1838 - 1900


The bookseller George Westermann (1810-1879), from Leipzig, establishes the publishing house in his name in Braunschweig on 21st May 1838.


The first texts published by Westermann are the works of Charles Dickens. The first Westermann ranges include renowned historical publications, foreign-language dictionaries and travel literature. School maps, journals and fiction are soon to follow.


Foundation of the Westermann printing house.


The planning for the first Westermann school atlas has begun.


Westermann Druck (the printing house) completes its first external commission. The bookseller Ferdinand Schöningh (1815-1883) starts his own book and art dealing business in Paderborn, which bears witness to a strong Catholic influence. Since 2002 the textbook division of the business belongs to the Westermann Gruppe.


The first Schöningh publishing division: a newspapers and periodicals publisher. In 1848 the first issue of the “Westfälischen Kirchenblattes für Katholiken” (Westphalian Church News for Catholics) is produced. The publishing division subsequently becomes known for its theological, scientific, pedagogical and fictional publications.


Westermann begins to concern itself with modern languages, which are slowly gaining ground in schools.


Westermann’s first specialist periodical is published: “Archiv für das Studium der neueren Sprachen und Literaturen” (Archive for the Study of Modern Languages and Literature) focusses on modern language teaching and still exists today.


Schöningh expands its textbook range, predominantly for Gymnasien. Key subject areas include: Classical Languages, History, Geography and German. Louis Schroedel (1823-1884) becomes a partner in the Kümmelschen publishing house and retail bookshop in Halle / Saale (est. 1792) and by 1863 he is the sole owner. In 2002 the publishing house becomes part of the Westermann Gruppe.


Schöningh’s “Kleine lateinische Sprachlehre” (Short Latin Grammar) by Ferdinand Schultz lays the foundations of a Latin textbook still well-known today, “Ars Latina”.


1850er/1860er Included in the early Schroedel range are primers and reading books for primary and infant education.


The first Westermann school atlas is produced; it is intended for more advanced schools. From now until 1890, more than 900,000 copies are printed. From 1862 onwards Westermann produces separate atlases for primary schools.


George Westermann is one of the first cartographic publishers to adopt colour printing for the production of maps instead of colouring them by hand. This became a field of innovation for the printing house.


“Westermann’s Illustrierte Deutsche Monatshefte” (Westermann’s Illustrated German Monthly Periodicals) are produced. They are part of the most significant cultural periodicals in Germany. The production ceases in 1987.


The bookseller Carl Theodor Moritz Diesterweg (1834-1906), from Berlin, purchases the Jo. Chr. Hermannsche booksellers in Frankfurt and from 1873 onwards concentrates entirely on book publishing. The publishing house later takes his name. In 2002, the firm joins the Westermann Gruppe.


Moritz Diesterweg establishes the foundations of his pedagogical and educational publishing house by publishing the works of his famous father, Friedrich Adolph Wilhelm Diesterweg.


The Westermann printing house makes the transition from manual to steam-powered labour.


1869/70 Alongside the lithographer and cartographer Eduard Gaebler, from Leipzig, Westermann develops a method for the cost-effective and large-scale production of maps with use of the high-speed printing press.


A primary school atlas, developed and printed by Westermann, appears on the market and more than 700 editions are printed in the years up to 1941. By 1914 more than five million copies have been printed.


The first Diercke Weltatlas (Diercke World Atlas). It is a milestone in German school cartography and becomes a standard work.


Hermann Ludwig Schroedel (1864-1943) assumes control of the publishing division of his father’s company. Under his name, the company grows to reach beyond Saxony. It produces learning materials for the primary and intermediate school years, as well as specialist journals and youth literature.


Schroedel achieves long-term success with August Braun’s und Heinrich Hanft’s arithmetical works for primary and secondary schools. After some revision, the brand name “Welt der Zahl” will follow.


