The life of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen

Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen

Born on the 30th march, 1818 in Hamm (Sieg)

died on the 11th march, 1888 in Heddesdorf

Friedrich Wilhem Raiffeisen was born on the 30th march,1818 in Hamm (Sieg) as the seventh child of the married couple Gottfried and Amalie Raiffeisen.

His father Gottfried Raiffeisen was from 1817 till 1820 the first mayor of the local municipality of Hamm, comprising many other towns. As a child, he already got to know what poverty is about, both in his family and in his neighbourhood.


The local priest, Georg Wilhem Seippel took a big influence on the personality and education of the young Raiffeisen. He provided him with a knowledge, upper the secondary level. In addition to it, he had reported to Raiffeisen that  the famine of 1817 had arranged the journalist Joseph Görres for a call to help the pressed.

The aid organisation he created has been supported by Görres. This event , its causes and consequences had certainly got a big effect on the knowledge, thinking and acting of Raiffeisen. So was the environment of Raiffeisen's youth and infancy.

 The people who educated him were piously and socially engaged. In 1835, as he became 17 years old, Raiffeisen left his home town and stepped as a volunteer in the 7th prussian artillery brigade in Cologne. In 1843 a beginning eye complaint led to his dismissal from the military service. He began then in Koblenz an education in the civilian administration. In 1845, he took over his office - first temporaly- as a mayor in Weyerbusch, a local administration including 25 municipalities.

The hunger winter 1846/47 led to the establishment of the "Brodverein". This occurence is to be valued without doubt as a crucial experience. In 1848, in account of his achievements, he became mayor of Flammersfeld, a bigger municipality. Similar reasons moved him to create the "Flammersfelder Hülfsverein", an aid organisation for farmers without means. In 1852 came Raiffeisen's transfer to Heddesdorf.

Coming from a pure rural environment, he was now called out to rule a mayor's office, whose inhabitants were active and earned their living in the agriculture, as well as in the expanding industry. By the typical problems of the early industrialization the workers and their families became poor and destitute.  Social help was necessary. Raiffeisen created the "Wohltätigkeitsverein", which was renamed in 1864 as the "Heddesdorfer Darlehenkassen-Verein". The modern rural cooperative took herewith its beginning. Friedrich Wilhem Raiffeisen died on the 11th march, 1888.

More than 380 million of people in about 100 countries of the world are organized in Raiffeisen cooperatives. This is a statement to the general validity of Raiffeisen's idea and includes the order to follow his timeless principles:
                                               "self-help - self-responsability - self-governance"

  • Leben des F. W. Raiffeisen
  • La vie de F. W. Raiffeisen

Contact us at:

Tourist - Information Raiffeisenland
Scheidter Str. 11
57577 Hamm (Sieg)
Tel.: +49 2682 96 97 89
Fax: +49 2682 67 420



              15 h - 17 h

         and by appointment

Bank connection

Volksbank Hamm (Sieg) e.G.

Sparkasse Westerwald-Sieg


Map of the area

Cookies ermöglichen eine bestmögliche Bereitstellung unserer Dienste. Mit der Nutzung dieser Seiten und Services erklären Sie sich damit einverstanden, dass wir Cookies verwenden. Mehr Infos