Brilliant Success Stories from Jena

Jena’s most renowned "Brilliant Success Story" began more than 150 years ago. Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe and later also Otto Schott – Jena’s Big Three – revolutionized the scientifically-based manufacturing process for microscopes. Not only were they laying the foundation for internationally renowned corporations ZEISS, Jenoptik and Schott that are successfully operating to this day. They also strengthened another one of Jena’s most important traditions: the close connection between university, non-university research facilities and local industry. Today, this interdisciplinary collaboration is reflected especially in the utilization of light-based technologies in life sciences. Microscopy and ophthalmology are here the main focus.

Many of Jena’s „Brilliant Success Stories” describe sustainable solutions with light to address important challenges of the future in the area of health, energy, mobility, environment, security, communications and information technology.

Why is Jena called City of Light?

For more than 150 years the science city Jena has been shaped by innovative, light-based technologies. As an European centre for research in the field of optics and photonics, the close connections between Jena’s two universities and non-university research facilities as well as the local industry have been a long-standing tradition and guarantee for success.

The title City of Light is synonymous for everything Jena radiates beyond its city limits: the flashes of genius from its brightest minds, the inspiration of Enlightenment, the numerous scientific facilities illuminating the darkness with the light of knowledge, the world-renowned high-tech companies as well as new ventures whose very means of success has been light itself. Light is being used as tool but also as an object for research.

Light is life. The city of light Jena is strong in life sciences. Interdisciplinary research is aptly anchored in the profile areas "Light Life Liberty" of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena as well as the slogan "where life sciences meets physics" of the research campus Beutenberg.

Ideas and innovations play a big role in Jena - interdisciplinary world-class research and the utilization of the results go hand in hand. As early as 1919, Dr. Walter Bauersfeld brought heaven to earth by inventing the basic form for the planetarium projector. Even today you can travel to the stars at the ZEISS Planetarium and experience one of Jena’s inventions live. The German Optical Museum takes the visitor on an unique journey through the history of optics and shows many innovations made in Jena.

We invite you to discover these and many more of Jena’s „Brilliant Success Stories“.


Dr. Thomas Nitzsche, Lord Mayor of the City of Jena

Wilfried Roepke, Managing Director
Jena Business Development

Wolfgang Tiefensee
Thuringian Minister for Economy, Science and Digital Society

"For the rest of my life I will reflect on what light is."

- Albert Einstein