The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is an independent, not for profit and nongovernmental organisation that is committed to promoting liberal values, ideas and policies.
Originating in Germany, the Foundation has won a reputation for promoting Freedom as the ultimate precondition for a society where people can grow to their full potential, prosper and live peacefully.
To create such an open society we are guided by the principles of Liberalism and its message of tolerance and acceptance of diversity. By applying its core concepts such as human rights, rule of law, liberal democracy and a free market economy, it has been proven through the centuries that Liberalism offers appropriate solutions for the present and the future in public and personal life.
It is this proud tradition that we seek to expand even further through our intensive work in political education, consulting, training and dialogue.
We support various projects mostly in co-operation with partner organisations in more than 60 countries worldwide.
The idea of liberalism has to be recreated. In the course of time it has lost so much of its clarity and attraction that it first has to rise like a new dawn in front of the people.
– Friedrich Naumann, 1906.
The following political principles were agreed to by the Board of Directors and approved by the Board of Trustees on September 24, 1993.
The political principles describe what the Friedrich Naumann Foundation understands by the constitutional clause “the Foundation acts on the basis of liberalism” (§ 2, clause 1). These political principles shall serve to guide persons working on behalf of the foundation, either in an honorary capacity or as salaried staff, in the selection of candidates for its various activities, in the definition of objectives in political education in political consulting, in the support of talent and ability, and in the editing of publications.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation is the foundation for ideas on liberty and training in freedom. It wants to contribute to the furtherance of the principle of freedom in human dignity in all sectors of society in the united Germany as well as together with partners abroad.
It is the goal of liberal policies that all citizens can freely live together in an open society: the civic society. Without freedom other human values cannot be realized. Each human being needs freedom in order to develop his or her talents and to realize him or herself. Without freedom the human spirit languishes, culture and science decay, and the economy stagnates. The spirit needs freedom like the body needs air to breathe.
Each human being is an individual with his own ideas and desires.
But he is also a social being, dependent on other human beings and under an obligation to them. Freedom and responsibility are inseparable. They determine the relationship between the individual and community. Liberals base human relationship on spontaneity not coercion – on the exchange of ideas and goods, free trade, reason, compassion, and responsibility. Voluntary associations promote mutual trust. They lead to the recognition of the values and goals of others and they deserve respect.
Liberal policies and the individual
Liberal policies promote respect for the rights of the individual, for civil rights. The individual needs these rights, if he wants to freely shape his own life. Therefore, freedom of opinion is not only a compelling moral command of tolerance and of the rule of law. It is also the path toward progress of the human spirit, a path which can be found only through the competition of free ideas and knowledge. The right to private property is a civil right, too. Without respect for private property, many other rights cannot be realized. Liberal policies are in favour of equal opportunities from the start, in favour of competition and pluralism. They strive, therefore, for the free access of all to all markets, education, information, labour, goods, and capital markets. Liberal policies seek to free the individual from coercion by the state and by anonymous institutions so that he can fulfill his responsibility in freedom. Freedom requires responsibility for the community.
Liberal policies and civil society
Liberal policies strive to enlarge the freedom of citizens in all spheres of life and to restrict the role of the state to the essentials. This includes recognizing the capacity of citizens to organise themselves. Citizens can undertake many tasks in municipalities, wards, associations, lobbies, other private institutions and initiatives and wish to do so.
Liberal policies and the state
Liberals see the tasks of the state as the protection of individual freedom and the protection of citizens against violence from within and abroad, as well as safeguarding of the constitution. Liberal policies want to ensure that rules apply to all, while leaving space for the free decision of the individual. Liberal policies do not want to predetermine a certain outcome; they want just rules instead of just results, because such results do not exist. Liberal policies want democracy. Democracy permits choice and change, but it does not guarantee freedom. That is why Liberals are for the strict division, control, and limitation of power, public power as well as private. Liberal policies want a state that is bound by rules and that respects freedom. The state has the duty to guarantee legal security to everybody. In a liberal state, the rule of law respects group interests. That is why it provides them with freedom in responsibility, but not with political power. Liberal policies do not want the state to be active economically. They do not want the state to compete, through its own institutions with private enterprises. Liberal policies want to maintain the citizens’ freedom to make decisions in all areas of politics, both now and in the future. Therefore, they reject solving today’s problems at the expense of tomorrow’s generations, at the expense of sound public finances, and particularly at the expense of environment.
Liberal policies and international cooperation
Liberal policies want an open world culture and a free world market.
For Liberals, the common features of mankind are more important than the divison into categories of natives and foreigners. The liberal vision is a world society, in which there is free exchange, cooperation, and competition among different peoples, states, regional groups, and cultures. Liberal policies strive for cooperation in development through free international trade and through helping to establish free and responsible civic societies in developing countries. Liberal policies work towards the world-wide liberalization of all markets- information, technology, goods and services as well as currency and capital markets. Liberal policies want European unity and other regional associations, but not at the expense of internal diversity and openness towards others. Liberal policies want world-wide victory of human and civil rights.
“The external freedom of the many grows from the internal freedom of the individual.”
Working towards freedom in Germany and in the world requires a sense of proportion. One must concentrate on the essentials. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom is therefore defining long-term focal issues that will account for at least 50% of the Foundation’s educational and consultancy activities. The guiding principle is freedom – the highest value, the guarantor of human dignity, the basis of economic and social progress.
Foundation under private law
Year of foundation
Purpose of the foundation
The work of the foundation shall be based on the principles of Liberalism.
It shall be nonprofit in nature.
Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit
D – 14482 Potsdam-Babelsberg
phone: +49 331 7019 0
fax: +49 331 7019 188
For more detailed information, please visit the FNF’s ENGLISH website