Banner to promote the annual British-German Democracy Forum run by Cumberland Lodge and the Goethe Institut

In 2020, Cumberland Lodge is launching the annual British-German Democracy Forum, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut.

This new Forum will bring together young people from across the United Kingdom and Germany - including students, influencers, artists and cultural producers, politicians, representatives of civil society initiatives, community organisers, writers, intellectuals, and inspiring public figures - for three days of open dialogue at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park.

Every year, we will explore a different aspect of democratic life and its impacts on both countries, to facilitate an open exchange of views and creative thinking about pressing issues that affect us all.

In this way, we hope to build powerful new networks, strengthen shared understandings, and empower young people to promote progress towards more peaceful, open and inclusive societies, in Germany, the UK, and around the world.


Founded in 1947 by Amy Buller, in the aftermath of World War II, Cumberland Lodge is an educational foundation that empowers people, through dialogue and debate, to tackle the causes and effects of social division. Our partners at the Goethe-Institut promote the study of German language and culture, as well as international cultural exchange, around the world.

The British-German Democracy Forum is inspired by these commitments. It also combines our founder’s interest in social transformations, active and critical citizenship, and the future of democracy, with our ongoing commitment to building bridges and increasing understanding between Germany and the United Kingdom. 

Inaugural Forum

In September 2020, the British-German Democracy Forum explores 'Colonialism & Difficult History'.

In both Britain and Germany, the colonial past and other difficult histories - and their relevance for contemporary politics, society and culture - have become matters of intense debate.

'Colonialism & Difficult History' examines what these debates reveal about best practice in engaging with problematic pasts and their legacies, and how democratic societies can confront difficult histories constructively.

Over three days, participants will address questions such as:

  • How can liberal democracies confront problematic aspects of their past successfully?
  • What do different approaches to difficult histories (such as colonialism), by institutions, civil society initiatives, and through public debate, reveal about a society?
  • What might an open and constructive conversation about the ongoing resonances of colonialism – such as immigration, uneven citizenship, experiences of discrimination and inclusion, or lack of representation – look like?
  • How can a broad range of perspectives and experiences shape more inclusive public spaces and shared narratives, capturing the vibrant diversity of democratic society?

Full details of the programme will be published shortly, on our 'What's On' webpages.

Candid conversations

Conversations will be held under the Chatham House Rule, to encourage open dialogue and debate. However, we do ask guest speakers to waive this rule for their presentations,where possible, to allow us to share them with a wider public audience.

Find out more

We will shortly be starting to send out invitations for our September 2020 Forum. If you would like to find out more about it, or how to get involved, please contact our Programme team, by emailing in the first instance.