Facts and figures

The documentation and research of the foundation system is a central task of the Association of German Foundations.

Number of foundations with legal status
3 %
Increase of the number of foundations
nationwide (rounded)
New foundations
in 2020
92 %
Percentage of foundations with tax-deductible purposes
in Germany

In total, there were 23,876 foundations with legal status according to civil law in Germany. 88.6 percent of these are based in the western states. In terms of the increase in the number of foundations, Hesse is the leading federal state, recording growth of 8 percent as compared with 2019, followed by Rhineland-Palatinate with 5.9 percent and Brandenburg with 4.9 percent. The highest number of foundations – namely 4,685 – is to be found in North Rhine-Westphalia. However, Hamburg remains the federal state with the most foundations by size of population: 78 foundations for every 100,000 inhabitants. The state with the lowest density of foundations is still Brandenburg with ten foundations per 100,000 inhabitants.  

New front-runner among cities 

A glance at the top 50 cities with the most foundations reveals that Darmstadt has become Germany’s foundation capital for the first time. This major city in Hesse now heads the list with 152 foundations for every 100,000 inhabitants. Würzburg – which led the field last year – is now in second place (101 foundations/100,000 inhabitants). Oldenburg is once again in third place behind Würzburg (85 foundations/100,000 inhabitants). The top 50 also includes large cities in East Germany, such as Potsdam, Jena and Dresden.

Foundations worldwide

Networks, umbrella initiatives and foundation associations and institutions: Find out more about foundations in Europa and worldwide.

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