Ideas set our society in motion. We inspire and develop ideas, and give them our practical support. We provide scope for new ideas that can change our society for the better. In a diverse society, this works best when there is a balance between argument and compromise, vision and practical application, individual freedom and pursuit of the common good. We are committed to equal rights and equal opportunities, to social cohesion, respect, tolerance and openness to the world, and to the protection of nature and the environment.


Retail entrepreneur Karl Schmidt and his family from Duisburg established Stiftung Mercator at the end of the 1990s, naming it after Gerhard Mercator, a cartographer and humanist who was born in Flanders and lived in Duisburg for many decades.


Stiftung Mercator wants

  • to make possible a comprehensive education and equal opportunities,
  • to enhance the self-fulfilment of children, adolescents and young adults,
  • to promote science and research relating to its objectives and areas of thematic focus in everyone’s interests,
  • to support mutual understanding and exchange between people of different cultures
  • to commit itself to a unified Europe
  • to improve the social prerequisites for a peaceful coexistence of people of different backgrounds, convictions and social situations, and
  • to preserve nature and the environment.

Stiftung Mercator intends to achieve this by

  • making possible positive examples of social progress
  • stimulating the imagination of all who bear a particular responsibility in politics and society, and
  • giving impetus, either on its own or in cooperation with partners, for the shaping of the future.

Its activities should always be guided by quality, professionalism and transparency and subject to public debate.

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