Which of Helmut Schmidt’s ideas continue to be particularly relevant?

Central to the exhibition is Helmut Schmidt’s lifelong topic: democracy. Freedom of speech and, if needs be, controversial debate and a competition of ideas in the service of the common good were central concerns for him. We want to keep these ideas alive together with our visitors and so we invite them to join the discussion at various points in the exhibition.

Facets of a century-long life: 1918–2015

An expansive installation of eight of Helmut Schmidt’s original briefcases dominates the 270 square-metre Helmut-Schmidt-Forum. He was simply a “workhorse”, so the politician said of himself. The exhibition is divided into four sections with eleven thematic tables: In the centre are the years as Chancellor, introduced by two sections about Helmut Schmidt the man and his political career in the 1950s and 60s. The show culminates with a look at his productive years in “retirement”.

Private memorabilia and historical exhibits

The exhibition also contains numerous exciting objects: personal possessions from Loki and Helmut Schmidt’s private house in the Langenhorn area of Hamburg, such as a hand-carved chess set from his period as a prisoner of war, or one of Schmidt’s typical “Elblotsenmütze” caps; political exhibits such as an investigative file by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office into “Helmut S.” in the context of the “Spiegel Affair”, a replica of a US Army “atomic rucksack”, or the Chancellor’s official diary during the period of RAF terrorism in the “German Autumn”  of 1977. 

A place for political education and debate about society

Many interactive elements in the exhibition stimulate participation and an exchange of views. But the dialogue between the generations is always central: Who experienced Helmut Schmidt as an active politician and who only knows him as an elder statesman? How different are the perspectives of the generations when it comes to Schmidt and his standpoints on the introduction of the euro or on human rights in the People’s Republic of China? There are also opportunities in the exhibition to vote on topical issues about the future of democracy.

Experience Helmut Schmidt from your own sofa

With our 360° tour you can visit the exhibition “Schmidt! Living democracy” even outside opening hours. Get to know our premises, discover historic exhibits and sources, watch selected video clips and listen to exciting audio recordings.