Europe

What is ‚Denk ich an Deutschland‘

The German poet Heinrich Heine wrote his famous poem “Nachtgedanken”, which starts with the line “Denk ich an Deutschland in der Nacht – bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht”(When I think of Germany in the night, I am deprived of my sleep), when he was living in exile in Paris in 1844. Since 2009, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung have jointly hosted a conference inviting participants to contemplate the issues facing Germany and Europe. Astonishingly, Heine’s thoughts still resonate today: nationalism and populism are creating fissures within the European Union. The issues of identity and background continue to play a crucial role as they did over 170 years ago. During the 19th century the industrial revolution changed people’s lives just as dramatically as digitalisation is doing today.

“Denk ich an Deutschland” addresses Germany’s role in the European Union and the key issues of our times. The events, attended by approximately 300 guests, take place in Berlin and feature such high-profile speakers as Angela Merkel, Ursula von der Leyen, Joachim Gauck, Peter Slotterijk, Jeroen Dijsselbloem and Daniel Kehlmann.

Why ‚Denk ich an Deutschland‘?

With the “Denk ich an Deutschland” Conference, Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung provide a forum for representatives of various industries to discuss the most pressing issues of our times. The agenda features topics of relevance for the future examined from different viewpoints.

How is ‚Denk ich an Deutschland‘ organized?

The one-day event is the culmination of all of the work we carry out over the course of the year, implemented in a variety of different ways. In addition to key-note speeches, the conference provides a venue for panel discussions, short films and readings. It is a particular characteristic of the event that unconventional views going beyond the mainstream expert discourse are provided with a forum. Our high-profile audience not only contributes to the discussions held during the event, but also ensure that the ideas developed during the Conference are passed on.

Denk ich an Deutschland 2019

On March 15th, 2019, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung were jointly organizing the tenth Denk ich an Deutschland conference “Who Do We Think We Are? German Self-Perception in a Tumultuous Europe”.


On this occasion, the two organisers were tackling the question of how the self-perception of the Federal Republic has changed due to historical developments and contemporary challenges. Among other things, it was discussed how Germany’s understanding of its international role is undergoing a process of transformation.


post-conference report
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