Theodor Heuss Foundation

The supra-partisan Theodor Heuss Foundation was initiated in 1964 after the death of the first Federal President by Hildegard Hamm-Brücher, his son, Ernst Ludwig Heuss, and a circle of friends of Theodor Heuss, with the aim of distinguishing examples for democratic engagement, civic courage and commitment for the strengthening and developing democracy in memory of his personality and his political life’s work. As Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäcker pointed out in 1965, the Theodor Heuss Prize was meant “to turn attention to something which, in our democracy, has to be done and to be developed without being already completed.“


Theodor Heuss was not only instrumental in creating the Basic Constitutional Law and not only did he shape the beginning of our democratic culture by the quality of his way of administrating his office. Throughout his whole life and work he has set an example of democratic-liberal attitude and civic responsibility. »Democracy and liberty are not only words, they are life-shaping values.«.


The Theodor Heuss Foundation wants to keep alive the memory of the personality and the life work of Theodor Heuss and to contribute to the development of democratic traditions and values in Germany and Europe.


The Foundation wants to point out time and again the manifold possibilities of making the right use of our liberties and of strengthening every single person’s responsibility. It promotes exemplary democratic behaviour, outstanding civic courage and model commitment for the public weal.


With the annual awarding of the Theodor Heuss Prize the Foundation has from the beginning endeavoured to create also public awareness about important political and social developments at an early stage by the honouring of civic initiative and civic courage. By this, issues and prize-holders chosen by it, have become a “democratic time signal”.