Since 2004, the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung has been a shareholding and funding institution. Our foundation companies are legally independent.

Until 2004, the foundation companies ZEISS and SCHOTT were a direct part of the Foundation and thus legally dependent. In the course of an extensive reform of the Foundation, the foundation companies were demerged from the Foundation in 2004 and transformed into legally independent joint-stock companies. 

At the same time, the Foundation’s statute was fundamentally modernised without changing the principles and objectives of our founder and the spirit of our Foundation.

Our foundation companies

The Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung is the sole shareholder of the two foundation companies Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG.

Carl Zeiss AG, headquartered in Oberkochen, and SCHOTT AG, headquartered in Mainz, are among the best-known technology groups in Germany today. Their products are in demand worldwide. 

Under the maxim that only those who are innovative can succeed economically, it is the vision of both companies to be at the forefront of international product development and advancement. 

Thus, they represent the true spirit of Ernst Abbe, who had introduced the principle of “unity of research and production” at Zeiss in the 19th century to use the latest knowledge from science to improve Zeiss’s microscopes.


ZEISS is a globally operating technology group in the optical and optoelectronic industry. The company has been shaping technological progress for 175 years. With its solutions, ZEISS takes the world of optics to the next level and develops market-dominating innovations in many areas for the benefit of customers and society as a whole. The broad portfolio of the ZEISS Group is divided into four future-oriented divisions: Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets. The company was founded in Jena in 1846 and is headquartered in Oberkochen. Carl Zeiss AG runs the ZEISS Group as a strategic management holding company.


SCHOTT is an international technology group that considers its core task to be the sustainable improvement of people’s living and working conditions. The company has been developing and producing special materials, components and systems for more than 125 years. The main markets are the household appliance industry, pharmaceuticals, electronics, optics and automotive. The group headquarters and main plant are located in Mainz. In addition, SCHOTT owns production sites and sales offices in more than 40 countries so it can be close to its customers.