It all started with Ruth Handler spotting the German Bild Lilli Doll in a little shop in beautiful Lucerne Switzerland back in the 1950's. Her history is fascinating, so be sure to read all about her. The link is to the right below her picture.
Barbie dolls did not show up in Europe until 1963. The first French European company to import Barbie Dolls was Les Jouets Rationnels. The second importer was Brio. By the end of 1963 Brio had put Barbie in several Scandinavian countries including where she was a huge success, Sweden. The first two dolls found in Germany were the brunette Swirl Barbie and the Bubblecut Barbie. These early European dolls had the exact same boxes as the dolls from the United States, but there were differences in the dolls themselves from the the U.S. Barbies. Many of the dolls below, have links under their photographs, which will take you to the page where these dolls are featured with additional information.