Civil Society and Democratic Culture in Germany

Books about the First World War (“Imperium”, “August 1914”, “1913” and “The Sleepwalkers”) | Photo: ©

Sigmund’s Worries – Literature on the First World War

2014 marks the one hundredth anniversary of the First World War. Among the many new books in this anniversary year, newly re-issued standard works consort with publications of the last two years.More ...
Corruption in Germany declines; ©

Corruption in Germany – An Interview with Christian Humborg

An interview with Christian Humborg, the executive director of the German section of Transparency International, about corruption in Germany.More ...
The Helgoland “invaders” of 1950; © picture alliance / dpa

Civil Disobedience in Germany

Civil disobedience is part of the fundamental repertoire of protest in Germany. In 1950 there was already a spectacular action that gave the history of an island a new twist.More ...
Irmela Mensah-Schramm; © private

Fighting right-wing slogans with pen and scraper – Irmela Mensah-Schramm

Berlin is a colourful city, but not everything painted on house walls there testifies to peaceful cohabitation. Irmela Mensah-Schramm removes xenophobic posters and racist graffiti.More ...
Social Media (Gerd Altmann /

The digital grapevine – Facebook, Twitter & co. in the election campaign

Social media are becoming increasingly important in German politics. What role will Web 2.0 play in the run-up to Germany’s general elections 2013?More ...
Hans Joas; Foto: privat

Politics and Religion: often a confused mixture – an interview with Hans Joas

What does politics have to do with religion and values? About the religion debates in Germany and the relationship between politics and religion in the Arab world.More ...
The political scientist Prof. Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte (Photo: Karl-Rudolf Korte)

“Politicians are there to solve problems” – an interview with Professor Dr. Karl-Rudolf Korte

The political scientist and expert on the Berlin political establishment on the private life of German politicians and why it so seldom appears in the media.More ...
Mouhanad Khorchide; Photo: Peter Grewer, © Ernst-Klett-Verlag | Professor Manfred Brocker; Photo: private

Sharia in western democracies – two interviews

The political scientist Manfred Brocker and Mouhanad Khorchide, professor of Islamic religious education discuss Sharia and its interpretation in western democracies.More ...
The “Zwickau terrorist cell” of the „National Socialist Underground“; Screenshot from an ARD TV documentation

Right-Wing Extremist Violence in Germany

The murders of nine small business people with immigrant backgrounds have shown that right-wing extremist ideology in Germany is still a big social problem.More ...
Bernd Wagner; © privat

EXITing the Far Right. An Interview with Bernd Wagner

Neo-Nazis wishing to leave the right-wing extremist scene can get in touch with Bernd Wagner, who runs EXIT Germany. The programme has already been used by over 440 men and women.More ...
Samuel Salzborn; Photo: Marta Krajinovic

“The open flank for Anti-Semitism is there” – An Interview with Samuel Salzborn

Anti-Semitism is not a question of “left-wing” or “right-wing” views. About the link between anti-capitalism and anti-SemitismMore ...
© Frog 974 -

The Non-Profit Sector: As Big as the German Construction Industry

The organizations of civil society are more than merely social glue. They are an important economic factor.More ...
With a mobile health bus, Thomas Heitz drove through the streets of Delhi and cared for street children on the spot. Photo: Etter/MISEREOR

Off to Do Good Deeds – Young People and Volunteer Work

Some protect animals, train young players at the football club or are altar boys. Others even go abroad to help street children. Millions of young people are engaged in volunteer work. Why?More ...

Together against Right-Wing Extremism

The increasing networking of right-wing populist groups and neo-Nazis in Europe is alarming.More ...
Students in front of the Bus for Direct Democracy; © OMNIBUS gGmbH

Direct Democracy at the National Level?

The German Basic Law states that the people exercises its sovereignty “in elections and votes”. In fact, however, referendums have not hitherto been provided for at the national level.More ...
Wolfgang-Kraushaar; © HIS

“Fairly Old Hat” – An Interview with Wolfgang Kraushaar on a New Culture of Protest

Some 30 years after the last large-scale demonstrations against the nuclear power and the arms race, people are taking to the streets again.More ...
Peace Report (Cover Detail) © LIT Verlag

“A Historical Turning Point like the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” – Peace Studies on the Arab Spring

The general tenor of the 2011 Peace Report is a demand for more support for the Arab Spring.More ...
Logo; © Amnesty International

Happy Birthday! 50 Years of Amnesty International

Amnesty International was founded in London at the end of May 1961, two months later the German section was set up in Cologne – today it is the organisation’s largest section.More ...
Coverausschnitt des Buches „Das Gebot zu vergessen und die Unabweisbarkeit des Erinnerns“; © Siedler

“To free life together from hobbling burdens” – An Interview with Christian Meier

According to the classical historian Christian Meier, history teaches us that sometimes it may be imperative to postpone for a while the reappraisal of a bad past.More ...
Prof. Thorsten Quandt; © Hangst

More Democratic Thanks to the Internet? Assessments by Thorsten Quandt

Thanks to the Internet anyone can speak his mind and share his knowledge. The communications expert Thorsten Quandt explains what this means for democracy and society.More ...
Herfried Münkler; Foto: privat

WikiLeaks – Herfried Münkler on State Secrets and their Disclosure

Not only the latest disclosures on WikiLeaks have shown again that total secrecy in the Internet Age is hardly possible.More ...
Logo medica mondiale; © media mondiale e.v.

