The Siemens House

The Siemens family has lived in the foothills of the northern Harz mountains for over 600 years, especially in the old free city of goslar. The members of the Goslar branch of the family can be traced back to the time of the Reformation, beginning with Ananias Siemens (1538-1591).
The most distinguished family member is Werner von Siemens (1816-1892), who was born in Lenthe near Hannover and formed the “Telegraphenbauanstalt Siemens & Halske” Telegraph Building Institution) in 1847, which became the foundation of the present worldwide Siemens concern. In 1866 with his discovery of the dynamo-electric principle and subsequent construction of the first dynamo, he established power engineering as an industry. In 1888 he was awarded a title by Kaiser Friedrich III.

The Siemens house in Goslar, which is situated on the corner of Schreiberstrasse and Bergstrasse, is one of the most attractive residences in the town. It was built between 1692 and 1693 by Hans Siemens, a merchant and pillar of the local community. An ornamental wood carving of the architect`s motto adorns the doorway to this day: “ora et labora”, “pray and work”.

On entering, the visitor finds himself in the “Däle”, a tiled reception room, which once served as an entrance to the courtyard, which is enclosed on three sides. The wares such as corn etc. used to be drawn up by a rope pulley through a hatch into the four attics, which are covered by a solide slate roof. To the left in the courtyard, the old brewing kitchen still remains, with its huge vat and all the utensils needed to brew the “Gose Beer”. A tree trunk with its centre bored away , part of the water feed-pipe from the Gose, is a reminder of the “pipeline” from the middle ages in the old town goslar.

As to the history of this house, it is worth mentioning that during the period 1778-1916, it was not in the possession of the Siemens family. It was then reacquired by Werner von Siemens`children on the occasion of his hundredth birthday, to serve as a family house for meetings and gatherings, also as a family archive for storing documents, paintings and books.

The small general store originates from the 19th century and continued trading until 1916. It was formerly located in the Däle (entrance hall) but has now been reconstructed with all its original charm and can be found next to the brewing kitchen. The archives are situated in the upper storey, together with a large meeting room and a corner room with a view of the market and Kaiserpfalz (imperial palace). Here is to be found an exhibition depicting the history of the most important members of the family, including a family tree and a bust of Werner von Siemens by A. Hildebrand. The window frames on the Bergstrasse side are adorned with carved pillars in the baroque style and the great hall was restored in 1954 to its former glory with its bulls`-eye window panes. The doors and the dark brown beamed ceilings are also typical of the baroque style.