Mission statement: path and goal

German museums present “The Art of the Enlightenment” in China

In April 2011, the National Museum of China has been officially opened at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The first international exhibition following the re-opening of what is the world’s largest museum will be devoted to the art of the Enlightenment. The exhibition is presented by the Berlin State Museums, the Dresden State Art Collections and the Bavarian State Painting Collections, in cooperation with Germany’s Federal Foreign Office.

The “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series of events

The “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series is being staged by Stiftung Mercator as the academic accompaniment to the exhibition “The Art of the Enlightenment” in Beijing. The official forums of the series are being organized by Stiftung Mercator in partnership with the National Museum of China. In addition, Stiftung Mercator has separately initiated a series of salons on the subject in which German and Chinese intellectuals have the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions on philosophical, social and artistic aspects of the Enlightenment.

Why discuss the Enlightenment?

Stiftung Mercator regards enlightenment as a universal phenomenon that symbolizes diversity, openness and tolerance, values that also characterize the spirit and work of the Foundation. The “Enlightenment in Dialogue” series intends to describe the basic principles of the European and of a potential Chinese enlightenment. This enlightenment is not to be limited to philosophy and historical science, but is to be brought into the cultural present day and linked to other topics: Chinese history and tradition, economics, environmental and climate protection, culture versus nature, music and literature.

The path is as important as the goal

The objective of the series of events is to illustrate the value of enlightenment for a future that is worth living in China and in Europe. The term “enlightenment” should be re-rooted in people’s consciousness. Dialogue is the path, intercultural understanding the goal. Like a mediator, the series of events is intended to help get China and Europe, and the different groups in society, talking to one another with a view to bringing about greater mutual understanding.


Stiftung Mercator
Huyssenalle 46
D-45128 Essen

Tel.: +49 (0)201-24522-0
Fax: +49 (0)201-24522-44



The following Dialogues took place in the National Museum of China from spring 2011 to spring 2012. more


Current information about "Enlightenment in Dialogue" can be downloaded here free of charge. more