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IHK history – from founding to today

The Commercial Deputation, founded in 1656 in Hamburg, was the forerunner of today's Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CCI/IHKs). The "Assembly of Honorable Merchants of Hamburg" established the deputation to represent the interests of the merchant class in the Hanse. A chamber of commerce and industry in the modern form, however, first arose in the year 1830, when a new kind of statute was approved for the commerce mission in Elberfeld and Barmen. For the first time, this granted business owners the right to regulate their affairs and elect representatives autonomously. This model was later adapted for the Prussian and ultimately nationwide German policymaking on chambers of commerce.
After several failed attempts, in 1898 the city of Potsdam also finally received permission from the Ministry of Education to found its own chamber after the example of the chambers in the Rhine Province. On October 10th, the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce began its work in an office in Schwertfegerstraße.
At the time, the chamber district encompassed the cities of Potsdam and Spandau, as well as the districts Osthavelland, Ruppin and Luckenwalde. As per a ministerial decree from March 19th, 1900, the districts Prenzlau, Templin, Angermünde and Oberbarnim were also added to the purview of the Potsdam chamber. But with the expansion of the chamber district, the wish of the merchantry to relocate the office to the more central Berlin grew stronger. At the full assembly on November 10th, 1902, the "Parliament of the Economy" resolved to move to the capital. In 1912, however, the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce was integrated into the Berlin chamber. After the National Socialist seizure of power, the NS regime subordinated all chambers of commerce to the Reich's Ministry of Economics by law, and in 1943 dissolved them entirely.

Post-war era, reunification and new beginnings 

In the post-war era, a new Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 1947 in the special occupation zone surrounding Berlin. It was responsible for the entire state of Brandenburg, but was not conceived as a democratic organ of self-government for the private sector. Rather, through nationalization and the introduction of the planned economy, the chamber increasingly lost its relevance.
In 1949, the chamber president Otto Schwarz was forced to flee into the free West. Four years later (1953), the chamber was dissolved upon a resolution of the GDR Council of Ministers and its remaining responsibilities transferred to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the DDR, known from 1983 onward as the Chamber of Trade and Commerce.
Post-Wende, on February 15th, 1990, the reestablishment of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce and Industry took place, initially on a private basis. On March 1st, 1990, the GDR government issued an ordinance on the GDR CCIs and thereby created the legal foundation for further developments. With the reintroduction of the market economy, the number of member enterprises grew rapidly. By the end of March 1990, 4,379 members were registered. This number grew to 13,000 by the end of 1990 and 36,000 by the autumn of 1992. Today, 76,439 member companies belong to the IHK Potsdam (as of December 31, 2017).