VDE certification mark on blue background

History in 130 years – 130 years of pioneering innovation and technological progress

VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies

VDE’s history of origins is as impressive as the triumph of modern technologies. Who were the initiators of the VDE in 1893? How did a group of engineers evolve into this unique worldwide network of experts? Discover milestones on the way to the engineering base Germany...




VDE founded 130 years ago


100 years VDE mark

Anniversary 50 years German Electrotechnical Commission in DIN and VDE (DKE).


125th anniversary of VDE

The first VDE Tec Summit takes place in Berlin.

VDE receives the German Brand Award.


VDE intoduces its new corporate design and its commitment for the future: VDE – for a worthwhile future


VDE and DKE organize the 80th General Meeting of the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) in Frankfurt.

The VDE / BMBF (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research) student initiative INVENT a CHIP celebrates its 15th anniversary at the VDE Congress in Mannheim, Germany


95th anniversary of the VDE mark.


VDE is organizing the World Smart Grid Forum 2013 together with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) in Berlin.


The VDE Institute celebrates the opening of its VDE-Testlab Battery and Environment with a ceremony and an industry event on safety in the field of e-mobility.


90th anniversary of the VDE mark.


World Congress 2009 on Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering


The VDE/BMBF student initiative INVENT a CHIP reaches a new record with 1,500 participants.

VDE and BMBF organize the 2nd Microsystems Technology Congress in Dresden with Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Education and Research.


VDE organizes the IEC World Congress in Berlin with Michael Glos, Federal Minister of Economics.

EU Commissioner Günter Verheugen opens the VDE Innovations for Europe congress in Aachen.


Anniversary 50 years of the Informationstechnische Gesellschaft im VDE (ITG) in the Paulskirche in Frankfurt.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder opens the VDE Congress 2004 - Innovations for People.


New VDE statutes, which include a new regional structure and the formation of the association's top management consisting of the Presidium and the Executive Board, come into force.

VDE Global Services GmbH founded.


VDE and German Society for Biomedical Engineering (DGBMT) merge. The DGBMT becomes a new professional society within the VDE.

New name for DKE - DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies of DIN and VDE.

VDE Capital Representative Office opened in Berlin.


Change of name of VDE according to delegates' resolution - VDE Association for Electrical, Electronic and Information Technologies


25th anniversary of the DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies.

Merger of GME (VDE/VDI Society for Microelectronics) and GMF (VDI/VDE Society for Micro and Precision Engineering) to form the VDE/VDI Society for Microelectronics, Micro and Precision Engineering (GMM).


100th anniversary of the first VDE regulation “VDE 0100”.

75th anniversary of the VDE Testing and Certification Institute.


100 years after its founding, VDE has now 34 regional associations. VDE also has 36,000 members – including engineers, technicians and scientists as well as some 1,000 companies, research institutes and public authorities.

The association celebrates its 100th anniversary with the congress "Energy – Information – Innovation: Technologies for Society and the Environment” in Berlin.


Foundation of the umbrella association for medical technology DVMT. The VDE is a founding member.

Introduction of a digital mobile communications network that can be expanded throughout Europe (D network).


The name of the VDE test center is changed to "VDE Testing and Certification Institute", as the subject of certification has become an additional field of work. The "VDE Institute", as it is called for short, now employs 400 people who carry out more than 16.000 tests per year.


In order to do justice to the growing importance of the work of female electrical engineers, the Working Group of Female Electrical Engineers is transformed into a permanent VDE committee.


After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the VDE is now also open to electrical engineers in the former GDR. By 1992, the association had founded seven district associations in the new federal states and was able to admit over 4.000 new members.


The VDE/VDI Society for Microelectronics (GME) begins its work.


As equal partners, VDI and VDE now jointly run the "VDI/VDE-Technologiezentrum Informationstechnik GmbH" in Berlin. Equipped with funds from the Federal Ministry of Research and Technology, the center has been supporting small and medium-sized enterprises in the implementation of new technological developments since 1978.

