1990: German reunification opens up new opportunities

What pictures come to your mind when you think of the Fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989? Even if you were not born at that moment yet, you probably know the photos of people dancing on the monument or destroying it in order to open up the passage between East and West. 1989 and 1990 were full of political events, changes and milestones that would change the global political landscape in the years to come.

Parts of the Berlin Wall are being removed, 1989/1990 © Zeppelin Group

With Germany’s official reunification on October 3, 1990 did not only start a new era for the German nation which grew together step by step and built a new future, but also for Zeppelin. The company had understood early on that reunification meant a big chance. Open-minded, “old” and “new” Zeppelin colleagues from all parts of Germany joined forces to create solutions for our customers. That was true for plant engineering as well as for construction machinery. Till today, Zeppelin runs a plant engineering site in Freital (near Dresden) that roots back to the times of the GDR.

Signing of the dealer contract for East Germany between Caterpillar Inc. and Zeppelin-Metallwerke GmbH (today Zeppelin Group). From left to right: Vice President Caterpillar Inc. Vito H. Baumgartner, Managing Director Heinrich Kollmann, Managing Director Ernst Susanek, Robert C. Petterson from Caterpillar Inc., 1990 © Zeppelin Group

In 1990, Caterpillar entrusted Zeppelin with the responsibility for the distribution and service of Caterpillar products in the five new German federal states (“Neue Bundesländer”). People with an entrepreneurial spirit, open for innovation, have always been at the core of Zeppelin’s business. Thus, Zeppelin looked for highly qualified, motivated people in the new territories who were willing to take on new challenges. Within a very short period of time, Zeppelin onboarded a large number of them – many have stayed with the company for decades and helped to develop our business not only in reunified Germany, but also in many countries of the Eurasian region. Learn more about that in one of or next blog posts!

Zeppelin’s first activities in East Germany, early 1990s © Zeppelin Group
In Leipzig and other East German locations, Zeppelin’s business is initially conducted in containers, early 1990s © Zeppelin Group
A Zeppelin Baumaschinen GmbH site in Bochow, before the branch in Groß Kreutz (Havel)/ Brandenburg was opened, 1990s © Zeppelin Group

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