About us – What does the foundation do?

The Federal Chancellor Helmut Schmidt Foundation commemorates one of the most important 20th century German statesmen. It was not just in his role as Senator (minister) for Home Affairs in Hamburg or as the fifth Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany that Helmut Schmidt set benchmarks. With an impact that went far beyond his political work, he was unequalled in his influence on political discourse as a commentator on current affairs and as a progressive thinker. 

Accordingly one aim of the foundation is to honour Helmut Schmidt’s historic achievements. It also addresses issues with which Helmut Schmidt grappled throughout his life and which have lost none of their relevance.

The foundation has set itself the goal of countering the threat of division in society. At the heart of its work are three questions:

  • What (still) holds Europe together?
  • What reconciles peoples and markets?
  • How can we confront populism, whether on the right or on the left?

In essence, the foundation’s work is

  • to present to the wider public a permanent exhibition in the Helmut Schmidt House in Hamburg where his life and work is set in its historical context
  • together with experts, to analyse selected fundamental issues of our time, develop standpoints and introduce them into public discourse – including through social media
  • to promote education for democratic citizenship and regularly stimulate debate of new subjects through events in Hamburg and Berlin, but also in other cities
  • to introduce young people to Helmut Schmidt’s thoughts and ideas
  • to preserve Helmut and Loki Schmidt’s home in Hamburg’s Langenhorn district as an authentic historical location and to provide access to the extensive archives
  • to promote academic research and publication and to cooperate with national and international institutions to this end.

The foundation was established in 2017 by the German Bundestag as one of six non-partisan foundations commemorating politicians. It is supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.

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