Saving – History of a German Virtue


History of a German Virtue

23 March extended until 4 November 2018

An exhibition by the Deutsches Historisches Museum in cooperation with Berliner Sparkasse

Saving goes without saying in Germany. Private households and public organizations, as well as companies, save on a large scale in Germany. Even in times of historically low interest rates, the majority of people in the country hasn’t questioned the point of saving in the private household, nor the doctrine of saving in German financial and foreign policy.

Observers outside of Germany, however, have in recent years increasingly taken a critical view on the German propensity to save. They have questioned not only the role of Germany in enforcing austerity in the Eurozone, but also saving within Germany itself. The restrained expenditure of private and public budgets, as well as of companies, contributes considerably to the current-account surplus in the country, which is held to be a potential danger for the world economy and thereby also, by extension, for the German economy.

The exhibition "Saving – History of a German Virtue" at the Deutsches Historisches Museum considers and discusses the saving-oriented behaviour passed down in Germany in the context of growing international criticism. It embarks on a search for the specific character of the German propensity to save, from its origins until today. Its precursors are taken into consideration, as are concrete historical manifestations of saving since the Late Enlightenment. The exhibition will illuminate the development of saving into an instrument of state funding as well as state welfare and social policies. Another focal point is the complementary relationship between pro-saving propaganda and advertising and anti-Semitism. Spanning across various epochs, the exhibition traces the role of education on saving in the genesis of the German propensity – or urge – to save, as well as the relationship between saving and social and economic crises.

Flyer to the exhibition
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View into the exhibition

Audio guide

in German and English
€ 3 plus admission

Opening hours

daily 10 am to 6 pm


Free up to 18 years
€ 8, reduced € 4
More information

Tour booking

Permanent exhibition
Tel.  +49 30 20304-751

Special exhibitions
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Museum shop


In the museum

Buchhandlung Walther König
Tel. +49 30 206 24 5 24


All entrances are wheelchair accessible

Public transport

Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße

Französische Straße, Friedrichstraße, Hausvogteiplatz

100, 200, TXL Staatoper or Lustgarten

Underground car park below Bebelplatz
City Quartier Dom Aquarée


Deutsches Historisches Museum

Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin

Tel. +49 30 20304-0