Our history

Across Generations

Our history

1795

How it all started

Officially, Peter Kölln exists since 1820. However, the generation of founders showed entrepreneurial spirit already. In 1795, Hans Hinrich Kölln (1770-1812) bought a small horse-driven grain mill. From Elmshorn he supplied seafarers heading for Greenland with ship's biscuits.

  • 1820

    Far-reaching decisions

    After the death of Hans Hinrich Kölln, his wife Metta ran the business. Peter Kölln
    (1796-1858) took over the business from his mother and turned out to be a capable businessman. In 1820 he founded today's food company Peter Kölln, thus laying the foundation for the following generations.

    The following still applies today: the Peter Kölln company thinks and acts cross-generational. All decisions are designed for ecological, economic and social sustainability.

  • 1860

    Technical progress

    In the meantime, the second Kölln generation has taken control. Peter Ferdinand Kölln (1838-1886) believes in technical progress. He replaces the old horse-mill by a steam engine. In the following years, the company developed from a grain wholesaler to an important processor of oats.

    Modern production processes and the investment in technical support: These are still crucial key success factors for Peter Kölln. Because innovative technology not only makes the manufacture of products safer and more efficient, it also relieves the workers of hard physical work.

  • 1889

    Volunteering and commitment

    Peter Albert Kölln (1864-1918) is the third generation to run the company. He is characterised by volunteering and his dedication to community works. One of his numerous political and social commitments is the founding of the Schleswig-Holstein Grain Traders Association, where he engages strongly for their interests.

    Doing something good for the region - a matter of course for the Peter Kölln company. In addition to supporting regional clubs and institutions, Peter Kölln also gives its employees space to get involved, because volunteering and public spirit will continue to make social life worth living in the future.

  • 1920

    Year of birth of the Kölln oats flakes

    The fourth generation reaches a decisive milestone in the company's history: Peter Klaus Diedrich Kölln (1890-1956) launches his oat flakes in a practical household pack on the market. In each pack there are collectible picture cards with fairy tale motifs - a real stroke of marketing genius at that time. In 1938, Peter Klaus Diedrich Kölln registered the "Wholegrain Oats” as a brand.

    Wholegrain oats in a light- and dark-blue packaging: what was good 100 years ago still stands for a healthy brand quality today.

  • 1926

    Courage to be optimistic

    The upswing and tragic events are closely related in the troubled times of the following years. Peter Klaus Diedrich Kölln leads the company through inflation, the global economic crisis and the Second World War. A major fire in 1926 destroys large parts of the production area. The Kölln family resolutely begins with the reconstruction and production can be started again just a year later.

    The production buildings still bear witness to the confidence with which Peter Klaus Diedrich Kölln managed the company. The tower-like silo with the lantern made of red brick is a visible symbol of constancy.

  • 1945

    Handover to the next generation

    After six months of imprisonment, Ernsthermann Kölln (1923-2020) returns to Elmshorn in November 1945. His older brother Peter Max Markus had fallen in war. The father Peter Klaus Diedrich Kölln thus hands over the corporate management to his second-born son.

    The family sticks together. At Peter Kölln, this applies beyond the core family. The company also cares for its employees. Many of them spend their entire professional lives at Peter Kölln, some of them even in the second generation.

  • 1962

    On track for success

    Ernsthermann Kölln continues to drive the success of the company in the fifth generation. With catchy TV spots, he secures his Kölln flakes a permanent place on the breakfast table. More success also means: expansion is required. In 1962, the new office building and the distinctive light- and dark-blue oat silos are built under his direction.

    Risk something new and preserve the good things: Peter Kölln still likes to break new ground in marketing today. At the same time, the family-owned company appreciates the long-established things: Hanseatic values, commercial virtues and the experience of previous generations.

  • 1976

    All muesli

    Ernsthermann Kölln is not only a pioneer in the field of TV advertising. As muesli became increasingly popular at the end of the 1970s, Peter Kölln was at the cutting edge. The practical Kölln muesli mixes are on the supermarket shelves since 1976. This is also the birth of the most popular muesli in Germany up until now: Kölln’s chocolate muesli.

    Muesli bars. Tender melting oats flakes.  Gluten-free mixtures. Soluble oats drinks. The variety of products from Peter Kölln has always been geared towards the wishes of customers. That’s what makes the company one of the best-known oat processors of today.

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  • 1998

    Growth and Responsibility

    At the beginning of the new millennium, Prof. Dr. Hans Heinrich Driftmann (1948-2016) takes over the management of the company from his father-in-law Ernsthermann Kölln. He constantly drives growth and expands the product range and production capacities. At the same time, he introduces modern management systems, thus underlining the commitment to reliable and sustainable quality.

    Taking responsibility for future generations continues to be the yardstick for decisions at Peter Kölln. In 2007, the company was certified according to the International Featured Standard Food (IFS Food). The company has been using UTZ-certified cocoa and RSPO-certified palm oil since 2013. ECO electricity has been flowing through the lines of the Peter Kölln plant since 2014.

  • 2004

    Acquisition of further traditional brands

    In addition to expanding the Kölln range, Hans Heinrich Driftmann also puts acquisition on the agenda. Livio, Biskin, Palmin, Becht’s and Edelweiss milk sugar have been part of the Peter Kölln family since 2004. Mazola joined in 2014. With these traditional brands, Peter Kölln is expanding its business and proving its competence as a successful brand company.

    Securing the future of the company with strategically smart decisions: Peter Kölln has succeeded in doing so for 200 years. And further acquisitions are not excluded.

  • 2014

    Discover Kölln

    Mix the muesli yourself. Design your desired label. Enjoy with family and friends. The ‘Haferland’, opened in Hamburg in 2014, is a meeting point for everyone who loves Kölln’s products. And because it is so well received, the "little" ‘Haferland’ in Westerland on Sylt opens in 2017.

    The family atmosphere at ‘Haferland’ in Hamburg and Sylt is a reflection of Peter Kölln's corporate identity: the passion for good products and the joy of sharing pleasure with others - something that connects.

  • 2016

    In good hands

    After the death of Hans Heinrich Driftmann, Dr. Christian von Boetticher takes over the management. As a former Minister of Agriculture, he knows the company's issues very well and enjoys the trust of the owner families. The company is run in the seventh generation.

    Take wise decisions. Follow a responsible course together. Looking forwards and carried by a strong tradition - this has been Peter Kölln's secret to success for many generations. A strategy that will continue to determine the company's fortunes in future.

  • 2020

    200 years of Peter Kölln

    The Peter Kölln family starts into an emotional year. The company celebrates its 200th anniversary. Everyone is proud of what they have achieved and curious about what is to come.

    Peter Kölln is more than a company and not without reason its motto is: Across Generations. For its customers who have trusted the healthy products for 200 years. For its employees, who are supported by Peter Kölln as a fair and safe employer. And for the region where the company is committed to ecological and social responsibility.