History of the HWWI

The Hamburg Institute of International Economics (Hamburgisches WeltWirtschaftsInstitut – HWWI) was founded in 2005 as the successor organization to the research department of the Hamburg Archive of International Economics (Hamburgisches Welt-Wirtschafts-Archiv – HWWA).

The HWWA had existed in Hamburg since 1908 and was the oldest economic research institute in Germany. Its initial task was to provide information on economic and social development – especially in overseas countries – for the business community, academia, the media and state administration. Over time, this task was supplemented by increasing research activities. In addition, the HWWA was active in the field of economic and political consulting. In 1970, it was renamed the “HWWA Institute for Economic Research”. The HWWA was dissolved by the Senate of the Leibniz Association in 2004, effective December 31, 2006, per the Foundation Dissolution Act.

On the initiative of the then HWWA President, Prof. Dr. Thomas Straubhaar, and with the University of Hamburg and the Chamber of Commerce as shareholders and the support of well-known Hamburg companies, the HWWI was founded in 2005 as the successor to the HWWA as a non-profit limited liability company. Since then, the HWWI has continued the research and consulting activities of the HWWA.

Since 2016, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce has been the sole shareholder of the HWWI. Since then, there has been a cooperation agreement between the Chamber of Commerce and Helmut- Schmidt-University / University of the Federal Armed Forces. This was renewed and considerably expanded in 2022 with the aim of deepening and perpetuating the cooperation.


Directors and Presidents of the HWWA and the HWWI since 1945


1945: Andreas Predöhl (May 22 – August 28, 1945), prov. Director
1945: Heinrich Waltz (1945-1946), prov. Director
1946: Paul Heile (1946-1948), prov. Director
1948: Clodwig Kapferer (1948-1964), Director
1964: Heinz-Dietrich Ortlieb (1964-1978), Director
1978: Armin Gutowski (1978-1987), President
1987: Hans-Jürgen Schmahl (1987-1989), President
1989: Erhard Kantzenbach (1989-1996), President
1996: Hans-Eckart Scharrer (1996-1999), acting President
1999: Thomas Straubhaar (1999-2006), President



2005: Thomas Straubhaar (2005-2014), Scientific Director
2014: Christian Growitsch (2014-2015), Scientific Director
2014: Henning Vöpel, (2014-2022), Scientific Director
2022: Michael Berlemann (since 2022), Scientific Director



1908: Foundation of the HWWA as “Zentralstelle des Hamburgischen Kolonialinstitutes”.
1945: Expansion of the HWWA’s own research activities
1949: Foundation of the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the HWWA
1965: HWWA moves into today’s Brahmskontor at the former Karl-Muck-Platz
1971: HWWA moves into the former Esso building at Neuer Jungfernstieg 21. The building provided space for up to 200 employees of the institute in the meantime
2006: Closure of the HWWA following a decision by the Leibniz Association
2005: The HWWI – the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (Hamburgische WeltWirtschaftsInstitut gemeinnützige GmbH) – begins operations as the successor institution to the HWWA’s research department. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and the University of Hamburg each bear 50 percent of the HWWI as shareholders
2007: The HWWI moves into its new premises in a listed villa at Heimhuder Strasse 71 in Rotherbaum
2008: The 100th anniversary of economic research in Hamburg is honored with a scientific and economic policy conference of the HWWI, a senate reception at Hamburg City Hall, and an open day at the HWW
2009: The 60th anniversary of the Society of Friends and Sponsors of the HWWI was celebrated
2010: Foundation of a HWWI branch in Bremen in cooperation with the University of Bremen
2012: Foundation of the Friends of the HWWI – Bremen Branch e.V.
2016: The University of Hamburg leaves as a shareholder. Cooperation agreement between the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Helmut-Schmidt-University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg
2017: Relocation of the HWWI to the Fruchthof at Oberhafenstraße 1
2022: Renewal and extension of the cooperation agreement between the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces