Welcome to Waldschlösschen
“The Akademie Waldschlösschen (Waldschlösschen Academy)
stands for acceptance of sexual and gender diversity and supports the visibility and participation in society of such groups through its education and networking.
Working with an intersectional approach serves to strengthen the self-confidence,
gender self-determination, and identities of applicable individuals, and provides an open space for reflection on its historical and social conditionality.
This leads to a broader opportunity to scrutinize the prevailing heteronormativity and its resulting inequalities in our society.“
As part of its educational mission, the Akademie Waldschlösschen cooperates with individuals, groups, and networks which actively engage against homo-, trans*- and interphobia, as well as racism and hostility toward immigrants. Initiating and supporting self-help and interlinking civil and social structures are an important aspect of this mission; in-service training – especially for those in social professions (e.g. – those working with people with disabilities, homophobia in sport, and gender diversity education) – are part of the program.
The seminar program of the Akademie Waldschlösschen
is aimed at multiple demographics. There are offerings in areas such as “social commitment and self-helpˮ, “daily living and healthˮ, and “science, art and languageˮ, as well as “diversity and ethics in the workplaceˮ, and in particular targets its offerings:
- to those with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and queer identities,
- for people with HIV and AIDS and their partners,
- toward qualification of voluntary work, especially for those who work against homophobia and actively engage in AIDS-help work,
- in support of an examination of scientific research regarding the main priorities of the Academy.
The Akademie Waldschlösschen is close to Reinhausen in Lower Saxony, between Göttingen and Heiligenstadt, located on a rolling landscape in the middle of a nature reserve. Sky-high pines surround the premises, which consist of three buildings: the listed and carefully-restored Art Nouveau main building, the ‚Waldhaus‘ (1991), and the ‚Gartenhaus‘, (2008).
Every visiting group will find the right space for their needs. There are ten seminar and dayrooms to run up to five parallel seminars, and all rooms are fully equipped with modern amenities. Seven of the seminar rooms are accessable from the ground floor, while there are also two sanitary facilities for wheelchair drivers.
In total the Waldschlösschen has five living areas – fifty-two rooms altogether, with seventy-five beds in single or double rooms. Nearly all rooms have their own bathrooms, with the exception of one living area in the old building, where one double bedroom and one three bedroom share a bathroom. There are also rooms especially suited for the needs of visitors using a wheelchair.
If you would like to get more information about the Akademie Waldschlösschen and the surrounding area, you can find a detailed description with floor plans here.
The buildings are nested within gardens and terraces that can be used for concentrated work and learning as much as for recharging and relaxing.
The ‚Große Saal‘ (main hall) in the main house is the social centre – the dining room as well as the meeting point during breaks and in the evenings.
A sauna, the nearby Wendebachstausee (lake), sunbathing in the garden, jogging through nature, reading in the library or in front of the open fireplace offer additional opportunities to retreat and relax. Three pianos mean you can even indulge yourself artistically or incorporate music into seminars!
Our kitchen is known for its delicious and creative cooking longside healthy options and are happy to cater to individual diet preferences, including vegetarian and vegan food. We also provide a variety of snacks, and serve alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
The history of the Akademie Waldschlösschen traces back to 1981 when the Academy founders took over the then - derelict historic building, which was first constructed as the Spa Hotel Waldschlösschen in 1904. Once the building was repurposed, it was initially named Freies Tagungshaus Waldschlösschen (Waldschlösschen Free Seminar House). In 2000 it was renamed to Akademie Waldschlösschen.
Although the work of the Akademie Waldschlösschen hasn't had only gays and lesbians as target groups, it was primarily founded as a “gay adult education centreˮ, which corresponds to its origins in the German gay movement in the 1970s. Since then it has developed into a nationwide center for introductions to, collaboration with, and the qualification of emancipatory LGBT*I* workers (e.g. – of teachers, solicitors, theologains, gay fathers and gay, gaylesbian and queer AStA-Referaten student groups of German universities, many in cooperation with Trans*Aktiv and Intersexuelle Menschen e.V.)
The queer self-conception of the Akademie Waldschlösschen, grown from critics of heteronormativity, is characterised by the idea that „identities, norms and values are not obvious or natural, but are based on social factors and have to be seen as constructed, which need to be newly reflected and renegotiated.ˮ The work of the academy “is based on:
- the shared belief that all humans are equal and can participate in the distribution of influence and creative power of society,
- respect for diversity of lifestyles and sexualities,
- solidarity with those who are excluded and discrimitated against,
- questioning the predominance of heteronormativity,
- the shared belief of the importance of self-management and self-responsibility.ˮ
Of similar significance is the Academy for German AIDS Work. Among the many challenges of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, the Waldschlösschen undertook a nationwide linking of the different AIDS care initiatives. This led to the founding of the German AIDS-Hilfe, which has been a frequent collaborator ever since.
The Waldschlösschen is also significant in that it has developed an advanced training course for both full-time and voluntary staff of the German AIDS-Hilfe by providing education for and supporting the meeting and self-management of people with HIV and AIDS from all communities. Rita Süssmuth, a former President of the German Federal Parliament and former Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Women, Youth and Health, has been quoted as saying, “To me the Waldschlösschen is important because individuals affected by AIDS receive vital support. People can network, which makes a decisive contribution to a positive way of life.ˮ
We offer education and socialisation, information and orientation, in creative groups of manageable size who – for however long – live and work together in our house, in a relaxed atmosphere away from the distractions and strains of everyday life.
The maxim of the Akademie Waldschlösschen is “We are a meeting place that feels responsible for the humanisation of society.” This highlights our understanding of our educational work. It is carried by the belief in equality of human rights, solidarity with the disadvantaged, acceptance of different ways of living, sexuality, and identity, and curiosity for the‚ unknown as enrichment‘.
We offer education to strengthen identity and confidence, and at the same time emphasise social responsibility and interdependence. We want to develop a social and political commitment to shape and change our society. Supporting self-help and connecting civil and social structures form our leitmotiv: to encourage people to take responsibility for themselves and others.
We wish you a pleasant stay and a lot of fun while getting to know the Waldschlösschen.