At the VDE Delegates Assembly, the VDE Young Members Committee is established, which has its roots in the central Young Members Assembly that first met in 1980. The main task of the standing committee is to support the young member activities of the district associations and to ensure cooperation with the corresponding committees of the VDE.


The Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Blitzschutz und Blitzableiterbau e.V. joins the VDE. Its activities are continued in the newly formed VDE Committee for Lightning Protection and Research (ABB of the VDE). The committee is supported by a promotion circle, which individuals, companies, organizations and authorities interested in promoting lightning protection can join as members.


Inauguration of the VDE House at Stresemannallee 15 in Frankfurt.


Foundation of the VDE History of Electrical Engineering Committee, which is concerned not only with the reappraisal of the history of technology, but also with the interactions between technological development and society.


The VDI/VDE Gesellschaft Mikro- und Feinwerktechnik (GMF) starts its work (old name VDI/VDE-Gesellschaft Feinwerktechnik (FWT).


For the first time, the study "Electrical Engineers in the Federal Republic of Germany" is published, which was compiled by the committees for professional issues and engineer training. The study, which provides information on the demand situation and career opportunities for young engineers, will be published every 5 years from now on.
The Ministry of Economics notifies the DKE as the body responsible for the practical implementation of the EC Low Voltage Directive of the ETG.


Foundation of the Energietechnische Gesellschaft im VDE (ETG).


CENELEC is founded in Brussels as the successor organization to CENELCOM (for the EC countries) and CENEL (for the EC and EFTA countries). The primary task of this European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization is to promote the harmonization of national standards.

The VDI/VDE Society for Measurement and Control Technology (GMR), now known as Measurement and Automation Technology (GMA), is formed from the merger of the renowned VDI/VDE specialist groups for measurement technology and control technology.

Formation of the VDE Accident Research Committee, whose aim is to monitor all accident research activities in electrical engineering, provide impetus for research and disseminate the knowledge gained.


With the establishment of the business unit "Science, Education and Career", the VDE Committee for Engineering Education is founded. It deals with all matters of engineering education at universities and universities of applied sciences, including all questions of young engineers.

EUREL is founded to support the exchange of experience and joint action between electrical engineers and natural scientists. The Federation of National Electrotechnical Associations of Western Europe brings together 17 organizations from 14 European countries.


In order to combine electrotechnical standardization work, DIN and VDE establish the "German Electrotechnical Commission in DIN and VDE". This means that there is now only one body for electrotechnical standardization in the Federal Republic of Germany, the DKE, which is legally supported by the VDE and also represents German interests in the international standards organizations for electrical engineering.


In the year of its 75th anniversary, the association has 25.538 members. The VDE test center, until then housed in Stresemannallee, moves to a new building in Offenbach's Merianstrasse.


Foundation of the VDE Committee on Professional Issues, which deals with the topic "Engineer in profession and society" in the broadest sense. Questions of engineering ethics and acceptance of technology have recently become increasingly important.


Creation of the VDE radio protection mark.


The first of the VDE professional societies to be founded is the Nachrichtentechnische Gesellschaft (NTG), now known as the Informationstechnische Gesellschaft (ITG).


VDE is again fully involved in international organizations such as: I.E.C (International Electrotechnical Commission), CIGRE (International Conference on Large High-Voltage Electric System).


After the regional organizations had been formed again since 1946, the association was re-established on March 23. Its headquarters are now in Frankfurt a. M. at Osthafenplatz, where the testing center is also relocated.


Start of the reconstruction of the General Secretariat and the test center in Wuppertal as well as the regulatory office in Mannheim.


Like all associations affiliated with the NSBDT, the VDE is banned after the end of the war. A trustee is appointed by the British occupying power in Berlin. With the exception of lecturing, work can gradually be resumed at the VDE headquarters. This includes, above all, the supervision of standards, the activities of the test center, the utilization of the ETZ archive and the standardization work.


Konrad Zuse develops the first program-controlled computer.


First nuclear fission by Otto Hahn and Fritz Straßmann at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin.