With Women into the Future. – An Interview with Monika Hauser

The founder of the women’s rights organisation medica mondiale, Monika Hauser, on her engagement for victims of sexual violence in war and crisis zones.More ...

Social Networks: Software Can Filter Out Racist Remarks on the Internet

The filtering software Openbook makes public what Facebook members are going on about.More ...

EU Project “HUWY”: Winning Young People for Politics through the Internet

The goal of the project HUWY is to harness the Net skills of teenagers for optimising Net policy.More ...
Till Sperrle, Logo of the exhibition Theaters of Peace; 2010; ©

Artists Creating Their Own “Theatres of Peace”

Working for peace is a rather protracted undertaking, hard to define and most of the time quite unspectacular. An exhibition in Berlin was devoted to it.More ...
The Charlemagne Youth Prize medal, awarded by the Foundation of the International Charlemagne Prize of Aachen in collaboration with the European Parliament; © Karlspreisstiftung, Europäisches CNC-Netzwerk

On the Right Track for Europe – The European Charlemagne Youth Prize

The European Charlemagne Youth Prize is awarded to young Europeans who, in the sense of the European idea, realise joint projects. First place in 2010 went to a group of inventive vocational school trainees for their “Train For EUROPE” project.More ...
© Klement

Risking More Democracy – The European Citizens’ Initiative

The European Citizens’ Initiative, as stipulated in the Treaty of Lisbon, is a little step towards more direct democracy.More ...
re:publica 2010-Logo; © newthinking communications /

Digital Worlds – Re:publica Champions Network Neutrality and Open Structures

Re:publica is now going into its fourth year. From 14th to 16th April it brought together about 2,500 bloggers and network activists in Berlin. The main point on the agenda - free access to the internet.More ...
Otfried Höffe; © Heike Schulz

Towards A More Vital Civil Society – An Interview With Otfried Höffe

The philosopher and political theorist, Otfried Höffe, on the viability of democracy in the future.More ...
Thomas Saretzki; © Leuphana Universität Lüneburg

“De-Democratization Is No Solution” – An Interview With Thomas Saretzki

The ecological crisis is plunging the constitutional democracy into a growing legitimacy crisis – but this should not be seen as grounds for authoritarian mind games.More ...
Manfred G. Schmidt; Photo: private

“Credit the people a little more responsibility.” – An Interview with Manfred G. Schmidt

An interview with the Heidelberg political theorist, Manfred G. Schmidt, on the opportunities and risks emanating from plebiscites and referenda.More ...
Lobby Planet Berlin; © LobbyControl

Lobby Control – An Initiative for Transparency and Democracy

A club in Cologne is monitoring lobbying activities in Berlin and Brussels. It advocates more transparency and democracy.More ...
Lord Ralf Dahrendorf; © Lorenz Vierecke

“We were all striving to discover reality” – In Memoriam Ralf Dahrendorf (1.5.1929–17.6.2009)

Lord Ralf Dahrendorf, the sociologist, was one of the most influential voices of liberalism. An obituary by Hans-Martin Schönherr-Mann.More ...
Götz W. Werner; © Götz W. Werner

“The Time Is Ripe for An Unconditional Basic Income” – An Interview With Entrepreneur Götz W. Werner

An interview with the successful entrepreneur and anthroposophist, Götz W. Werner, who is one of Germany’s leading advocates of the basic income.More ...
Frauenwahlrecht; © colourbox

90 Years Of Votes For Women

Since 1918 women in Germany have been entitled to both the right to vote and be voted for. For many of those years however their political emancipation progressed somewhat sluggishly and even today it is still not a matter of course.More ...
Art Therapy: Steinfrauengruppe; Copyright: Behandlungszentrum für Folteropfer, Bzfo

„Helping people feel their dignity again“ – the Berlin Center for the Treatment of Torture Victims (bzfo)

The centre helps people heal from the psychological and physical consequences of torture.More ...
Giovanni di Lorenzo; Copyright:

Giovanni di Lorenzo and his Network Against Nazis

In May 2008, Giovanni di Lorenzo, Editor-in-Chief of the renowned weekly newspaper Die Zeit, launched the website Network Against Nazis (Netz against Nazis), which is being supported by numerous celebrities.More ...
Cover of the book `Gestatten: Elite. Auf den Spuren der Mächtigen von Morgen´ by Julia Friedrichs; Copyright: Hoffmann und Campe Verlag

An Insight into German "Factories of the Elite"

In researching her book "Gestatten: Elite" (i.e. Allow us to introduce ourselves: We are the elite), Julia Friedrichs took a look around the country's most highly regarded "factories of the elite" – nursery schools, boarding schools and universities. We talked to her about her impressions.More ...
Cinema ad `A test of courage: Julia wants to be brave. Julia is practising being brave. Julia can be brave. You can too. Courage makes you feel good´. Copyright: Gesicht Zeigen! Aktion weltoffenes Deutschland e.V.

