Hedwig and Robert Samuel Foundation History

Mr. and Mrs. Samuel

Official establishment of the foundation

June 3, 1932 is the official birthday of the Hedwig and Robert Samuel Foundation. On this day, the Prussian State Ministry approved the establishment of the foundation on the basis of the submitted founding deed and foundation statutes, thereby completing the last necessary formal act. Hedwig and Robert Samuel had stipulated the establishment of the foundation in their will. Its executors, three Jewish merchants friends of Robert Samuel, initiated the founding process after his death in 1931. The three friends also formed the first board of the foundation, but had to resign from office at the end of the 1930s due to National Socialist pressure. The Samuels designated the office and commercial building at Königsallee 14 in Düsseldorf, the so-called Hohenzollernhaus, as the foundation's capital. The building has served this purpose to this day and hosts the foundation's main office as well.

1933 - 1945

Unsuccessful attempts by various Nazi organisations to gain access to the so-called Jewish capital

During the Third Reich, the building, which was already enormously valuable, fortunately did not fall victim to the covetousness of the various National Socialist organisations, as they blocked each other in their attempts to annex the property.

Hohenzollernhaus after bombing

Damage to the Hohenzollern House after air strike

The Königsallee 14 office and commercial building was hit by incendiary bombs and the attic was destroyed. However, the basic structure of the building remained intact.


Death of Hedwig Samuel

Hedwig Samuel died at the age of 82.

1977 to 1986

Activities as a supporting foundation funding projects in Düsseldorf

During this period, the foundation mainly supported social projects in Düsseldorf/Germany; among other endeavours, donations were made for improvement measures in the elderly homes in the Gallberg and Flehe districts of the city.

Renovation of the building - Reconstruction of the attics
1980 to 1983

Renovation of the office and commercial building Königsallee 14

In the first years of the foundation's charitable activities, a large part of its income was needed for capital accumulation and the necessary, extensive renovation of the building, including the reconstruction of the attics destroyed during the war. Since the completion of this measures, the rental income from the Hohenzollernhaus has been the Samuel Foundation's most important source of income to this day.


Inauguration of the head office in the foundation's building in Düsseldorf

The foundation opened its first office in the Hohenzollernhaus. From that time onwards, all national and international funding measures have been coordinated from here.


Expansion of project activities

From the mid-1980s, the foundation expanded its German and international project support. In addition to further project funding in Düsseldorf, the foundation supported other organisations with projects in Germany and abroad. The contact with institutions actively involved in development cooperation sharpened the foundation's focus on the problems in underdeveloped countries and directed its attention towards the promotion of education as the most suitable means for helping people to develop new life perspectives in the long term. At this point in time, the foundation shifted its focus to operational project work and geographically expanded its radius of action. In relatively short succession, the foundation established international branches in various countries. To date, the foundation has helped around 8,000 young people to receive a qualified education in its own Centres for Technical Education.


Support to the organisation Menschen für Menschen (People for People)

The foundation provided financial support to Africa Relieve organisation, which was founded by the well-known German actor, Karl-Heinz Böhm.

1986 to 2006

Art scholarships for students of the Düsseldorf Art Academy

Until 2006, the foundation awarded annual scholarships to economically disadvantaged students of the Düsseldorf Art Academy.

Van donated to the elderly facility in Costa Rica

Foundation of the Asociación Hedwig and Robert Samuel San José/ Costa Rica

This year marked the beginning of the foundation's direct international commitment. As its first project, the foundation supported a health centre as well as an elderly facility in San Isidro and a school in Pérez Zeledón/Costa Rica.


Foundation of branch in Managua/ Nicaragua

The foundation started to provide support to the first projects in Nicaragua. These were: a children's home, a health centre and a primary school.

Street children project
1989 to 1996

Support to a street children project of the Dominicans in San Salvador/El Salvador

The foundation supported the pre-school and primary school education of children living in a rubbish dump colony.

Children of the children's home in Costa Rica

Construction of two children's homes in San Isidro del General/Costa Rica

The foundation built two houses for abandoned and abused children and adolescents. Until 2019, the "Albergues" were run jointly with the Costa Rican child protection agency (PANI). At the beginning of 2019, PANI took over the entire management of both homes.


Establishment of the Hedwig and Robert Medical Foundation in Ebenebe/Nigeria

The foundation started the construction of a hospital in Ebenebe, a rural region in Nigeria.


Start of the foundation's work in India

Residential building in Wersten

Construction of a residential and commercial building in Düsseldorf

In the Düsseldorf district of Wersten, the foundation built a residential and commercial building with 25 above-average social housing units as a contribution to better housing for the socially needy and included the building in its portfolio.

