THE CFB

Who are we?

The Centre Français de Berlin (CFB) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to contribute to international understanding in the fields of youth, education and culture in line with the European idea.

This includes in particular:

  • the organisation of international exchange projects (school-based, extracurricular, group or individual exchanges) for young people and professionals;
  • intensifying the city partnership between Paris and Berlin in the form of the “Tandem Paris-Berlin” with the support of the city of Berlin;
  • the maintenance of the network “Diversity and Participation” with the support of the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ/DFJW);
  • the coordination of the individual student exchange programme Voltaire;
  • promoting professional mobility and supporting young people in their project in the partner country;
  • managing a local cultural centre: a meeting place with cultural events;

providing premises for socio-cultural projects in the public interest and for the training of young people.

History of the CFB

The history of the Centre Français de Berlin is closely connected to the history of Berlin and the Franco-German relations. Up until 1992, the former Centre Culturel Français at Müllerstraße 74 was a cultural centre run by the French allied forces in Berlin.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 brought an historical change and the retreat of the four allied forces from Germany. The “2+4 treaty” as well as the Reunification Treaty led to the transfer of the Centre property into the hands of the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry of Finance.

In accordance with the Franco-German friendship and the European idea of international understanding, the French and German governments agreed that the Centre Français should continue its activities.

However, due to lack of use, the buildings of the Centre Français de Berlin showed distinct signs of age. Comprehensive renovation work was necessary before the complex could be put to use.

The French associate is CEI (Centre d’Echanges Internationaux), based in Paris, 1, rue Gozlin, F-75006 Paris; the German associate is SPI (Stiftung Sozialpädagogisches Institut Berlin), based in Berlin, Müllerstr. 74.

The following parties were involved in the foundation phase:

  • the French Embassy
  • the German Federal Ministry of Family, Senior Citizens, Woman and Youth
  • the City of Berlin (Department of School, Youth and Sports)
  • the City of Paris
  • the Municipal Office of Wedding (now Mitte).

Tandem Paris-Berlin: international exchange project for young people

Intercultural youth exchange projects are an important part of the CFB’s work. This area of activity, in which we work in close collaboration with the FGYO and ERASMUS+, allows young people from France and Germany as well as young people from other European or Mediterranean countries to meet in a short (one week), extracurricular setting. During these exchanges, our participants develop a greater sensibility for others and help create a climate of dialogue, mutual understanding and peace.

Our offer:

Every year, the CFB organizes 30 to 40 intercultural projects which, since 2008, have involved more than 4000 young people and professionals.

You are a youth center / association:

We regularly organise exchange projects in collaboration with German youth structures. We put our know-how and our international network at your disposal and help conceptualize and implement the exchange project, thus playing the role of operator and advisor. It is your task, in turn, to form a group of participants and prepare them for their meeting with us. In addition, we can train you in the organization and animation of intercultural youth exchanges. Contact us! tandem @ centre-francais.de

You are an individual:

We offer a variety of projects with diverse themes and various international destinations. Our open offers are regularly published on our website and on our Facebook page. We are always thrilled to meet new, highly motivated people who want to participate in our exchanges.

You are a school / highschool (general or vocational):

As part of our collaboration with FGYO and in the framework of its “FOCUS” program, we also offer Franco-German or trinational exchange programs, both school-based and extracurricular. In this case, our expertise lies in creating a synergy between the formal and non-formal education know-how, thus allowing teachers to implement a cycle of exchanges with us and our partners.

This experience is very constructive for both sides:

1) students and teachers discover or use a different and fun approach to traditional school exchange and the use of languages;

2) students and teachers, sharing daily and group life, deepen and evolve their relationships;

3) extra-curricular animators and teachers learn from each other and break the clichés related to their professional realities;

4) schools are connected, hence partnership agreements can be created;

5) last but not least, schools are relieved of administrative work related to funding which is  often viewed as too complex and demotivating.

You are a school teacher in Berlin / Brandenburg and would like to know more about the implementation of intercultural school-based / extracurricular exchanges? Write to us at tandem @ centre-francais.de

What is an intercultural youth exchange? What’s the point?

What we call “intercultural youth exchange” is in fact a cycle of short-term stays of 7 to 10 days, usually extracurricular, taking place in the different countries participating in a given program. “The youngsters” are people aged between 10 and 30 years. Depending on the type of project, we also set age groups (12-16 years; 14-18 years old; 18-25 years old etc.) to ensure consistency within the groups. This type of exchange always takes place in a “third place”, that is, the whole group sleeps in a shared accommodation (e.g. hostel, big house etc.) and not in host families. This improves both group dynamics and cohabitation, which is the cornerstone of the project.

