Private food inspections have been carried out in the Berlin district of Friedenau for over 100 years.
In 1902, the food chemist and court-certified legal expert Dr Wilhelm Lohmann (1855–1944) moved his Chemical Laboratory and Hygiene Institute, which was founded around the turn of the 20th century, from central Berlin to Friedenau.
He managed the laboratory until 1931.
In 1931, Dr Ludwig Hess (1882–1956) joined the laboratory as a state-certified food chemist and publicly appointed trade chemist.
He led the laboratory through the difficult war years and post-war period, and up to his death in 1956.
In 1956, Ludwig Hess’s daughter, Dr Hildegard Hess (1920–2014) took over the management of the chemical testing lab and successfully built on his work.
Hildegard Hess had already begun working in her father’s lab in 1944, and in 1954 received the ‘Appointment as publicly appointed trade chemist for the region of Berlin’, and therefore became the first female trade chemist in Berlin, and probably also in Germany.
Historic chemicals, as well as equipment with a historical background, were made available in the Jugendmuseum in the Schöneberg district of Berlin, as well as at the premises of Schering AG (since November 2010 Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals) for the purposes of equipping the Schering Museum
The Institut Kirchhoff Berlin was founded at Bundesallee 20 in Berlin’s Wilmersdorf district in 1983 by Dr Erhard Kirchhoff (born 1949).
In 1986, Dr Hess’s lab in Albestrasse 4 was taken over. This laboratory was developed into a water/environmental laboratory and continued to operate.
Since 1989, the institute has been jointly managed by Dr Kirchhoff and his wife Dr Jutta Kunert-Kirchhoff (born 1957).
In 2000, both laboratory premises at Albestrasse 3–4 were joined together as a result of the development of additional space at the premises.
At the start of 2015, the institute expanded to new premises at Oudenarder Strasse 16 in central Berlin. This process was completed in September 2015.