In the course of the National Socialist Gleichschaltung, the VDE is incorporated into the NS-Bund Deutscher Technik (NS BDT). Until 1945, it is thus affiliated with the NSDAP's Main Office for Technology.


The Energy Industry Act is promulgated. This is of particular importance for the VDE because the VDE regulations are given the status of "recognized rules of technology" in the implementing ordinance for this law.


As a result of the global economic crisis and the associated mass unemployment, the number of VDE members drops from 10,582 to 8,157 - by more than 20 percent.


Due to the constantly expanding tasks, the rooms in Potsdamer Straße are no longer sufficient. The association therefore moves to the newly built VDE Haus in Berlin-Charlottenburg at Bismarckstraße 33, where the test center and the newly founded ETZ Verlag are also housed.


Foundation of ETZ Verlag (since 1947 VDE VERLAG GMBH)


Due to its good experience with assembly line production in a meter factory, AEG also uses the production process coming from the USA in the manufacture of small motors, installation materials, switching and measuring apparatus. A prerequisite for the introduction of assembly line production is the standardization and typification of electrotechnical products, which VDE, ZVDEI and the "Standards Committee of German Industry", in existence since 1917, have accomplished.


The federation now has 32 electrotechnical clubs and societies. However, the number of its personal members has been declining sharply in these years. The reason for this is the bankruptcies of many small businesses, which have also caused numerous electrical engineers to lose their positions and thus be forced to cancel their membership.


A central VDE test center is set up in Potsdamer Strasse in Berlin, where the association now has its headquarters. Its task: to check electrical engineering products for compliance with existing VDE regulations. This is followed by the first legally protected registration of the "VDE mark". Initially, only a few manufacturers take advantage of this offer. It is only with the stabilization of the currency - from 1924 - that the number of applications for testing increases. And 10 years later, there are already 3904 products bearing the VDE mark.


With the beginning of the war, a rebalancing of the VDE's work takes place. Work soon begins on saving raw materials and using substitute materials. As a result of the shortage of rubber and copper, the most important materials for electrotechnical products, many products can no longer be manufactured in accordance with the association's regulations, so that a large number of exemption regulations now have to be drawn up.


At the 19th Annual General Meeting of the VDE, the decision is made on the future power system for mainline railroads in Germany: 15 kV, 16 2/3 Hz.


With the participation of the VDE, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is founded in London and joined by 24 countries.


The VDE now has 16 electrotechnical associations as members. Its membership has risen to over 3,600.

In addition to its scientific and technical work and standardization, the association is heavily involved in economic issues affecting electrical engineering, including trade agreements, export matters and production statistics for the electrical engineering industry.

Albert Einstein formulates the mass-energy relationship E=mc2 within the framework of the special theory of relativity.


VDE’s first "book for standards" is published. It contains 183 pages and 17 provisions.


Three-phase and alternating current motors are increasingly being used. For the first time in Germany, an electric motor is used to drive a rolling mill. Voltages of up to 50,000 volts make it possible to transmit and distribute electrical energy over greater distances. Municipal power supply is generally introduced, and the first interurban power plants are built.

Ferdinand Braun develops a cathode ray tube in Strasbourg as a measuring device for rapidly changing electrical processes (Braun tube).


Conrad Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-rays in Würzburg, which are later named after him.

The first "VDE regulation" VDE 0100 for the safe construction of electrotechnical systems is adopted.


In the middle of the year, the VDE establishes its own office in Berlin, at Montbijouplatz 3.

VDE commissions for installation and operating regulations and for copper standards begin their work. They are followed in the next few years by other commissions, including those for the development of standards for incandescent lamps, sheet iron, wires and cables, installation material, ground current, light measurement and meters.


The foundation conference of the VDE takes place in Berlin from January 21 to 22. 37 delegates of the German electrotechnical associations, the first of which was founded in 1879, adopt the founding protocol and elect the first management board.

The newly founded association holds its first annual meeting from September 28 to 30 in Cologne. Also, the first technical commission of the VDE is established at this meeting. Its task is to develop regulations on electrical systems.