Under the name Wilhelm Schweizer, a factory producing paper, cardboard packaging and filing equipment for schools is founded in Winterthur, Switzerland; this will later become SCHUBI Lernmedien GmbH. By 1900 the company can offer its own published range, which includes learning materials for schools. In 2002 the company joins the Westermann Gruppe.

1901 - 1950


Westermann develops new regional editions of atlases for the primary and intermediate school years, each adapted to meet local educational requirements.


The “Atlas für Berliner Schulen” (Atlas for Berlin Schools) is the first of the new series of regional Westermann atlases, which over the course of time will encompass 70 editions.


The government clerk and shorthand teacher, Michael Winkler (1878-1965), from Hessen, establishes his “Stenografisches Institut” (Shorthand Institute) – later Winklers Verlag – in Darmstadt. The company is sold to the Westermann Gruppe in 1998.


The first Winklers range consisted of the founder’s own textbooks about Gabelsberger’s shorthand system. They form the basis of an entire shorthand publishing division.


Westermann Druck establishes a lithography department.


Westermann moves into the newly-built publishing house on the edge of Braunschweig—today number 66 on the Georg-Westermann-Allee. At the Westermann printing house, offset printing begins with an offset printing press produced by the Frakenthal engineering factory (Format 75x100 cm). The first foray into mechanical typesetting is achieved with a double magazine linotype made by the firm Mergenthaler.


Westermann begins to expand its range for primary schools.


The award-winning Hansa primer by Otto Zimmerman is published by Westermann. With its new child-centred approach, it reshapes the north German literacy landscape.


After the purchase of the Alfred Janssen publishing house in Hamburg, Westermann revises its range. It gains a new and modern divisional structure.


Westermann places significant emphasis on reformist pedagogical literature, non-fiction and fiction.


The Jugend & Volk publishing house (based in Vienna) is founded as a result of a joint initiative between the city’s council and the Gerlach and Wiedlich publishing houses in order to implement the period’s great school reforms. Alongside this, a range of youth literature and art books is established. Since 2012 the company belongs to the Westermann Gruppe.


Heinrich and August Grimm assume control of Michael Winkler’s firm. It is now called Winklers Verlag, Gebrüder Grimm (Winklers Publishing House, Brothers Grimm).


“The New Guide”, an innovative English textbook by Duve/Bonin/Kreter from Diesterweg. Marie Duves’ methods will greatly influence early modern language teaching; the textbook will be present in schools in the form of various revised editions until the 1980s.


Winklers now also offers books on typewriting and produces shorthand journals.


The house magazine, “Winklers Flügelstift”, followed by “Winklers Illustrierte” in 1931, today concerned with, among other things, Microsoft Office applications, office technology and telecommunications.


With the purchase of the Otto Salle publishing house, Berlin, Diesterweg adds a maths and science element to its profile.


Westermann produces general and street maps, car atlases and city maps. Part of the Flemming range, the BZ-Autokarten (car maps), are updated and further developed.


Westermann takes over the significant cartographical publishers, Carl Flemming & Wiscott, based in Glogau, and strengthens its position in the non-educational maps market.


Westermann, Schroedel and Diesterweg continue to participate in the educational publishing market, despite it being increasingly limited, until the end of the war by producing textbooks approved by the National Socialist regime.


Schroedel becomes a part-owner of the Ferdinand Hirt Verlag, based in Breslau and Leipzig, at that time probably the biggest publisher in the educational sector.


1937/38 The enduringly popular works “Buchführung leicht gemacht” (Accounting made easy) by Arens/Straube und “Betriebswirtschaftslehre“ (Business Economics) by Kruse /Heuns. Today there are 130 editions of “Buchführung leicht gemacht” and 200 of “Betriebswirtschaftslehre”.


The Winklers range is expanded to include standard commercial subjects like business economics, bookkeeping and secretarial studies.


As a result of a takeover by Franz Schubiger there is now the SCHUBI Lernmedien AG. Its learning materials are well-established in Swiss schools. The firm has had international contacts since the 1920s.


