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April 17, 2024
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Frankfurt is Celebrating 175 Years of Democracy with the Paulskirchenfest

Frankfurt will be celebrating democracy

The big Democracy festival will take place from May 18th to 21st 

From May 18th to 21st, Frankfurt will be celebrating democracy. 175 years ago, the first freely elected parliament in Germany met in the form of a national assembly in the Paulskirche. With one goal: to draft a liberal constitution for all of Germany. Even if this never came into force, the Paulskirche constitution of 1848/1849 laid the foundation for German democracy. Because it already contained important basic rights that have significantly shaped today’s Basic Law. “Frankfurt’s Paulskirche is one of the most important symbols of our democracy today,” emphasizes Mayor Nargess Eskandari Grünberg. “Especially in today’s world, which is characterized by global upheavals, it is becoming clear that the memory of the origins of democracy is astonishingly topical.”

Nargess Eskandari Grünberg, Mayor, Frankfurt
Nargess Eskandari Grünberg, Mayor, Frankfurt

Visitors can look forward to numerous musical stage highlights, evening productions, theater performances, special exhibitions, hands-on and information offers, lectures and discussions. The events surrounding the first German National Assembly are taken up in a wide variety of formats and can be experienced in numerous projects. In and around the Paulskirche, guests can go on a journey through time, for example at a show debate by the Fliegen Volksbühne Frankfurt, with virtual reality glasses from TimeRide or in the telephone booths of the Cockpit Collective during a live video call with well-known personalities from the past. As part of the festival, the documentary film “The Frankfurt Paulskirche – a singular place” will be premiered in the cinema of the German Film Museum.

“Four days of anniversary celebrations are also a reason for the Frankfurt museum landscape and numerous other actors from cultural life and the independent scene in our city to celebrate. They enrich the anniversary program with their respective perspectives on the past and present of the Paulskirche and German democracy, and 19 museums offer free admission,” confirms Dr. Ina Hartwig. If you want to go on a search for traces of the history of democracy with certified city guides, you can take part in one of the anniversary tours. These can already be booked at www.frankfurt-tourismus.de.

The anniversary celebrations are organized by Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main (TCF). TCF Managing Director Thomas Feda is looking forward to the celebrations: “The 175th anniversary of the first National Assembly in the Paulskirche is a great opportunity to offer national and international guests a special festival of democracy with an outstanding program.”

The stage program creates an exuberant festive atmosphere: well-known artists such as the hr big band with star guest Alice Merton, Max Herre, Joy Denalane and Patrice, Leslie Clio or Loi, as well as newcomers and choirs, perform on Römerberg and Mainkai. The little ones are also catered for with lots of hands-on activities and music to sing along and dance to.

The evening productions offer special highlights of the festival: At the “Ode to Democracy”, viewers experience an impressive examination of all facets of democracy with sculptural light projections on the Main. And the walking act DUNDU – Stuttgart’s giants of democracy takes the guests on a journey into history with a large luminous puppet. 

The numerous facets of democracy are also discussed in the context of symposia, lectures, discussions and workshops, for example in the Haus am Dom, the Evangelical Academy or the Frankfurt adult education center in the Stadthaus. The “Europe Festival 2023 – Europe is yours!” (May 19), organized by the EU Affairs Coordination Office, looks beyond the German borders. “Peace and democracy in Europe are inextricably linked to the founding of the European Union, which is why we want to make Europe-related activities visible in Frankfurt and also celebrate them,” says Eileen O’Sullivan, responsible for digitization, citizen service, participation and EU Affairs. At the stands of the Europe Festival, the “European Marketplace”, the ECB, EIOPA, EUNIC, EuropeDirect Darmstadt, Pulse of Europe, the EuropaUnion Frankfurt and the city twinning of Frankfurt. At other stands along the information mile on the Mainkai, for example at the marketplace of the civil society organizations ‘mitreden’ (May 20 and 21), guests can talk to various clubs, associations, institutions and the civil participation department. In addition to celebrating community and diversity, social participation and lively exchange are not neglected.

Frankfurt’s town hall will also open its doors to mark the anniversary of democracy: At the “Römer Open” on Saturday, May 20, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., visitors can “experience democracy”. City offices, companies, societies, and city politics present themselves on four floors. On all four days of the event, other program items such as exhibitions and theater performances will also take place in the town hall.

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