City environment as the new setting for Rudolf Steiner Verlag

Von NNA correspondent Wolfgang G. Vögele

BASEL (NNA) – “We are relocating to Basel – where we will continue to publish exceptional books.” With this slogan the publisher Rudolf Steiner Verlag and the associated Futurum imprint (previously Pforte) announced its relocation to the university town. 

The Ackermannshof, its new home since September, is located in the St. Johann's Vorstadt district, only a few steps from the Rhine. The festivities for the move, which were held in the former printing hall on the ground floor, gave numerous guests from home and abroad the opportunity to inspect the publisher’s new premises.

Rudolf Steiner Verlag director Jonathan Stauffer said that with the move the publisher was returning to a city environment, the first time since it left the metropolis of Berlin. A city environment in the middle of a vibrant cultural scene was able to offer a publisher much more in the way of development opportunities. 

Furthermore, the move constituted a break from the past which could also be seen as a departure from a historically conflict-laden location. Already at the time that the bloody “Battle of Dornach” (1499) was fought - the former location of the press was called “Bluthügelweg” (Blood Hill Lane) - a student of Gutenberg's, Johannes Petri, had been living in Ackermannshof and practising the new form of printing using movable type. In this respect the genius loci symbolically stood for a fresh start and innovation.

The spacious building, that also houses a restaurant, is rented to painters and artists. With the exception of the publishers there are also practice rooms for musicians and studios for artists.

The president of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, which administers Rudolf Steiner's estate, Cornelius Bohlen, recalled the history of the firm, which dated back over a century to 1908. The company was founded in Berlin by Marie Steiner-von Sivers under the name “Philosophisch-theosophischer Verlag” (Philosophical-Theological Press) and was subsequently changed to “Philosophisch-anthroposophischer Verlag” (Philosophical-Anthroposophical Press) in 1915. 

The press had been located in Dornach since 1923. Since 1971 it was called “Rudolf Steiner Verlag”. Its main goal continued to be the publication of the complete works of Steiner, a very large, labour-intensive job. At present 350 volumes had already been published, with another 30 currently being planned. 
In 2007 the press was made an independent legal entity in the form of a limited company; previously it had been part of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung.  The result was a success: the current annual turnover is over one million Swiss francs. 

Bohlen pointed out the little known fact that Rudolf Steiner belonged to the list of the top ten most translated German language authors. On the up to date UNESCO Index Translationum, Steiner occupies place number three, followed by Karl Marx, Hermann Hesse, Nietzsche, Engels, Kafka, Goethe and Sigmund Freud.


Item: 111226-02EN Date: 26 December 2011 

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