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Burda was the second son of publisher Franz Burda and his wife Aenne Burda. A major art collector, in 2004 he opened Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, in a €20 million building designed by architect Richard Meier.
Together with his older brother Franz and his younger brother Hubert, Burda grew up in Offenburg. After finishing school in Offenburg, Triberg and Switzerland, he completed a print and a publishing qualification. Burda was trained in his father's business group. Later he lived in France, were became a magazine publisher. He spent several years in England and the United States before becoming a printer in Darmstadt. He developed his company into one of the leading commercial print foundries in Europe.