Which president is the most charismatic

Enthusiasm and perseverance

The career of the hands-on culture manager began in the Ruhr area town of Oberhausen. Born in Bremen, he was the youngest adult education center director there in 1951. He was also committed to film, founded the Obernhausen Short Film Festival and was its director for a long time.

Hilmar Hoffmann's 20-year tenure as head of culture in Frankfurt is truly legendary. In the Main metropolis, he succeeded in combining culture and politics in a way that his successors can only dream of. It should certainly not be forgotten that Hoffmann had much better basic requirements: the city's coffers were still well filled at the time. Money gave him the opportunity to actively shape cultural policy. Seven museums are the result of his activities in Frankfurt. Hoffmann converted the Main embankment into the Museum Embankment.

New alliances

Hoffmann's concept of culture was decisive for these successes. In the post-war period, culture and politics were viewed as something strictly separate. Hoffmann recognized the intertwining of culture, politics and economy earlier than others. He saw in them a potential for the realization of his dream: the democratization of culture. Theater, literature and film and museums should be accessible to all.

Cross-border commuters between culture and business

As an author, he presented new models of cultural policy in his publications. "The Guggenheim Principle", the title of a publication published in 1999, best describes the museum policy he pursued in Frankfurt: a city pays for land, has a museum built and provides the infrastructure. Private art collectors and patrons deliver the art and collect - a transfer of the franchising model to museum politics. Hoffmann flanked this principle with admonishing words: "If we continue to sleep through the times of upheaval and hope that the state is the only principle of salvation, then we will become victims of those mega-managers who act more firmly."

In the service of foreign policy

Hoffmann, who managed to win money for culture even under difficult circumstances, was predestined for the office of President of the Goethe Institute. 32 institutes nevertheless had to be closed during his term of office. Against this background, he turned his main focus on securing the funding of the institutes on a permanent basis and set up a Goethe Foundation shortly before the end of his term of office. With perseverance, perseverance and persuasiveness he mobilized German companies for this.

Keys to Peace Efforts

He is now resigning from his position as president of the most important German institution for foreign cultural work after nine years for reasons of age. Hoffmann once again took the events of September 11, 2001 as an opportunity to emphasize the importance of foreign cultural policy: "What use are Sunday speeches in which politicians praise us if they cut funds further on Monday in the responsible committee," Hoffmann ranted at the annual press conference of the Goethe Institute. Hoffmann sees cultural and educational policy as a key to peace efforts. The new era of German foreign policy must therefore essentially aim at expanding international cultural understanding. A reversal of the previous weighting is necessary: ​​"We have to make cultural and educational policy the number one pillar." (cg)

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