A history with many twists and a clear plan
The Dussmann Group traces its history back to 1963, when Peter Dussmann launched his small business in Munich with just a handful of employees. Today, we are one of the world’s largest family-owned service companies. Accordingly, much has changed. We have grown, opened up new business segments and reinvented ourselves again and again. What has remained unchanged over 60 years and will continue to distinguish the Dussmann Group in the future is the excellent quality of our services and our passion for innovation.
Would you like to know more details about the long history of the Dussmann Group? Here you can read how the Dussmann Group has successfully developed over the past 60 years.
How it all started
Peter Dussmann decided to build a service company called "Pedus". He gathered his savings together, took out a modest loan, and started a home care service for bachelor apartments in Munich.
Outsourcing as solution
For all those who don’t want to clean their offices or shop space themselves, Peter Dussmann has a solution: outsourcing saves time and money, freeing up staff and allowing people to focus on their own work.
Hospital cleaning & The first step abroad, in Austria
The first hospital cleaning contract was signed in 1968 with a medical center in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Today, we operate in the hospital hygiene segment in many countries.
Peter Dussmann also ventured abroad for the first time by founding a subsidiary in Austria. A decision which, not least due to the outstanding development of the foreign subsidiary, has had a significant influence on the history of the Dussmann Group.
Expansion to Italy
Peter Dussmann expanded to Italy. This would become the company’s biggest market worldwide over the years. From Bergamo to Sicily, some 23,400 people work there now, ensuring the company’s success.
Communication is everything
Peter Dussmann believed it was important for employees to talk to each other about their experiences, either in small groups or during continuing education and training activities. This made it possible to quickly introduce improvements and new developments within the company and its services.
Facility Management is born
One day, Peter Dussmann received an inquiry for a service package – from cleaning to security, and all of it in the Saudi desert. Facility Management was born, getting off the ground in Saudi Arabia and Brazil as the first markets.
Hello, Luxembourg! Hello, Catering!
Dussmann expanded to Luxembourg. Today, the company is the country’s largest service provider. The automatic “service associate” advertises fast, perfect building cleaning from Pedus International at the Munich airport.
Catering in healthcare settings was added to the range of services. Dussmann expanded to corporate and industrial catering in 1982.
A new idea: Dussmann Office
Peter Dussmann visited the United States and came back with an idea for another new branch of the company. Dussmann Office began offering business solutions, including fully equipped rental offices and conference rooms, along with office staff. The business was sold in 2021.
An idea, more responsibility: Kursana
The Dussmann Group acquired six senior residences where it had previously been providing cleaning and dining services. Peter Dussmann reinvented care under the Kursana name.
Main train station in Munich, October 1. Pedus conductors await their passengers at the train scheduled to travel to the Westphalia region to celebrate the company’s 25th anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Dussmann celebrated that evening with 350 guests.
Biggest moment in our history
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a significant event for Germany and the world. The fall of the Berlin Wall also had a strong impact on the Dussmann Group: as one of the first West German companies, the Dussmann Group created thousands of jobs in East Germany, generating a huge growth spurt.
Expansion into Eastern Europe
After the fall of the Iron Curtain, Dussmann established companies in Hungary (1991) and the Czech Republic (1992). The Dussmann Group began expanding its business activities in Eastern Europe.
New: museum services
Dussmann employees specially trained to monitor, clean, and take care of works of art and museums safeguard the treasures entrusted to them, at that time including the Bust of Nefertiti at the Pergamonmuseum in Berlin.
Move to Berlin and opening of Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus
The company’s headquarters moved to Berlin, to the newly constructed Dussmann building on Friedrichstraße, which is now one of the city’s most popular shopping streets. Peter Dussmann, recollecting his roots as an apprentice bookseller, opened Dussmann das KulturKaufhaus there. The store went on to become Germany’s largest media store. In 2023, it was named one of the world’s ten most beautiful bookstores.
Food service in the Far East
On a trip to Asia, Peter Dussmann opened the central kitchen at Cho Ray Hospital in the Vietnamese metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City on December 4.
Growth at Kursana
Kursana acquired the hospitalia care facilities, doubling the number of care facilities operated under its umbrella. This made Kursana one of the leading private providers of care for seniors in Germany all at once, with some 80 facilities.
The hygiene expertise employees had built over decades paid off when we added cleanroom cleaning to our service spectrum.
