The Herrnhut Star Company is located in the town of Herrnhut, which is also the birthplace of the new "Herrnhuter Brüderunität". The first stars were made here over 160 years ago and were lit using lamps fuelled by rapeseed oil or petroleum. In 1894, Pieter Hendrik Verbeek opened a bookshop which also sold music and craft supplies and kits for stars. In the following years, Verbeek developed the design and assembly of a sturdy 25 pointed star. In 1899 Verbeek made a business contract with the Moravian Church and founded the company "Verbeek & Co. Papierwaren- und Cartonagen Fabrik". The stars were sold originally through the business arm of the Moravian Church until 1904 when the Mission bookshop took over this role.
The Birth of the Star Company
P.H. Verbeek spent the following years refining the construction of the stars and in 1925 he applied a patent for a frameless Herrnhut Star. This still forms the basis of today's frameless star. The self-supporting construction made mass production, sales, and delivery much easier and was a vital feature for successful worldwide marketing. In the same year, Verbeek partnered with the Moravian Church Missions Department and the Abraham Dürninger & Co., founding the Star Company.
The stars enjoyed increasing popularity. However, they still remained a seasonal product. For full-year employment, supplementary goods such as candles, lamps, and lampshades were added.
A challenging relaunch
In 1945 the Star company was expropriated by the Russian installed government an nationalized. Consequently, in 1951 it was renamed "VEB Oberlausitz Stern- und Lampenschirmfabrik". The production of Herrnhut Stars continued alongside that of other products and by the middle of the 1960’s they were again in production. When hand-production no longer fitted into the socialist ideal of industrial production, the Moravian Church was offered the renationalization and the return of the business - a very unusual action in those days. On the 1st of January 1969, the production began in the former Gasworks of the Moravian Church. It continued, however, to be required to reach the yearly production goals given by the State.
Business since Reunification
The reunification of Germany in 1989 brought another challenge for the company as it needed to create new marketing channels. In 1991 the Herrnhut Star Company registered itself with the Moravian Church as sole shareholder. Extensive investment in the improvement of production and quality became possible in the 1990´s. This also increased the range of products available, resulting in the growth of the Herrnhut Star Company into the thriving business you see today. The laying of the foundation stone for a new building in July 2007 is a new milestone in the story of the Herrnhut Star company.
The Herrnhut Star Manufacturer
In 1991 the Herrnhut Star Company was founded by changing the fixture business to a private limited company (GmbH). In 2011 a new factory building in Herrnhut was dedicated. Annually, a permanent staff of 60 employees produces by hand 600,000 stars in more than 60 different varieties.
The newly completed factory building of HERRNHUTEER® brings together administration, production, and a visitor center under one roof. A dedicated and spacious room awaits visitors, featuring a showroom that showcases the intricate craftsmanship of handmade stars. Additionally, an exhibition on the history of Herrnhut stars and the Moravian Church adds to the experience. For relaxation, the Café "Among the Stars" provides a welcoming atmosphere.
The connection between the Town of Herrnhut and its Moravian Congregation is beautifully showcased throughout the building, with elements of Herrnhut Baroque architecture and landscaping. The visitor center pays homage to the colors of the original star - red and white - which are prominently featured. Honoring tradition and emphasizing Christian outreach, the star factory prioritizes job creation in the region while also funding projects of the Moravian Church and its ministry.