Transport of humanitarian aid supplies to Romania
1990 to 1992

Transport of humanitarian aid supplies to Romania

Children KiD

Co-foundation of the non-profit organisation Kind in Düsseldorf GmbH (KiD)

Together with two other non-profit organisations, the foundation established the inpatient specialised facility for children victims of violence and abuse "KiD" in Düsseldorf. The three partners also set up a child protection outpatient clinic, which they have run together very successfully ever since.

Hospital in Nigeria

Construction and opening of a hospital in Ebenebe/Nigeria

Inauguration of school in San José/Costa Rica

Support project in Lomas de Cocorí in San José/Costa Rica

The foundation financed the renovation and expansion of the Lomas de Cocorí school.

Inauguration of the Centre for Technical Education in Managua/Nicaragua

Construction and opening of a training centre in Managua/Nicaragua

The first foundation-owned Centre for Technical Education was opened.


Establishment of the Samuel Foundation Charitable India Trust. Opening of a Centre for Skill Development in New Delhi/India

After the successful establishement of the legally independent "Samuel Foundation Charitable India Trust" in New Delhi, the opening of a Centre for Skill Development in Nangloi/New Delhi followed soon after.

1993 to 2013

Support project for the infirmary El Tepeyac in Granada/Nicaragua

The foundation financially supported the renovation of the "El Tepeyac" health post with its own funds and restored the water supply to three neighbouring communities with funding from the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. The foundation repeatedly supported the health post over a period of 20 years.

Hospital in Ebenebe/Nigeria

Expansion of the hospital in Ebenebe/Nigeria

The foundation's own hospital in Ebenebe was extended by a new wing and the addition of a nurses' school. By 2002, the hospital was completely handed over to the local partners.

 Centre for Technical Education in Neu Delhi/India

Opening of two further centres in New Delhi/India

The focus of the foundation in New Delhi was placed on technical education for the textile industry. The training took place in the two centres located in Raghubir Nagar and Paharganj respectively.


Branch in San José/Costa Rica Opening of a Centre for Technical Education in San José

The opening of the Centre for Technical Education in San José - at that time still in rented premises - marked the start of the foundation's operational activities in Costa Rica.

Training centre  in Havanna/Kuba
1997 to 2007

Support project: funding for training facilities in Havana/Cuba

Over a period of ten years, the foundation supported a lifeguard school, a training centre for crafts and technical courses, and a training facility for young people from the most vulnerable sections of the population with targeted infrastructure measures.

Centre for Technical Education in San José, Costa Rica

Construction of the foundation's own Centre for Technical Education in San José, Costa Rica

The Centre for Technical Education changed locations. From this moment on, training in San José was carried out in the newly built foundation-owned centre, its second in Central America.


Expansion of the foundation's own Centre for Technical Education in Managua/Nicaragua

Inauguration of the extension of the primary school in Nicaragua

Support project: expansion of the primary school El Divino Salvador in Bello Amanecer/Nicaragua

The foundation carried out the expansion of a primary school in Bello Amanecer, west of Managua, with funding from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.

Opening of a foundation office in Lampang Province/Thailand

Opening of a foundation office in Lampang Province/Thailand

In the foundation's Thai branch, children and young people were supported in their schooling and vocational education in a variety of ways. In the course of the project activities, the foundation office was relocated to Chiang Mai.


Official recognition of the Samuel Foundation in Thailand as an international development organisation


Official recognition of the Samuel Foundation as a Misión Internacional (International Aid Organisation) by the state of Nicaragua

2012 to 2014

Renovation and restructuring of the Hohenzollern House

In order to optimise and secure the foundation's income in the long term, the office space in the building at Königsallee 14 was renovated and restructured.


Support project for the organisation Misión Hombres de Valor in Satipo/Peru

The foundation supported a drug prevention project in Peru.

Workshop- Centre for Technical Education in San José/Costa Rica

Renovation and expansion of the Centre for Technical Education in San José/Costa Rica

Centre for Technical Education in Managua/Nicaragua

Renovation and expansion of the Centre for Technical Education in Managua/Nicaragua


Completion of the educational support project in Chiang Mai/Thailand

The project dedicated to supporting the education of school-age children and young people came to an end with the completion of the care activities for our last beneficiary and the retirement of the country director.

Playhouse support project  in Germany
2016 to 2019

Support project Café Eden in Düsseldorf

The foundation supported the "Café Eden" project initiated by the Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf (Düsseldorf Playhouse) to integrate refugees into our society. "Café Eden" serves as a meeting point and a place for German language instruction for refugees. The multicultural play "Germany. A Winter's Tale." freely adapted from Heinrich Heine, was part of the cooperation with the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus.

Office and commercial building

Construction of the office building 100 Calle Blancos in San José/Costa Rica

The office and commercial building "100 Calle Blancos" was built on a portion of the area where our Centre for Technical Education in San José is located. It will serve to finance current and future projects in the region as well as to improve the foundation's capital income situation.