The Alfred Toepfer Trust F.V.S. is, as defined by its charter, a non-profit trust dedicated to supporting culture, research, educational projects, and nature conservation across Europe. It has a special interest in enabling pan-European understanding while preserving cultural diversity.
The Trust was founded in 1931 under the name ‘F.V.S. Trust of 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 Trust, which today is understood not as an undifferentiated mark of respect but as an act of transparency with regard to the source of the Trust’s assets.
The nature of the Alfred Toepfer Trust F.V.S.’s work has changed considerably in terms of objectives and character since its foundation. The Trust continues to examine its own history, as well as the biography of its founder, critically and openly. Today, the Trust has established a presence in the areas of European integration, art and culture, research, education, and nature conservation. The Alfred Toepfer Trust F.V.S. sees itself as an independent trust with its own projects and programmes. Only in exceptional cases is funding awarded in response to external applications (see conditions of funding).
The team of the Alfred Toepfer Trust F.V.S., located in the head office on the Georgsplatz, consists of twelve colleagues, including the full-time appointed members of the board of management. 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 Trust. The board of trustees, as supervising committee, defines the strategic priorities in the policies of the Trust.
The Alfred Toepfer Trust F.V.S. is a non-profit trust 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 Trust’s assets can be found under Facts and Figures.