After the National Socialist regime takes control of newspapers, confiscates assets, enacts various bans and pulps books, Schöningh is forced to cease production. The last textbook to be approved is produced in 1934.


Schöningh is one of the first publishing houses to be licensed by the allied military forces. The scholarly and educational publishing house concentrates on its recovery. Its Catholic connection is set aside.


By the end of 1945, 133 publications and textbooks from Schöningh have already been approved.


After the Westermann publishing house is granted a license, there are no more impediments to its plans to develop a broad educational range. The company turns its attention to new periodicals, an expanded range of school subjects and vocational training. First of all, the British zone of occupation will be supplied with school books.


1947/48 Westermann issues the first new textbooks and maps to the market and is licensed to produce journals, such as the “Geographische Rundschau” (the Geographical Review).


The recovery of Diesterweg in Frankfurt begins. By 1950 the range consists of 44 school textbooks. After the seizure of the publishing house in Halle and the flight of the owners, Schroedel is re-established in Wolfenbüttel; operations will take place in Hanover after 1949.


George Popp (1928-2004) founds the Arena Verlag in Würzburg, a publishing house for children’s and youth literature. This is sold to Westermann in 1979.


The arithmetical publication, “Welt der Zahl”, with its numerous regional editions, forms the basis for Schroedel’s return.

1951 - 2000


As a result of its own products and its cooperation with other renowned publishing houses, Schroedel becomes a provider of educational materials for all mainstream German schools and subjects.


Geography textbook produced under the Schroedel Brand, “Seydlitz” (with Ferdinand Hirt) 1951 A long-term success for Schroedel: “Elemente der Mathematik” (with Schöningh).


Another long-term success for Schroedel: Dorn/Bader “Physik”


Arena offers the first paperback range for children and teenagers in the Federal Republic of Germany.


Outstanding Arena paperbacks from the very beginning: this one wins the Children’s Book Prize in Holland and makes the German shortlist of best youth literature.


In the Westermann printing house, electronic machines revolutionize the reproduction of images, until now achieved by photomechanical processes. Result: the process becomes 15 times faster.


1960er Diesterweg achieves lasting success, particularly in the subjects History, German as a foreign language, Religious Education, Music, Chemistry and Modern Languages, and it establishes itself in primary and specialist Schools.


Diesterweg’s first comprehensive catalogue for primary Schools.


1964/65 Classic examples of modern didactic theory for the subjects German and History feature in Schöningh’s expanded textbook range for secondary schools.


Tenbrock’s “Zeiten und Menschen” (Times and People) – a brand name still associated with Schöningh today.


around 1966 The success of Westermann’s textbooks and learning materials mean it can finally be regarded as one of the dominant firms in the sector, even without taking its map-related products into account. The publishing of fictional literature stops.


since 1966 Millions of copies sold: “Die Reise in die Vergangenheit” (The Journey into the Past) by Ebeling/Birkenfeld is produced by Westermann for the first time in 1957.


Westermann takes over an educational booksellers founded by Heinz Vogel (1919-1980) in 1951 in Wilhelmshaven—since 1988 the Westermann Lernspielverlag.


The internationally-renowned LÜK-Lernspiel is introduced at the Didacta trade fair.


Winklers offers one of the first basic works for Data Processing, which was a new subject back then. Due to the strong differentiation within vocational job profiles and the new training professions, the range has expanded far beyond the core commercial subjects.


Winklers introduces a pioneering textbook for vocational Information Technology courses, then still relatively novel.


The Spectra Lehrmittel-Verlag is founded by Franz-Josef Kuhn. In 1990 the Logo-Lernspiel-Verlag is also established, with special focus on primary and infant education and learning support. Both join Schroedel in 1998, then Westermann in 2002.


Foundation of the Georg Westermann Verlagsgesellschaft GmbH in Vienna – today called Westermann Wien.


1977/78 The Westermann printing house concentrates on offset printing and considerably expands its printing capacity. The new production hall gains its first four-colour roll offset printing machine.


