The Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. is, as defined by its charter, a non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting arts and culture, research, educational projects, and nature conservation across Europe. It has a special interest in enabling European understanding while preserving cultural diversity.

The foundation was founded in 1931 under the name ‘Stiftung F.V.S. zu Hamburg’ by the merchant and agricultural entrepreneur Alfred C. Toepfer from Hamburg. Toepfer never clarified whether the abbreviation ‘F.V.S.’ refers to the Prussian reformer Freiherr vom Stein or to the poet and philosopher Friedrich von Schiller. After his death, his family asked for his name to be included in the name of the foundation, which today is understood not as an undifferentiated mark of respect but as an act of transparency with regard to the source of the foundation’s assets.

The nature of the foundation’s work has changed considerably in terms of objectives and character since its beginning. The foundation continues to examine its own history, as well as the biography of its founder, critically and openly. Today, the foundation has established a presence in the areas of European integration, art and culture, research, education, and nature conservation. The foundation sees itself as an independent trust with its own projects and programmes. 

The team of the foundation is located in the head office on the Georgsplatz. Information about who is responsible for which programme area can be found on the respective programme pages. The board of management is responsible for the day-to-day proceedings of the foundation. The supervisory board defines the strategic priorities in the policies of the foundation.

The Alfred Toepfer Stiftung F.V.S. is a non-profit foundation under civil law and located in Hamburg. It is subject to legal control by the Senate’s office for justice. Detailed information about the make-up and deployment of the foundation’s assets can be found under Facts and Figures.