ICEland: Information system for ministerial science departments in the federal states

Start of the project: 2000-Jan-01

ICEland is a web-based information system that provides access to comprehensive databases from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)'s official higher education statistics. It covers the following topic areas in particular: school leavers with a higher education entrance qualification, first-year and other students, examinations and graduates, as well as staff and higher education funding. It also includes statistical data on the population and survey results from DZHW studies, such as the Student Survey in Germany (former Social Survey) and the Student Life Cycle Panel (SLC) (former Student Eligibility Panel). Some of the data extend back as far as the early 1970s, allowing correspondingly long time series to be compiled and evaluated.

ICEland was originally developed in 2000 for the ministerial science departments of the federal states in Germany to provide fundamental statistical key figures to enable them to make appropriate decisions in higher education planning and policy. In late 2004 the ICEland user group decided to open the system to interested persons or bodies from other public institutions and higher education institutions (HEIs). Following comprehensive expansions of the the data supplied by Destatis in 2005/2006, the data structure now also allows evaluations organised by topic up to the level of the HEIs and study subjects, making it possible to compare HEIs. This makes ICEland more attractive for all institutions in the higher education sector, in particular for HEIs themselves. Scientific research also benefits from the comprehensive, highly-structured content provided by ICEland, as official statistical data can be applied for example for sampling or to provide comparative values for finding contextual data. Therefore, the circle of users now includes a large number of institutions in the higher education and scientific landscape, in addition to 15 federal states in Germany, various statistical offices and auditing authorities of the federal states.

The Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK) represents the interests of the federal states as the project's client. In 2008, HIS GmbH was appointed by the MWK of Lower Saxony to coordinate ICEland as well as its financial management towards the other ministries and institutions participating. These tasks are being continued by the DZHW.

With the amendment of the Higher Education Statistics Act (HStatG), the Federal Statistical Office was given the task of developing its own evaluation database. Until that database is available, ICEland will be continued by the DZHW as a service at the request of the federal states. In accordance with the decision of the 250th Conference of Heads of Offices, the continuation is planned until September 30, 2028 (data basis: reporting year 2026).

The range of ICEland users is a particular challenge because their knowledge of statistics and their experience in working with such content and technologies vary considerably. Therefore, evaluation processes with the help of an implemented tool for flexible table generation are as simple und intuitive as possible, so that users can actually focus on formulating and elaborating their content-related questions. The system's intelligence also supports this, allowing, for example, a comparison to be made between student and staff statistics, or even works autonomously to make links between an HEI and the federal state where it is located.

Besides central system monitoring, data processing and data management, the ICEland team also advises users on the higher education statistics data included in the system and supports them in handling the tools used for their own evaluations, table management, automatic updates, etc.

Other ICE-projects:

ICE of Lower Saxony


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ICEland – Kurzpräsentation des Informationssystems.

Grützmacher, J., & Debes, F. (2024, Januar).
ICEland – Kurzpräsentation des Informationssystems. Vortrag im Rahmen des Besuchs des Staatsekretärs für Wissenschaft und Kultur des Landes Schleswig-Holstein und seiner Delegation des DZHW am 17.01.2024, Hannover.

Contact person

Judith Grützmacher
Judith Grützmacher +49 511 450670-498


Franziska Debes Christine Heisterberg

Project website