From Thursday, May 18, to Sunday, May 21, Frankfurt celebrates democracy. 175 years ago, Germany's first freely elected parliament convened in the form of a national assembly in the Paulskirche. With one goal: to draft a free constitution for all of Germany. Even though it never came into force, the Paulskirche Constitution of 1848/1849 laid the foundation for German democracy. This is 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," stresses Mayor Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg. "Particularly in today's age of global upheaval, it is clear that the memory of the origins of democracy are of astonishing topicality."
Visitors can look forward to numerous musical stage highlights, evening productions, theater performances, special exhibitions, hands-on and informational activities, lectures and discussions. The events surrounding the first German National Assembly will be addressed in a wide variety of formats and experienced in numerous projects. In and around St. Paul's Church, guests can go on a journey through time, for example during a show debate by the Flying People's Stage Frankfurt, with virtual reality glasses by TimeRide or in the telephone booths of the Cockpit Collective during a live video call with renowned personalities from the past. As part of the festival, the documentary film "Frankfurt's Paulskirche - a singular place" will also premiere at the Deutsches Filmmuseum cinema. This highlights the unique significance of St. Paul's Church as the "cradle of democracy."
"Four days of anniversary celebrations are also a reason to celebrate for Frankfurt's museum landscape as well as numerous other players from our city's cultural life and independent scene. They are enriching the anniversary program with their respective perspectives on the past and present of St. Paul's Church and German democracy, and 19 museums are offering free admission," emphasizes Ina Hartwig, Head of the Department of Culture and Science. Those who want to go on a search for traces of the history of democracy with certified guides from the city can take part in one of the anniversary tours. These are already bookable at frankfurt-tourismus.de.
The anniversary celebrations are being hosted by Tourismus+Congress GmbH Frankfurt am Main (TCF). Thus, TCF Managing Director Thomas Feda is also looking forward to the festivities with anticipation, saying, "The 175th anniversary of the first National Assembly in St. Paul's Church is a great occasion to offer national and international guests a special democracy festival with an outstanding program."
The stage program will ensure an exuberant festive mood: well-known artists such as the hr-Bigband with star guest Alice Merton, Max Herre, Joy Denalane and Patrice, Leslie Clio and Loi, as well as newcomers and choirs will perform at Römerberg and Mainkai. The little ones are also catered for with lots of hands-on activities and music to sing and dance along to.
The evening productions offer special highlights of the festival: During the "Ode to Democracy," spectators will experience an impressive examination of all facets of democracy with sculptural-looking light projections on the Main River. And the walking act "DUNDU - Stuttgart's Giants of Democracy" takes guests on a journey into history with a luminous large puppet.
The numerous facets of democracy will also be the subject of symposia, lectures, discussions and workshops, for example at the Haus am Dom, the Protestant Academy or the Volkshochschule in the Stadthaus. The "Europa-Fest 2023 - Europe is yours!" on Friday,May 19, organized by the Coordination Office for EU Affairs, looks beyond Germany's borders. "Peace and democracy in Europe are inextricably linked to the founding of the European Union, so we want to make Europe-related activities in Frankfurt visible and also celebrate them," says Eileen O'Sullivan, the department head responsible for Digitization, Citizen:in Service, Participation and EU Affairs. The ECB, EIOPA, EUNIC, EuropeDirect Darmstadt, Pulse of Europe, the EuropaUnion Frankfurt and the twin cities of the Main metropolis will be among those presenting themselves at the stands of the Europe Festival, the "European Marketplace. At further stands of the info mile at the Mainkai, for example at the market place "mitreden" of the civil society organizations on weekend 20, and 21 May, guests can come with different associations, federations, institutions and the staff office citizen:inside participation into the discussion. In addition to celebrating community and diversity, social participation and active exchange will not be neglected.
City Hall will also open its doors to mark the anniversary of democracy: visitors can "experience democracy" at the "Römer Open" from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 20. Municipal offices, businesses, companies and city politics will be presenting 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 city hall.
The entire program will be available at frankfurt-tourismus.de/paulskirchenfest veröffentlicht. Printed program booklets will be available starting Monday, May 8, at the Tourist Information Offices at the main train station and at the Römer, as well as at participating institutions, while supplies last. Further information can be found at frankfurt-tourismus.de/Presse.