1978/79 The vocational training area of Westermann is characterized by a concentration on the technical fields. The first new information books and workbooks for the fields "Electro" and "Metal" appear.


Westermann buys the Arena publishing house.


Arena becomes a pioneer by publishing the first beginners’ reading books with a multi-step structural concept.


Westermann‘s internal delivery service is expanded to offer services to the free market. It is named the VSB-Verlagsservice Braunschweig (now: Westermann Logistik). Schroedel becomes part of the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group.


One of Diesterweg’s brand names is devoted to the development of innovative works for primary education.


The Diesterweg Bausteine series: the beginning of a new successful textbook concept.


1983/84 Creation of the first Westermann software department.


The first Westermann learning programmes, at that time for the “home computer” Commodore C64.


The Westermann firms are incorporated into the Medien-Union, Ludwigshafen.


The most beautiful books in the Federal Republic of Germany—the typesetting, aesthetics and binding are all exemplary: the Gruppe’s publications are also consistently awarded prizes. In 1986 two Schroedel titles are awarded prizes, as are two others from Westermann and Diesterweg respectively.


Arena takes over the children’s and youth literature department of the Zurich –based Benziger publishing house.


Foundation of the E. Dorner publishing house in Vienna. In 1995 the company joins the Georg von Holtzbrinck group and Schroedel; since 2002 belongs to Westermann. Since 2003 E. Dorner is responsible for the Westermann Wien range and manages the publishing house Jugend & Volk since 2012. Today these publishing houses are named Westermann Dorner and Westermann Jugend & Volk.


With the privatization of the Chemnitz regional newspaper, “Freie Presse” (The Free Press), the Druckerei Grafische Werke Zwickau, a printing house, enters the Westermann Gruppe. Since 1994 it is called Westermann Druck Zwickau.


Westermann begins to work on computerized cartography.


The educational division of the J.B. Metzler publishing house is integrated into the Schroedel range, as is the educational division of the Paul List publishing house. Westermann becomes active in Central Europe and is party to cooperative projects and investments in the educational sector, predominantly in Poland and Hungary. Dinasztia GmbH has been part of the Westermann Gruppe since 2002; it was founded in 1996 in Budapest.


The sucessful Metzler-Schroedel title, “Linder Biologie”, first published in 1948, is a part of the brand portfolio. Today it exists in 23 different editions and countless regional versions.


Diesterweg now belongs to the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group. Schöningh expands it range for the primary education sector.


Schöningh begins its primary school programme with “Xa-Lando”.


Winklers publishing house is sold to the Westermann Gruppe. Westermann Druck in Braunschweig acquires a computer-to-plate exposure system and is expanded to become a fully-integrated, comprehensive service provider.


Diesterweg broadens its English range with a new generation of textbooks for all school types.


“Schroedel aktuell” constitutes the first current affairs service for the classroom in Germany.

2001 - today


SCHUBI joins the Holtzbrinck group; one year later it joins Westermann.


Westermann takes over the educational division of Schöningh. The Holtzbrink group network of educational book and media publishers moves to Westermann. In 2004, part of the network forms the Bildungshaus Schulbuchverlage Westermann Schroedel Diesterweg Schöningh Winklers GmbH, based in Braunschweig. ADVESCO Learning Systems, based in Schaffhausen, now belongs to the Westermann Gruppe. The company, founded in 1990 by the executives of SCHUBI, develops electronic learning media, in particular for the vocational and professional training sector.


Digital teaching materials to accompany almost every textbook are gradually developed.


The pva, Druck und Medien-Dienstleistungen GmbH in Landau joins the Westermann Gruppe; it was founded in 1898 as an internal printing house of a southwestern German publishing firm.


The range of pedagogical journals grows from its original seven as more are added or new ones are conceptualized. Today there are 19 Westermann periodicals.


Westermann Druck, Braunschweig, enters the digital printing market.


For every map in the Diercke Weltatlas (Diercke World Atlas) there are supplementary materials online, including those for the first time in 3D.


