The "Forum Bellevue
on the Future of Democracy"

In September 2017, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier – in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Foundation – launched a new series of events: "Forum Bellevue on the Future of Democracy". These gatherings are held on a regular basis and include discussions between the Federal President and a panel of German and international participants from the spheres of science, politics, culture, business and civil society. The first forum examined the question of "What future does the West have?"

The "Forum Bellevue" series is designed to address controversial issues and present new perspectives. It is meant to be a platform for candid discussions on how liberal democracy can succeed – and how it is being challenged. The Federal President and his guests will examine various issues, including the effects of the digital transformation, what impact demographic change is having on society’s ability to innovate, the crisis of representative democracy, the role of religion in social and cultural conflicts, and the question of how much inequality democracy can cope with.

March 11th 2022: Symposium "On the future of democracy - How do we strengthen the Republic?"

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued an invitation to a symposium as part of the Forum Bellevue on the Future of Democracy series, to be held in Schloss Bellevue on 11 March. The series has been running since autumn 2017 in cooperation with the Bertelsmann Stiftung.

The symposium was devoted to the topic "On the future of democracy - How do we strengthen the Republic?" The Federal President was joined by many of the panellists from the previous 12 events of the Forum Bellevue on the Future of Democracy to take stock of the past debates and look to the future.

President Steinmeier engaged in discussion with his guest of honour Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of the Republic of Austria, and with guests who had been on the panel of previous Forum Bellevue events – such as the authors Ian McEwan, Daniel Kehlmann and Thea Dorn, as well as Susan Neiman (Director of the Einstein Forum, Potsdam), Alena Buyx (Chair of the German Ethics Council), Christoph Möllers(Professor of Public Law and Jurisprudence at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Armin Nassehi(Professor of Sociology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München), Maja Göpel (political economist and expert for sustainability policy and transformation research) and Mouhanad Khorchide(Head of the Centre for Islamic Theology at Münster University).

The main focus of their talks were the democracy of the future. The book “On the Future of Democracy – 36 Perspectives” edited by the Federal President provided important impetus for the discussion. It had been published shortly before the Symposium and contains contributions by previous panellists on the topics covered in the Forum Bellevue.

Together with his guests, the Federal President considered how a republican stance can be fostered in society and how people can be encouraged to embrace the cause of promoting a vibrant democracy. At the heart of the discussion was the question of what can and must be done to strengthen liberal democracies on both the inside and the outside. Following Russia's military attack on Ukraine, the strength of liberal democracies is particularly relevant and significant.