Screenshot 2020 12 22 ORIENT ONLINE German Journal for Politics Economics and Culture of the Middle East

The German Near and Middle East Association (Nah- und Mittelost-Verein e.V., NUMOV) is Ger­many's oldest and largest  professional organization for the region of the Near and Middle East.

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Foundation of the German Orient-Foundation


The foundation of the ‘German Orient-Foundation‘ in 1960, under which the ‘German Orient-Institute‘ emerged, signified a crucial expansion and distribution of NUMOV’s activities, immediately developing into a leading institution for questions of the modern Orient in Germany under the leadership of Dr. Messerschmidt.

The statute of the ‘German Orient-Foundation‘ was approved on 8th May 1960 by the Senate of Hamburg, and the inaugural ceremony took place on 14th June 1960 in Hotel Atlantic. The Chairman of the German Near and Middle East Association, Dr. h.c. Alfred Toepfer, laid out the goals and tasks of the institute: it should serve the “promotion and maintenance of the relations between countries of the Orient and Germany in all cultural areas, particularly in art, science and contemporary history”. For these purposes, an irreplaceable collection of magazines and newspapers as well as a library with 33,000 volumes developed. The collection has been regularly updated since the 1960s with the purchase of around 50 daily and weekly newspapers as well as news services encompassing half of the languages of the countries of the Near and Middle East.

The first elections to the Board took place on 16th June 1960 in Hotel Atlantic. Banker Dr. Rudolf Brinckmann became Chairman of the Board, assisted by Dr. Alfred Toepfer, Dr. Ernst A. Messerschmidt, former ambassador Hans C. Podeyn and Dr. Ernst-Justus Ruperti, also co-opting Prof. Dr. h.c. Fritz Baade of Kiel. The constituent assembly of the Board of Trustees took place on 29th November 1960 in Bonn, with the presidency assumed by former senator Heinrich Landahl. The former German ambassador in Pakistan, Hans C. Podeyn, became the President of the German Orient-Institute, later succeeded by former ambassador Herbert Richter, upon whose retirement on 5th February 1976 the position of president was abolished.

The statute of the German Orient-Foundation largely defines the purpose of the foundation and the German Orient-Institute, also determining the appointment of the Board and the Board of Trustees, which is principally performed by the Board of the German Near and Middle East Association. Economic support is supplied by the Federal Foreign Office and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

The press component has expanded significantly. Since 1967 there have been regular reports on key personalities in the Near and Middle East Association under the heading ‘Who’s Who‘, supplemented by book reviews and economic essays. Reports on the economy have formed the bulk of contributions, alongside topics from politics, art and society. The contributions were authored in part by members of the association, but also by many guest authors, including scientists, economic experts, journalists and travelling researchers.


In 1964 NUMOV was first given the opportunity to dispatch two official representatives, Dr. Ing. Georg Fischoeder und Dr. Heinz Migeod, on technical-economic duty on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development to Pakistan and Turkey respectively. They were tasked with evaluating the current measures in German development aid as well as searching for new assignments and projects. Through the association‘s good connections with German companies aware of the development potential of the countries of the Middle East from many years of business practice, the effectiveness of development aid in the region was to be sustainably improved.


In the second half of the 1960s, the reorganisation of NUMOV was completed. Its area of operation now covered all countries between Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan. 1965 saw a turning point as Germany opened a diplomatic mission in Israel. In response, ten Arab states closed their diplomatic missions in Germany, including Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Kuwait. The resumption of relations was delayed for years. During this time, the activities of the association had a particular significance, since it managed to promote the interests of the German economy and maintain important connections in the region despite the restrictions imposed on the official German foreign representations.

On 1st May 1966, the German Orient-Institute department ‘Documentation Headquarters‘ embarked on its activities as a member of the ‘Max-Planck Institute for Documentation‘ in Frankfurt/Main. The headquarters addresses the current provision of bibliographic information of every kind. Its work is an indispensable support for enquiries relating to economy, science and research.

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About Deutsche Orient-Stiftung

Under the umbrella of the German Orient-Foundation, the German Orient-Institute (Deutsches Orient-Institut, DOI) was established. The institute is the oldest, non-profit scientific institution of Europe devoted to Near and Middle East studies.


Gegründet 1934 NUMOV / Nah- und Mittelost-Verein e.V.