The Centre for Contemporary History

The Centre for Contemporary History (Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung – ZZF) is an interdisciplinary research institute based in Potsdam, Germany. The Centre’s focus is contemporary German and European history. The ZZF was founded in 1992 in the wake of the German unification process and has been an institute of the Leibniz Association since 2009.

The institute’s academic research is currently organized in four departments.

Via joint appointments, the Centre maintains close ties to the University of Potsdam, the Humboldt University zu Berlin, and the Free University Berlin. The ZZF hosts two international visiting scholar programs and collaborates with numerous universities and other research institutions in Germany and abroad.

The ZZF places great value on sharing and mediating its topics and research results with an expert audience, as well as the transfer of knowledge with memorial centres and museums. With the Centre’s web portal Zeitgeschichte-online (Contemporary History online) the ZZF has become the most important provider for German-language specialist information on contemporary history on the internet: (

The ZZF publishes its research results in a diverse range of scientific publishing houses in Germany. Zeithistorische Studien (Contemporary Historical Studies) is the ZZF’s house journal which has been published by Böhlau Verlag since 1993. Documenting the scholarly labours of the institute, the journal currently numbers more than fifty-five volumes. The Centre also publishes the electronic magazine Zeithistorische Forschungen (Studies in Contemporary History). The journal is available in a free-of-charge online format and as a print edition published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Concomitant to the Centre’s inclusion in the Leibniz Association, a new series was launched entitled Geschichte der Gegenwart (History of the Present). Starting in 2010, the journal has been published by Wallstein Verlag. Another new series entitled Medien und Gesellschaftswandel im 20. Jahrhundert (Media and Social Change in the 20 th century) was launched in 2014 publishing studies in media history, while at the same time focusing on issues of contemporary social history of the 20th century. Additionally, in 2005 the spectre of publications of the ZZF was extended by an annual almanac ZeitRäume. The volumes contain lectures, essays and other pieces devoted to contemporary history which staff and guest researchers have addressed over the course of the year. The ZZF's web portal Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte  is a reference work designed for Internet use, covering key terminologies and concepts, research institutions as well as methods of contemporary research.

In a joint project with the German Federal Agency for Civic Education and Deutschlandradio, the ZZF has maintained the website Chronik der Mauer on the history of the Berlin Wall (