David Hansemann House

The house and its namesake

With the acquisition of the David Hansemann House in the mid-1990s, the Droege Group moved its headquarters to Poststrasse, in the heart of Düsseldorf's Carlstadt district. The building was originally built in 1953 for the Deutsche Bank AG, or rather, the Rheinisch-Westfälische Bank AG, one of the three successor institutions to Deutsche Bank, which was initially broken up after the war. From then on, it was used by the bank as an education and training center hosting national and international guests, and served as a meeting place, promoting exchanges between countries and cultures.

David Hansemann - businessman, banker and politician

The eponym points to the special meaning of the building: David Hansemann (1790-1864). The businessman, banker and politician was born in Finkenwerder near Hamburg and trained as merchant in Rheda (1804-09). Conditioned by his work in the commission business for wool, he built up a fortune, which allowed him to dedicate his work and life in economic independence not only to his personal business, but to the public interest as well. That represented the liberal core values in the 19th century, which Hansemann supported. 

Due to his travel years in the commission business for wool, Aachen became the center of his political and economical contributions. In 1824 he founded the “Aachener-Feuer-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft”, an insurance company, contemporary known as “Aachen-Münchener”. Since 1828 he was a member of the municipal council in Aachen, since 1832 of the provincial Rhineland parliament (Rheinischer Provinziallandtag). In 1848, he transferred his actions to Berlin where he was appointed Prussian Minister of Finance. In 1849 he founded the Berlin-based “Direction der Disconto Gesellschaft” – Germany’s leading business bank for many years – which merged with the Deutsche Bank in 1929, becoming the “Deutsche Bank and Disconto-Gesellschaft”. In 1937 the company’s name was simplified into “Deutsche Bank”. Next to his work as a businessman and a politician, Hansemann made himself a name in the railway industry which he supported through his political activity and the founding of the “Rhenisch Railway Company”. 

The Deutsche Bank in the post-war period

The choice of the name David Hansemann, which was first installed as a murual relief within the reception area, now at the front of the building, emphasizes the understanding of the house and its people to represent the values of the “honorable merchant” and the pursuit of prosperity and improvement for society. In the tradition of its eponym, a historical post-war event concerning the German economic reconstruction took place at the David Hansemann House: the unification in the huge boardroom of the 3 temporarily established successor-institutes Rheinisch-Westfälische Bank AG, Norddeutsche Bank AG and Süddeutsche Bank AG to – once again – Deutsche Bank AG on April 29 in 1957. 

The house remained its position as a center for education and encounter up until the 1970s before other houses where established throughout West Germany. In the mid-1990s the house was sold and became the Droege Group headquarter. 

Picture Credits: Historical Interior and Exterior Views of David Hansemann House, approx. 1960.

©Deutsche Bank AG, Historisches Institut

[Translate to Englisch:] Künstelerteller Tim Eitel 2014
ARTIST 2014
Tim Eitel

WHAT are we looking at when we observe the object? At first glance, it is a sea dweller who seems familiar to us from stories – from the Odyssey to the works of Jules Verne. At second glance, the piece invites thought. It can tell us something about the quality of our work: because it is not the "WHAT" but rather the "HOW" that is central to the artist’s work. Seeing more than is apparent at first glance is also key to our work. Every day we face the challenge of finding solutions to complex situations.

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