Johann Berenberg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Johann Berenberg
Johann Berenberg (cropped).jpg
Born(1718-03-18)March 18, 1718
DiedMarch 2, 1772(1772-03-02) (aged 53)
Known forMerchant banker; owner of Berenberg Bank
Spouse(s)Anna Maria Lastrop

Johann Berenberg (born 12 March 1718 in Hamburg, died 2 March 1772 in Hamburg) was a Hamburg merchant banker. He was a co-owner of Berenberg Bank from 1748, with his brother, senator Paul Berenberg, and after the latter's death in 1768 the sole owner; the bank still bears his name (Joh. Berenberg, Gossler & Co.). He was also noted as an art collector and held several public offices in the city-state of Hamburg.

He was a son of the Hamburg merchant banker and senator Rudolf Berenberg (1680–1746) and Anna Elisabeth Amsinck (1690–1748), and a grandson of Cornelius Berenberg and of the Lisbon and Hamburg merchant Paul Amsinck, he was also a great-grandson of the scholar Rudolf Capell, and was descended from the Welser family. Both his parents' families were from today's Belgium and the Netherlands, and his family retained its Dutch identity throughout his lifetime. An extensive list of his ancestors is included in the Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch;[1] the Berenberg company had been founded by his 2nd great-grandfather Hans Berenberg and the latter's brother Paul in 1590; both were married to daughters of the prominent Antwerp merchant Andries Snellinck and Françoise de Rénialme.

At the age of 17 he was sent to Venice, where he learnt his trade as an apprentice in a Venice firm between 1735 and 1741; his father had started his career as an apprentice in the same firm. In 1748 he became owner of the Berenberg company together with his brother Paul, he also held numerous honorary offices in Hamburg.

He was married to Anna Maria Lastrop (1723–1761), who belonged to a wealthy merchant family from Hamburg and Bremen,[2] and they had two children, his only son Rudolf Berenberg was possibly mentally ill and died in the Dutch colony of Suriname in 1768, aged 20; he had apparently been sent to manage his family's business interests there. In the same year senator Paul Berenberg died without heirs. Hence Johann Berenberg's daughter Elisabeth Berenberg remained as the only heir and last surviving member of the Berenberg family. In 1768, she married an employee of the Berenberg company, Johann Hinrich Gossler, and in 1769, Johann Berenberg made his son-in-law a partner. After Johann Berenberg's death three years later, Johann Hinrich Gossler succeeded him as the company's head and sole owner.[3]


  1. ^ Hamburgisches Geschlechterbuch. 9. Limburg a.d. Lahn: C.A. Starke. 1961. pp. 366–416.
  2. ^ Schramm, Percy Ernst (1957). "Die Vorfahren der Anna Maria Berenberg geb. Lastrop (1723–1761). Eine hamburgisch-bremisch-westfälisch-pommersche Ahnenliste". Zeitschrift für Niedersächsische Familienkunde. 32: 161–174.
  3. ^ "Berenberg, Johann," in Deutsche Biographische Enzyklopädie, Vol. 1, Walter de Gruyter publishing house, 2005, p. 543, ISBN 3110946572


  • Percy Ernst Schramm, Neun Generationen: Dreihundert Jahre deutscher Kulturgeschichte im Lichte der Schicksale einer Hamburger Bürgerfamilie (1648–1948). Vol. I and II, Göttingen 1963/64.
  • Percy Ernst Schramm, "Johann Berenberg," Neue Deutsche Biographie, 2, 1955, p. 68
  • "Johann Berenberg," Hamburgische Biografie, vol. 1, p. 43
Preceded by
Rudolf Berenberg
(his father)
Head of Berenberg Bank
Succeeded by
Johann Hinrich Gossler
(his son-in-law)