. Dr. Ewald Grothe.

    More information

  • The archive is open to everyone. Interested parties can contact the archive in writing, by telephone or by e-mail. The user regulations coordinate the inspection of the file and library collections. Separate user regulations apply to audiovisual collection materials.

    Opening times

    Mon-Thu: 9 am - 4 pm
    Fri: 9 am - 1 pm
    as well as by appointment.
    Registration recommended.


  • Public History

    In our "Public History" series, we provide insights into the life and work
    of liberal personalities and recall significant events in contemporary history
    on the topics of freedom and democracy.


    Liberal Documents The Archive of Liberalism's Download Offer

    ADL Download Angebote

    Archiv of Liberalism
    Theodor-Heuss-Straße 26
    51645 Gummersbach (Ortsteil Niederseßmar)