Here’s an example: we are organizing a youth exchange for young people aged 14 – 18 years with two partner associations from Marseille (France) and Oran (Algeria), on the subject of urban gardens. In this case, the youngsters will meet three times: once in Berlin in autumn, once in Oran in the spring and, finally, once in Marseille in summer. In Berlin, for example, the group will contribute to the development of the local garden through arts, crafts and gardening activities. It is important for us that every young person should be at least once in the position of the host and of the guest. This “principle of reciprocity” is a part of the pedagogical process that we propose.

A cycle of exchange projects is generally based on a theme decided in advance by the partners such as: music, theater, history, ecology, agriculture, citizen initiatives, sport … basically, everything is possible. Thus, a meeting aims at helping participants get to know the others, their language, their culture through playful and intercultural methods, but also at helping them make friends by working together to achieve a common goal: a play, a concert, an ecological building site, a photo exhibition, a film.

We are convinced that practice is the best means for intercultural learning, discovering oneself and enhancing cooperation. By organising such projects we aim at initiating a dialogue between cultures and thus at breaking or at least relativizing stereotypes through experience, at allowing discoveries on several levels, at sharpening one’s curiosity for otherness, at fostering the cohesion of a European and global society, and at opening both one’s spirit and doors for one’s personal future.

Participant backgrounds:

The backgrounds of our participants are diverse: schoolchildren, high school or university students, young people on apprenticeships (any discipline related to the topic of the exchange), in professional reorientation or in a professional activity, with and without disabilities, unemployed…

Our key point: inclusion. The CFB, staying dedicated to the principle “mobility for everybody”, works in particular with young people with little access to exchange programs. We make every effort to ensure everyone’s participation in our exchanges. With us, everyone is welcome, the social mix is always a strength and we all have something to learn from each other. Moreover, in order to keep this philosophy alive, we coordinate and lead the Franco-German network of professionals.

Funded by:

FGYO, Erasmus +, Senate of Berlin

Programme Voltaire / Voltaire-Programm

A real alternative to longterm exchange programmes that usually cost a lot of money, “Voltaire” brings young students from France and Germany together for a whole year without any participation fees. Financed by the Office Franco-Allemand pour la Jeunesse / Deutsch-Französisches Jugendwerk and coordinated by the CFB, this program is based on the concept of reciprocity. The students spend 6 months in Germany and 6 months in France, living in their exchange partner’s family and going to their school:

March-August: the French students (grades of “Troisième” or “Seconde”, ages approx. 14-16) come to Germany;

September-February: the German students (grades of “8., 9. Or 10. Klasse”, ages approx. 14-16) come to France.

Rent a conference room in Wedding, an up-and-coming quarter in Berlin

An official historical landmark in the style of the 60s within a green terrain of 4500m²: The Centre Français de Berlin, French-German cultural centre in the heart of Berlin-Wedding, is an ideal venue for your events, congresses, seminars and meetings.

Organize your conferences in green and calm surroundings and enjoy high-quality catering in our very well equipped conference rooms, right next to U-Bahn stop Rehberge (U6), only fifteen minutes from Friedrichstraße station in the heart of Berlin-Mitte.

The assets: the 3-star hotel “Hotel de France” as well as the high-quality restaurant “Gourmanderie” in the same building, 5 modern and versatile conference rooms, a cinema / theatre in an authentic 60s style and 220 seats… Our English-, German- and French-speaking personnel will provide you with material and know-how to satisfy all your wishes.

Renting a conference room or ordering catering at the Centre Français de Berlin also means: connecting the image of your entreprise, your foundation or your institution with a stronghold of Berlin culture. The Centre Français de Berlin is an historically important actor on the field of French-German relations, but also an enthusiastic advocate of a stronger European consciousness: Along with its partners, it contributes in many varied ways to the European idea of international understanding in the fields of youth, education and culture.

More information on our activities can be found here.

For more information or for a quote, please contact us – we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Examination centre for distance education

The CFB offers its premises to students living in Berlin and participating in distance education courses.

We provide a professional and academically secure examination environment. Our team is at your disposal to help you organize the exam and communicate with your university.

The Centre offers advantageous rates:

  • Room rental:
    • 80€/day or 50€/ a half-day for 1- 4 students;
    • 5 students or more: 100€/day or 60€/ a half-day.
  • Supervision:
    • 15€/hour up to 4 students;
    • 20€/hour for 5 students or more.

For further information and registration, please contact us here.

Community garden “Rote Beete”

One of the CFB’s aims is to work alongside the community and foster a culture of participation, belonging and cultural diversity. We also place great importance on sustainable development and biodiversity.

Our beehives (Le Miel du Ciel / Der Honig vom Dach): first steps towards an environmental change.

In June 2015, the CFB installed twelve beehives on its roof. Every year we are able to collect approximately 350 kg of honey. This honey is offered for sale at the “City Kino” and at the hotel reception. Unfortunately, due to security reasons, we cannot grant public access to the roof yet.

