European Angst
Klaus-Dieter Lehmann

Klaus-Dieter Lehmann Photo: Goethe-Institut/Bettina Siegwart

has been President of the Goethe-Institut since 2008. Born in 1940 in Wroclaw, he began his career as a mathematician and physicist, also studied librarianship and from the end of the 1970s was Managing Director of the city and university library in Frankfurt-am-Main, General Director of the Deutsche Bibliothek (German library) and, from German reunification until 1998, Director General of the newly established Deutsche Nationalbibliothek in Leipzig and Frankfurt. Lehmann has been an honorary professor of business informatics at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt since 1986. He chaired the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian cultural heritage foundation) as its President from 1998 to 2008. Lehmann has been awarded the Great German Federal Order of Merit and many other prestigious German distinctions as well as orders from France, Italy, Japan and Austria. In addition to various other honorary positions, he is chair of the Frankfurt Rhein-Main culture fund, chair of the Board of Directors of the Germanisches Nationalmuseum (German National Museum) in Nuremberg, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Deutsche Akademie für Sprache und Dichtung (German Academy of Language and Literature) in Darmstadt, chair of the foundation advisory board and a foundation board member of the Kulturstiftung des Bundes (federal culture foundation) and deputy chair of the board of trustees of the Kulturstiftung der Länder (culture foundation of the federal states). 

“With the prevailing mood of “European angst”, Europeans are being poorly advised. European integration will only succeed through active participation, not by evading responsibility. Simply leaving is cowardly. We must counteract this as people of culture. We have a social responsibility to the European cultural area. Europe remains a priority for the Goethe-Institut – it represents its creative basis. As a central European country with nine neighbouring states, Germany has a particular responsibility.” Lehmann, 6 October 2016