About us – What does the foundation do?

The Bundeskanzler-Helmut-Schmidt-Stiftung commemorates one of the most important 20th century German statesmen. As a future-oriented think tank, it addresses issues that also animated Schmidt, the pioneering thinker. Three overarching subject areas are at the heart of the foundation’s work programme: 1) European and international affairs, 2) Global markets and social justice and 3) Democracy and society.

Closely meshed with these programmes, the permanent exhibition “Schmidt! Living democracy” in Hamburg’s city centre reflects almost half a century of German and international contemporary history. It sets the achievements of its namesake in current and historical contexts. In the Helmut Schmidt-Archiv in Hamburg’s Langenhorn neighbourhood, the foundation makes the private documents of Schmidt and his wife Loki available to researchers and grants the public access to the Schmidts’ former private home.
 

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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