Image Reichstag Berlin


75 years of the Basic Law

‘Human dignity is inviolable.’

Stefan B. Wintels
Portrait of Stefan Wintels during conversation

leitet seit Ende 2021 als CEO die KfW. Sein Ziel ist, die Förderbank so aufzustellen, dass sie einen wirkungsvollen Beitrag zur nachhaltigen Transformation von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft leistet.

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Article 1 of our Basic Law ( Grundgesetz) is as relevant today as it was in 1949, when the Parliamentary Council ( Parlamentarischer Rat) established our constitution. 75 years later, we have a lot to thank the post-war generations for and have to take responsibility ourselves.

Today, our then still young democracy is stronger, but also more endangered than it has been in the last 75 years. Every day, we take for granted the rights that guarantee us many freedoms as citizens. And last but not least, peace in Europe is our greatest achievement.

Portraits Stefan Wintels
"We can be very proud of our Basic Law and our democracy"

Stefan B. Wintels, CEO of KfW

Our 19 fundamental rights

The Basic Law is the most important law in Germany: it stands above all other laws. The first 19 articles of the Basic Law contain the ‘fundamental rights’. Fundamental rights are the most important rights people have vis-à-vis the state.

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I was born in 1966 and - compared to my parents and grandparents - I have personally benefited enormously from our liberal democracy, peace in Europe and personal development opportunities. How often did I hear at home ‘You should be better off’. But I also remember the intense social debates in the 1970s and 1980s. The post-war generation wanted this new beginning and ultimately found a social consensus in the Basic Law that made these developments possible in the first place.

For my generation and future generations, this legacy means defending our democracy and peace against attacks from within and without. Each and every one of us should stand up for our democracy to the best of our ability. A central lesson of our own history is that it depends on each and every one of us!

The Basic Law in photos

Since 1949, the Basic Law has secured freedom, peace and democracy - since 1990 also in East Germany. The photo series commemorates important events.

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KfW has been a close companion of the Federal Republic of Germany from the very beginning. Founded to support reconstruction, KfW still has a special mission today: as a responsible bank, we will support people, companies and municipalities in shaping the transition to a sustainable and digital society and economy.

We can be very proud of our Basic Law and our democracy - all the more reason for us to stand up for them every day!