Industrial laundry Lavador in Luxembourg
Lavador, a new large-scale laundry, opened in Bissen, Luxembourg, in June. It remains the country’s largest commercial laundry operation.
Kursana continues to grow
Kursana acquired eight facilities from Sunrise, continuing to operate them under the Kursana Villa brand. With their exclusive amenities and outstanding locations, these sites offer premium living like in a five-star hotel.
Catherine von Fürstenberg-Dussmann opened the first Dussmann KulturKindergarten, in Berlin. The new childcare fostered bilingualism, focused on cultural and musical education, and offered hours specifically geared toward parents’ work schedules
Alarm receiving center
The Dussmann Group is also constantly developing in other business segments. For example, the alarm receiving center in Gardelegen, in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt, opened in May. It receives information on the status of security equipment and systems all over Europe.
The Vertical Garden
Our social responsibility towards employees, customers and the environment is at the center of every further development and portfolio expansion. This is what the Vertical Garden symbolizes, which was created in 2012 by French artist Patrick Blanc at the Dussmann building on Berlin’s Friedrichstraße. Since then, it can be admired there and reminds us every day of our common values.
50th anniversary and a sad farewell
The Dussmann Group held a glittering gala to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Not long afterward, we were saddened to bid farewell to our founder, Peter Dussmann, who died at the age of 74 after a long illness.
The Dussmann Group acquired Dresdner Kühlanlagenbau GmbH (DKA), a full-service provider of cooling, refrigeration and ventilation equipment.
The 2-billion-euro mark
This year marked the first time the company earned more than two billion euros in sales worldwide. In the facility management segment, Dussmann launched digitalization projects in the area of service robotics. Kursana had now been wowing customers for 30 years with excellent care for seniors.
We acquired HEBO, our very own factory producing specialty elevators. Following our 2013 acquisition of DKA, this meant we were now able to offer construction, modernization, service, and operation in elevator technology and in cooling, refrigeration, and ventilation technology.
Award from Foundation for Family Businesses
The Dussmann Group is a national treasure, as the Foundation for Family Businesses (Stiftung Familienunternehmen) put it, naming us Berlin’s top family-operated employer.
Taking things to the next level to shape the future
Our next-level strategy for 2018–2023 charted our future course with the goal of safeguarding our growth in the long term. It was clear that Dussmann Group, a family company, would continue to do business in the areas of facility management, caring for seniors and children, and media retail in the future.
Dussmann Technical Solutions
As our third technical mainstay, we acquired STS, an electrical engineering company based in Ireland, and founded the new Dussmann Technical Solutions unit. It is home to all our specialists in technical plant and systems engineering for industrial and commercial applications.
Catherine von Fürstenberg-Dussmann and Wolf-Dieter Adlhoch received the Entrepreneur of the Year award for Germany from Ernst & Young as outstanding entrepreneurial figures.
A dependable partner in the fight against COVID
Our employees demonstrate their greatness in the fight against the coronavirus, as elsewhere, living up to their role as a stable, flexible partner to customers and society at large. Right when the first cases were detected in Germany, they sprang into action, disinfecting Webasto headquarters from top to bottom. They also cleaned and disinfected hospitals, schools, and means of transportation in many countries and worked to ensure the well-being of seniors and children at care facilities. Thanks to its COVID heroes, the Dussmann Group maintained a strong financial footing throughout the pandemic.
In 2020, a new joint venture with the energy supplier Mainova AG, Chargemaker, will also help electromobility in Germany achieve a breakthrough with e-charging solutions for companies.
Dussmann acquired Austrian operating room cleaning company Janus. With further targeted acquisitions, the Dussmann Group also continued to raise its profile in the technical services and industrial engineering segment: German cooling and refrigeration company K.E.D. and Polish building services firm NetService became part of the Dussmann Group.
The relaunch of our Dussmann brand reflects our shift from cleaning company to solution provider. Our three service segments, "Facility Management", "Food Services", and Technical Solutions promise our customers: 'We care for more' – we take care of people and the places where they live and work – to make their lives richer and easier.
The Dussmann Group at 60
In its 60th anniversary year, the Dussmann Group is thriving. And it continues to grow: Thanks to two acquisitions, we now also offer electrical engineering and communication technology, along with process automation and plant and systems control.