Foundation of the “Akademie Frühe Bildung” (Academy of Early Education) by the educational book and game publishers in the Gruppe. It meets the educational needs of the nursery, pre-school and primary school sector.


The first apps produced by the Gruppe are available for download. There are glossaries for film vocabulary and film technology, produced by Schöningh, as well as glossaries for Linder “Biologie” by Schroedel.


The Gruppe’s range of apposite primary education materials matches the growing activity in this area.


2012/13 The Bildungsverlag Eins, Cologne, formed as the result of a merger of seven publishers in 2001, also joins the Gruppe. From 2014 onwards the vocational side of the Gruppe’s business is concentrated in Cologne. The publishing house has been called Westermann Berufsbildung since 2023.


The first LÜK apps are developed in line with the learn-practise-check system.


2013/14 Digital versions of textbooks are available.


The first tablet maths app capable of replacing the graphic calculator emerges in the form of GTR easy under the brand name Schroedel.


The German publishing companies of early learning material in the Westermann group are merging. Westermann Lernspielverlag, LOGO Lern-Spiel-Verlag, Spectra Lehrmittel-Verlag and Schubi Lernmedien-Verlag will now operate from Braunschweig under the name of Westermann Lernspielverlage. From 2018 they operate under the name Georg Westermann Verlag. Since 2022 the publishing house is called Westermann Lernwelten GmbH. The Westermann Gruppe acquires Audio Media Verlag, a Munich-based firm specialising in audio books for all ages. The company, founded in 2004, retains its headquarters in Munich. In 2019, the company closes the Audio Media publishing house and sells the assets to the Danish publisher Saga.


After the revision of the Diercke Weltatlas (Diercke World Atlas), Diercke digital now exists alongside the print edition and online supplementary materials. All maps can now be selected according to (among other options) their theme and level of differentiation. The level of detail is also adjustable.


On 1st June, the Westermann Gruppe established the Westermann Schulverlag Schweiz AG. The new publishing company is based in Schaffhausen. Its objective is to further extend the area of textbook publishing in Switzerland.


On February, Westermann Gruppe takes over the London-based educational software developer Blue Duck Education, a company specialized in digital game-based learning in mathematics. Blue Duck Education has developed the maths learning system, which is marketed to primary and secondary schools the world over. With this purchase, the Westermann Gruppe advances their plan for internationalisation a step further.


The Westermann Gruppe acquires KLV Verlag AG of St. Gallen. The company is thus further expanding its involvement in the Swiss education market. The KLV publishing house specializes in teaching materials, workbooks and other books for vocational education. The state of Lower Saxony awards the Westermann Gruppe the "Digitaler Ort Niedersachsen" prize for its commitment to the development and promotion of digital education.


Westermann offers online portals for all types of schools. These include the renowned reading promotion portal Antolin, the primary school learning portal Alfons, the BiBox teaching system and the GEORG training portal for vocational education.


The Production of pva in Landau is relocated to Braunschweig and taken over by Westermann Druck. Sales and distribution and all customer service and order management for web offset business remain under the remit of pva. Westermann Druck Zwickau manages orders for offset book printing. Westermann Druck, Westermann Druck Zwickau and pva operate under the new joint brand Westermann Druck | pva:


The Westermann Gruppe takes over 100 percent of the shares in GIDA Gesellschaft für Information und Darstellung mbH based in Odenthal near Cologne. GIDA produces didactic audiovisual media (films and software) for use in schools.


Westermann is the first educational media publisher in Germany to launch interactive exercises based on artificial intelligence. It is based on the SmartResponse language processing system, which was developed together with the Berlin-based tech service provider Retresco.


The Westermann Gruppe acquires 100 per cent of the shares in Hölzel Verlag GmbH in Vienna. The traditional publishing house develops educational media for general and vocational schools, specialising in atlases and accounting textbooks.


Westermann strengthens its training programme for teachers with the training provider becomes part of the Westermann Gruppe.