Portrait: "Show Your Face! Campaigning for a Liberal-Minded Germany"

For years, the association Show Your Face! Campaigning for a Liberal-Minded Germany has been taking a stand whenever there have been instances of xenophobia, racism, anti-Semitism or right-wing violence. Show Your Face! was awarded the Buber Rosenzweig medal in 2006.More ...
The association´s logo; Copyright: Gegen Vergessen - Für Demokratie e.V.

Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie: An Association "Against Forgetting – For Democracy"

The nationwide non-profit association Gegen Vergessen – Für Demokratie e.V. was started up in 1993 by people who had suffered injustice and persecution at the hands of the Nazi regime or the East German Communist dictatorship.More ...
Project `Children Build Ladders to Heaven for Children´s Rights´; Copyright: Makista e.V.

Makista – "Priming Kids for Democracy"

For roughly eight years now the Makista initiative has been banging the drum for children's rights and instilling democratic values in the nation's young.More ...
An emblem of the movement; Copyright: picture-alliance/ dpa

“Xenophobia’s more widespread in Eastern Germany than in the west.”

In 2006 Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, registered 17,597 criminal offences motivated by right-wing extremism, 1,047 of them involving physical violence. Xenophobia, especially in the eastern states, is increasingly rearing its ugly head and spouting Nazi slogans from the grisliest period in German history. We talked about this alarming trend with political science professor Hans-Gerd Jaschke.More ...
Count Rupert Strachwitz; Copyright: Count Rupert Strachwitz

Maecenata Institute - Europe's Culture is Based on Informal Networks

The Maecenata Institute is committed to an ideal that originated with Maecenas, a member of the Roman aristocracy and patron of contemporary poets – with the aim to strengthen civil society.More ...
Norbert Sievers; Cop: Kulturpolitische Gesellschaft

The Association for Cultural Policy: Identifying what can be done and doing it together

They put issues of cultural policy on the agenda. They see themselves more as a “think tank” than as a lobby. As is the way with artists and intellectuals, they regard themselves as an independent association of many individuals. And the topic of Europe has been on their agenda from the beginning. Introducing the „Association for Cultural Policy.“More ...

Culture (and Cultural Policy) in Europe - Max Fuchs' comments on a cultural policy which has become more complicated, both on a national and international level.

It is Jean Monnet to whom the phrase is ascribed that he would start from culture and not from the economy if he could seize a fresh opportunity for the political integration of Europe. This thought is repeatedly and readily quoted in the field of cultural policy since it gives expression to the great relevance of culture, thus in complete contrast to the European Union's shockingly low culture budget.More ...

The German Constitution on Film – “Incitement to Democracy”

„Incitement to Democracy” – that is the way Berlin producer, Harald Siebler, views his ambitious GG 19 project. A series of short films dealing with the first 19 Articles of the German Constitution was to be made in 19 German cities. The film will hit German cinemas at the end of May.More ...
Further articles

Anniversary issue of Fikrun wa Fann “100 Years First World War”

Fikrun wa Fann is also available as an e-paper.


Four events on work cultures: Work without a homeland? What is humanised labour? Men’s work, women’s work? Does work make us happy?

Mapping Democracy

On the prospects and viability of democracy in the future.

Weblog: Shaping the Humanities

A platform on current discourses within the scope of the Arab Spring and transformation processes in North Africa in the Humanities.

We and Europe

The debate with and concerning EU-Europe is becoming more emotional. With the project “We and Europe”, we are inviting authors to an exchange of ideas on the significance of Europe.

Anna Lindh Foundation

The Goethe-Institut as a national coordinator: background, work principles and aims of the foundation

Humboldt: Protest 2.0 “Time for Revollusion”

An arts journal intended to nurture cultural exchange between Germany and Latin America, Spain and Portugal, also available as e-paper.

Cultural Innovators Network

Visions of tomorrow’s society – Mediterranean youth engage actively and connect.

Dossier: Gender

Gender and Society: The dossier challenges traditional role attributions.

Illusion of Nearness?

Future Prospects for the European Neighbourhood: Dossier and Conference of the Goethe-Institut


News from Germany’s culture and society