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300th anniversary of government auditing in Germany

In the year 2014, the Bundesrechnungshof celebrated the 300th anniversary of the foundation of the Prussian General Chamber of Accounts. There is a direct historical link between this Chamber, which was renamed several times throughout the existence of the Kingdom of Prussia as well as during the German Reich, and the establishment of the Bundesrechnungshof in 1950. For more than 300 years now, government auditing in Germany has been firmly committed to ensuring the economical use of public funds.

Originally set up by the absolute monarchy as an instrument to control territorial administration, government auditing has become an indispensable institution in parliamentary democracy. Although the audit criteria of regularity, compliance and performance as well as professional principles such as independence, impartiality and objectivity have evolved continuously, they have lost none of their importance until today.

The Bundesrechnungshof commemorated the history and highlighted the role of government auditing, celebrating its anniversary with a particular focus on the challenges lying ahead:

The history of government auditing was subject of an exhibition as from June 2014.

Another highlight of the anniversary year and the finale to our celebrations was the official ceremony in November 2014, to which we had the honour to welcome Germany’s Federal President and other guests from politics, society and academia.

Exhibition honouring the 300th anniversary

Which major changes have external auditing and its institutions undergone over the last three centuries? Which features have stood the test of time until today? A great number of original objects and documents provided answers to these questions and illustrated the everyday work of SAI staff. In addition to tracing historical changes and developments, the exhibition also explored issues of current interest and looked at activities performed by the Bundesrechnungshof today.

The exhibition was designed to give not only Bundesrechnungshof staff, but also guests attending the commemorative events as well as the wider public the opportunity to discover the eventful history of government auditing in Germany spanning three centuries.

Official ceremony commemorating the 300th anniversary

Another highlight of our celebrations was the official ceremony on 18 November 2014 as a grand finale to the anniversary year. Together with national and international guests, we honoured the long tradition of government auditing in Germany. We were particularly delighted that Germany’s Federal President, Mr Joachim Gauck, accepted our invitation and addressed the audience during this ceremony. The ceremony took place in the former plenary hall of the German Parliament in Bonn.

© 2019 Bundesrechnungshof