Worth referring to as an introduction to historical institutions in Germany is the Institut français d’histoire en Allemagne of Frankfurt (former Mission historique française en Allemagne, Göttingen), which is one of the 28 French research centres abroad dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and which serves as a first port of call for historians interested in any period from the Antiquity to the 20th Century. For contemporary history, you should also approach the Centre Marc Bloch, in Berlin.
On the German side, historical research takes place in similar structures to those in place in France, such as universities, state-funded research centres and independent associations. These various institutions provide the conditions for the foundation of the major centres of historical research described here.
German historians are grouped together in the Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands (German Historians’ Society), which organises a major conference every two years, the ‘Historikertag’. The last one took place at Mainz, between 25 and 28 September 2012: its scientific programme is available online (see the categories “Sektionen” and “Vorträge” in the left column). The next session will take place at Göttingen in September 2014, on the theme "Winners and losers".
Many of the research programmes supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) should interest medievalists. In particular, the website of this institution includes a presentation of available possibilities for doctoral training and for ‘postdoc’ grants: follow the link ‘Förderung’, then ‘Koordinierte Programme’ (‘Sonderforschundsbereiche’ and ‘Graduiertenkollegs’).
The Max-Planck Society which celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2013, is made up of a powerful network of institutes and libraries dedicated to both the natural and the human sciences. Amongst those which might interest the medievalist, one might usefully cite:
the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte at Frankfurt am Main.
the Bibliotheca Hertziana at Rome, which is dedicated to the history of art.
the Kunsthistorisches Institut at Florence, which works on a similar field to the previous institution.
The foundation Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland brings together the various German historical institutions abroad. Its welcome page links to the websites of these research centres.
There is a directory of German medievalists; In addition, a Franco-German directory of medievalists is underway.
The German equivalent of the SHMESP (Société des Historiens Médiévistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur Public) is the Mediävistenverband; however it does not only include historians, but also medievalists of all disciplines. It organises a conference every two years. The last one took place in March 2013 at Heidelberg, on the theme “Abraham’s inheritance: Competition, conflict and coexistence in the Middle Ages”; its abstract is available here.
Also worthy of attention is the Konstanz Medievalists’ Association (Konstanzer Arbeitskreis für mittelalterliche Geschichte), a scholarly society founded in 1951 by German medievalists to promote research in medieval history in a European comparative perspective. From then on, it has organised two annual conferences which take place on the island of Reichenau and which are published in the series Vorträge und Forschungen published by Thorbecke, which has now reached more than 60 titles.
Other actors of decisive importance for German-language medievalism are the Academies of Science, notably:
the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften,
the Akademie der Wissenschaften de Göttingen,
the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften de Leipzig,
the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur of Mainz,
the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften of Munich, from which the Kommission für bayerische Landesgeschichte depends,
the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften at Vienna. This academy contains within it:
Also concerning Austria: Two key partners in medieval history are the university of Vienna, whose historical projects are presented here, and the Institut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung. The contents pages of works published by this institute, and in particular its journal (Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung), are available on line.
For archaeological research, consult the website of the Deutscher Archäologenverband as well as of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut. In the latter, the Römisch-Germanische Kommission, located at Frankfurt, offers one of the best European libraries about medieval archaeology.