Remembering, Experiencing and Trying Out Democracy

PRIF Study Drafts Concept for the Development of a ‘Democracy Center Paulskirche’

The renovation and redesign of Frankfurt's history-steeped St. Paul’s Church has been widely discussed. But not only structural changes are planned. A lively and international “House of Democracy” is to be placed alongside St. Paul’s Church and bring it to life anew in terms of content as well. But how can democracy be experienced with all senses as a social practice? For this ambitious project, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) has been commissioned by the City of Frankfurt to develop a concept that proposes content-related guidelines for citizen participation in the process of redesign. The concept pursues the goal of bringing democracy to life in history, in the present and for the future.

Prof. Nicole Deitelhoff, author of the concept study and Executive Director of PRIF, will present the study on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. at an event hosted by the City of Frankfurt at St. Paul’s Church. The presentation of the study will also mark the beginning of a dialogue with citizens about the design of the Democracy Center St. Paul’s Church. Citizen participation should be a permanent feature not only for the development of the “House of Democracy” but also for its operation.


Author Nicole Deitelhoff on the Concept Study

Download the Study

St. Paul’s Church is to become a lively place of democracy with national and inter­national signific­ance. To this end, a democracy center is to be placed at its side, the use of which is to be worked out in a citizen participat­ion process. In this concept study, Nicole Deitelhoff and other researchers of Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF) develop guidelines for the content of such a “House of Democracy”.

Based on field and target group analyses as well as a series of interviews, it is shown that the use of the “House of Democracy” should focus primarily on the practical and sensual experience of democracy. The focus should be on formats in which citizens and visitors can apply democracy them­selves and experience it as a social practice.

The five core messages of the concept studie are accordingly:

  • Democracy must be experienced with all senses and in an activating way.
  • Under­represented target groups must be specifically addressed, but at the same time the exchange between the target groups must be promoted.
  • Frankfurt has a lively democracy scene that should be integrated into a “House of Democracy” that is to be designed.
  • It needs not only a democratic way to the “House of Democracy”, but a democratic house, which secures citizen participation in the long run.
  • An inter­national democracy center must be multi­lingual and accessible through digital offerings across time zones and language barriers.

Download the concept study (pdf; in German)

About the Author

The study was conducted by Prof. Nicole Deitelhoff with the assistance of Ben Christian, Prof. Christopher Daase, Dr. Gregor Hofmann and Dr. Raphaela Schlicht-Schmälzle. The researchers were supported by the student assistants Franziska Bujara, Deborah Düring, Hannah Merkel, Clara Perras, Fabian R. and Franziska Schreiber.

Media Contributions









Would you like to provide feed­back on the Democracy Center St. Paul’s Church or the study?

You can contact the City of Frankfurt via this e-mail address:

paulskirche @stadt-frankfurt .de

Press Contact

Dr Stefan Kroll
Head of Science Communic­ation
Phone: +49 (0)69 959104-59
E-Mail: kroll @hsfk .de