Our focus & our history

What sparked the founding of Dresden – Place to be! in 2014, was the desire to facilitate new beginnings and feel at home in Dresden for foreign scientists and students. The members and their supporters were united by the aim to present Dresden and the vast majority of its citizens as open and tolerant and thus foster a genuinely welcoming culture in the Saxonian capital.

It all began with voluntary mentorships for international researchers, that had found new positions in universities and institutes here. With the influx of refugees in 2015, more people came, that fled from wars, hardship and lack of perspective in their home countries. Now it is the war refugees from Ukraine that need our urgent support.

We welcome everyone who wants to get involved in our work, with or without a membership. This is how there are many external mentors, that want to help new Dresdeners to build connections and friendships, to learn about the city and bureaucratic processes or to arrange language courses, tutoring, doctor's visits, internships or apprenticeships. Through joint activities and excursions from zoo to opera with families and friends, new friendships and networks are created from which everyone benefits.

Our association has helped multiple international students to scholarships and financial aid to close financial gaps.

We further support a primary school in Dresden, where over 60% are children with migrational backgrounds or are from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. With our help, the school was able to found a new library and school garden. The funding of Dresden – Place to be! e.V. has allowed the financing of teaching material like projectors and laptops or awards for honorable achievements of individual students. In order to enable a smooth and successful transition from primary to high school (Gymnasium), the association has initiated mentoring programs for gifted students. These children are given the opportunity of excellent education and will later on be a much needed support of our society.

Apart from the specific support of individuals, Dresden – Place to be! e.V. commits significant efforts to the civic society under the title “Dresden – offen und bunt” by organising demonstrations and own events:

It began in 2015 with a nationally renowned concert for cosmopolitanism and tolerance, where artists such as Herbert Grönemeyer, Wolfgang Niedecken or Silly with Anna Loos performed as a sign against xenophobic movements in front of about 35,000 visitors.

In the same year we organised the “Dresdner Bürgerkonferenz. Demokratie im täglichen Miteinander” (Dresden Citizen Conference. Democracy in a daily unity), where presentations, discussions and workshops were held in regard to this topic.

Alongside the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and other supporters the event “Meet new friends!” was planned in the Albertinum in 2016. Organisations, institutions and companies from Dresden presented themselves to refugees, out of which professional contacts and friendships evolved.

The now traditional “Gastmahl” (guest banquet) brings together people from different cultural backgrounds every summer – apart from 2020 due to Covid-19 – in the city center. Home-cooked meals that are brought to the Gastmahl and their respective stories bring together people and spark conversation that cross dimensions of identities and cultural barriers. We organise many of these events with reliable partners such as the Cellex foundation (www.cellex-stiftung.org).