ZDK Society Democratic Culture

ZDK Society Democratic Culture champions the fundamental values of freedom and dignity throughout Germany. Our initiatives serve to prevent and raise awareness of violence and extremism. We challenge terrorist and radical ideological movements like right-wing extremism and Islamism that counter fundamental freedoms and human rights.

Our mission is the idea of a functioning liberal, democratic, humane, and inclusive democracy.

The ZDK Society Democratic Culture was founded in 2003, developing from the Center for Democratic Culture (ZDK) that was founded in Berlin in 1997.

The society is led by graduate criminologist Dr. Bernd Wagner.

About us

We view freedom and human dignity as the highest good. State and civil society are called to serve the freedom and dignity of everyone, and to protect life and health. This is especially so for the welfare of children and youth, the weak, the oppressed, and the persecuted. We therefore advocate that freedom, human dignity, and human rights need to be defended in political, social, and cultural life and that they be guaranteed for all.
As an agency in matters dealing with extremist movements, we work on the basis of scientific analysis. As an independent monitoring group, we prepare reports, case studies, and recommendations for municipalities, government agencies, and civic organizations as well as business enterprises. As needed, we also offer coaching in the implementation of initiatives and projects.

We guide those who are searching for a political and ideological orientation in this complex world and help them overcome political and personal errors resulting from their engagement with violence and extremism. We help them leave extremist groups and networks. For this purpose, we are sponsors of the EXIT-Germany and HAYAT-Germany initiatives.

Every day we bring together people to solve tasks towards securing their dignity and freedom. Young people are especially supported and challenged. We see political orientation, work, personal meaning, and virtue as one.

Through publications and participation in public debates, we assist in today’s orientation for a better future and the protection of freedom and democracy as a social order. We are free of political and religious ties.

The society sponsors:
• Society Democratic Culture (ZDK)
EXIT – Germany
EXIT – Exit Support for formers
EXIT – Family Support
• Network of Former Right-Wing Extremists
EXIT – Federal Network
• (HAYAT Counseling Center)
DNE Network
• Nazis Against Nazis

We publish:
• Center for Democratic Culture publication series
• Journal EXIT- Deutschland – Journal for De-radicalization and Democratic Culture



English articles on the methodological approach of the ZDK:

  • Review of Programs to Counter Narratives of Violent Extremism: What Works and What are the Implications for Government? Download.pdf
  • Old Threat, New Approach: Tackling the Far Right Across Europe Download.pdf
  • Preventing Terrorism and Countering Violent Extremism and Radicalization that Lead to Terrorism: A Community-Policing Approach. Published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Vienna, February 2014. OSCE 2014 Download.pdf
  • On the Front Line A guide to countering far-right extremism Download.pdf