Technischer Überwachungsverein

Brumadinho dam disaster Product certification Industrial Revolution
Infinite Construction - STEAM
Horizontal Return Tubular boiler with tag showing TÜV certification

TÜVs (German pronunciation: [ˈtʏf]; short for German: Technischer Überwachungsverein, English: Technical Inspection Association) are German and Austrian businesses that provide vehicular inspection and product certification services.[1] There are four of them: TÜV Nord in Hanover, TÜV SÜD in Munich, TÜV Rheinland in Cologne and TÜV Austria in Vienna.


The TÜVs originated in Germany in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution, following the explosion of a steam boiler at a brewery in Mannheim in 1865. This led a group of engineers to found the first 'Dampfkessel Überwachungsverein' (DÜV, Steam Boiler Inspection Association) and soon similar associations were created in other German cities and these came together in an association in 1873.

Similar prerequisites in Austria led to establishing 'Dampfkessel-untersuchungs- und Versicherungsgesellschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit' (Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company) in 1872 in Vienna. Now this independent organisation is called TÜV Austria.

In 1877 they issued the first standards for construction and maintenance of boilers, which became known as the "Würzburg standards". DÜVs took on inspection services for other technologies as they came into use, for example electrical safety testing and elevator inspection.

In 1906 the Grand Duchy of Baden issued regulations for vehicle inspection as well as drivers, and the local DÜV was given that responsibility. By 1938 there were 37 DÜVs, and they were reorganized and renamed into 17 TÜVs. In 1951 national regulation obligated people to have their cars inspected by TÜV every two years.[2]


The individual TÜVs became multinational corporations with time, and came to provide services to industry, governments, individuals, and non-profit groups.[3] During the 1980s and 1990s, deregulation led to competition in the German inspection and certification industry,[4] and further deregulation occurred at the end of 2007.[5]

Aborted mergers

In 2007, TÜV Nord and TÜV SÜD agreed to merge, which would have created a company with 18,000 employees and sales of around 1.8 billion euros; however the companies called off the merger that same year, citing potential difficulties with integration as well as restrictions that would have been required under antitrust law.[6] In 2008 TÜV SÜD and TÜV Rheinland agreed to merge which would have created the second largest testing services company in the world, behind SGS S.A.; the combined company would have had around 25,000 employees and 2.2 billion euros in income.[7] These plans were abandoned by August again due to antitrust concerns.[8] TÜV Nord had more than 11,000 employees stationed globally as of 2020.[3]

Medical device regulation

TÜVs function as notified bodies in Europe for medical device regulation.[9] In 2013, TÜV Rheinland was held liable by a French court to 1600 women whose breast implants had ruptured; the implants were made by Poly Implants Prothèses and TÜV Rheinland had certified the manufacturing process.[10][11] TÜV Rheinland had about 1.88 billion euros in revenue in 2015, with more than half generated outside Germany.[12]

Brazilian dam disaster

TÜV SÜD was auditing and certifying Vale, a company that was involved in the 2015 Mariana dam disaster.[13] In 2019 the Brumadinho dam disaster occurred. In October 2019, five Brazilians who lost close family members there and two NGOs filed a law infringement complaint against TÜV SÜD, alleging that TÜV SÜD is jointly responsible for the deaths and environmental damage.[14] The company denies the allegations.[15]

On January 25, 2019, a recently inspected tailing dam collapsed, killing 270 people, of whom 259 were officially confirmed dead and 11 others reported as missing, whose bodies had not been found.[16] The Brumadinho dam disaster released a mudflow that advanced over houses in a rural area near the city. Brazilian authorities issued arrest warrants for two engineers of TÜV SÜD, contracted to inspect the dam.[17][18][19] Brazilian prosecutors announced, on January 21, 2020, that Vale SA, TÜV SÜD, and 16 individuals would be charged in relation to the dam disaster.[20]

In 2020 Brazilian prosecutors announced their plans to file charges against Vale SA and its auditor TÜV SÜD and many individuals.[21][22]

See also


  1. ^ Dong, Jielin (2007). Network Dictionary. Javvin Technologies Inc. ISBN 9781602670006.
  2. ^ Mayer, Hans W. (15 April 2016). "Wie die Industrie sicherer wurde". VDI Nachrichten.
  3. ^ a b Hakim, Danny; Bowley, Graham (14 October 2015). "VW Scandal Exposes Cozy Ties in Europe's New Car Tests". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Bennet, Gregory S. (2009). Food Identity Preservation and Traceability: Safer Grains. CRC Press. p. 270. ISBN 9781439804872.
  5. ^ "Zusammenschluss: TÜV SÜD und TÜV Rheinland stehen vor Fusion - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Wirtschaft". Spiegel. February 12, 2008.
  6. ^ "Fusion von TÜV SÜD und TÜV Nord geplatzt". 27 August 2007.
  7. ^ Dierig, Carsten (17 February 2008). "TÜV Rheinland und TÜV SÜD wollen gemeinsam den internationalen Markt erobern: Auch nach dem geplanten Zusammenschluss der beiden Prüfinstitute soll der Standort Köln erhalten bleiben - WELT". Die Welt.
  8. ^ "TÜV-Fusion: Elefantenhochzeit abgesagt". Frankfurter Rundschau (in German). 26 August 2008.
  9. ^ Labek, G; Schöffl, H; Meglic, M (February 2015). "New medical device regulations ahead - what does that mean for arthroplasty registers?". Acta Orthopaedica. 86 (1): 5–6. doi:10.3109/17453674.2014.1002185. PMC 4366659. PMID 25583172.
  10. ^ Baume, Maïa De La (14 November 2013). "Court Orders German Firm to Pay Victims of Defective Breast Implants". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Leeuwen, Barend van (2017). European Standardisation of Services and its Impact on Private Law: Paradoxes of Convergence. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 134ff. ISBN 9781509908356.
  12. ^ Bolsmann, Tobias (13 June 2017). "TÜV Rheinland kooperiert mit RAG-Prüflabor in Herne". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German).
  13. ^ "Brazylia: szefowie koncernu Vale oskarżeni o zabójstwo ponad 200 osób". Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  14. ^ "TÜV SÜD lawsuit (re role in Brumadinho dam collapse) | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre". Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  15. ^ "Complaint filed against TÜV SÜD in Germany over role in Brumadinho dam collapse | Business & Human Rights Resource Centre". Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  16. ^ Exclusive: Brazil prosecutor aims to charge Vale within days over mining waste dam disaster
  17. ^ "Brazil dam disaster death toll mounts as arrests warrants issued". 29 January 2019.
  18. ^ Jan 29, Thomson Reuters · Posted; January 29, 2019 10:25 AM ET | Last Updated. "3 Brazil mining company employees, 2 contractors arrested in dam disaster | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-01-30.
  19. ^ Silva De Sousa, Marcelo; Jeantet, Diane (31 January 2019). "Brazilian environmental group tests water after dam collapse". Retrieved 1 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Brazil to File Charges on Tuesday Against Miner Vale for Dam Disaster", by Luciano Costa, Reuters via The New York Times, January 21, 2020. Retrieved January 21, 2020.
  21. ^ "Brazil to file charges on Tuesday against miner Vale for dam disaster". Reuters. 2020-01-21. Retrieved 2020-02-05.
  22. ^ "Brazil to file charges on Tuesday against miner Vale for dam disaster". Retrieved 2020-02-05.