Community garden “Rote Beete”: our purpose.

Our community garden is a collective project which enables the CFB and its neighborhood as well as different NGOs and people living in Berlin to come together, communicate and share ecological values.

Beyond our shared environmental interest and the re-appropriation of public space, our community garden is also meant to provide a common ground for people of any age or ethnicity to share their knowledge, passion, or curiosity, encouraging and developing a stronger sense of community through cooperation and intercultural exchange. And because gardening is a universal language, there are no limits to who can be involved.

“Rote Beete”: how we work.

Our community guide has three basic principles: involvement, cooperation, and self-management.

The CFB offers its premises (coordinates: 52.558954, 13.339309) and most of the materials for gardening and maintaining the site. For that purpose, the CFB depends on public funding as well as its own budget. The ultimate goal is to create a synergy between the CFB, the city and the neighborhood.

Our garden is meant to be a collective community garden. Therefore, volunteers decide together what to plant and how to maintain the space. Joint decision-making and direct democracy are paramount, gardening tasks and harvesting are distributed equally among the members of the community.

The members of the community garden meet regularly to make plans and decisions pertaining to the garden, and perform common actions (enlargening and transforming the garden, animating it, or just spending some time in it together).

The rest of the time the plots are maintained collectively. As the whole garden is communally managed, plots are only “privatized” in case of a tacit agreement between the gardener and the rest of the group.

We don’t have a permanent reception point. If you would like to know more about us and about our project, you can head to our Facebook page or send us an e-mail: gaerten @ centre-francais.de

Partnerships

Rote Beete sees itself as a shared and open workspace and seeks to establish itself in the neighbourhood by welcoming  associations, structures or different groups of people that can help bring together the resources needed to successfully develop the garden.

If our garden interests you for educational purposes or if you’d like to set up a project for the neighbourhood, please do not hesitate to contact us: gaerten@centre-francais.de

A few examples of our cooperation:

Montessori-Kinderladen Berlin-Wedding e.V.: Since April 2017 our neighbours at Edinburger Straße, have come every week to visit our volunteers. Here they can jump around, shout at the tops of their voices, dig into the earth, saw wood, water the plants and many other things that can benefit their development and also help them to know more about the environment. This action is called “Grüne Däumchen” (little green thumbs).

Lebenswelt gGmbH: Since May 2017, young people who are obliged to do community service hours come to the garden once a week and help us keep it clean.

Paul-Gerhardt-Stift: Since April 2018, in cooperation with a social centre in our neighbourhood, we have been offering “action days” for families, especially fathers with their children. The project is called “Komm Papa, wir bauen ein Beet!”. (“Come on, Dad, let’s build a flowerbed!”) For additional information, you can contact us at: gaerten@centre-francais.de or stadtteilzentrum@pgs-soziales.de

Our supporters

  • The city of Berlin
  • Foundation SPI
  • OFAJ/DFJW
  • Foundation „Anstiftung“
  • Misch Mit! Network Commitment and Neighbourhood
  • Beekeepers’ association Langstroth Berlin e.V.

Professional mobility

Our office for professional mobility is active in several domains:

  • Coachings and workshops in the field of vocational orientation: this offer is mainly aimed at French and French-speaking people living in Berlin. In cooperation with “Emploi France-Allemagne”, the French Embassy in Germany and the French Foreign Trade Advisors, we offer regular meetings, workshops as well as individual coachings.
  • The organization and accompaniment of international internships. In 2018, more than 115 young adults from Germany and France participated in international internships organized by us. We help them find their internship position, communicate with the companies, find host families, offer intercultural and linguistic support as well as preparation, and organize a cultural programme for the weekend.

Would you like to be one of our host families?

Do you want to participate in this intercultural adventure within your own home? Be part of our host family network and host one of our young French interns! Besides an exciting experience, we provide an expense allowance. And who knows, maybe you’ll gain a new friend whom you will want to stay in touch with after his or her internship!

Culture Office

For many years running, the CFB has been developing a major artistic and cultural project. Equipped with a 220-seat cinema/theatre, the CFB hosted, in 2017, more than 30,000 spectators for all of its cultural events combined (workshops, cinema, concerts, as well as performances in the fields of theatre, dance and many more). Moreover, the CFB regularly organizes artistic and thematic workshops and has hosted several artists-in-residence.

At the present time, the cinema constitutes the CFB’s main cultural activity. Managed by the team of “City Kino Wedding”, the cinema is recognized for its high quality program, welcoming every year the most important Berlin festivals, such as “Berlinale”, the “Französische  Filmwoche” or the “Favourites Film Festival”.

A work in progress

The CFB’s ambition for the near future is to strengthen its cultural program by organizing and hosting  contemporary live performances (dance, theatre, music…) with a twofold objective:

  • To strengthen itself as a cultural spot recognized for the quality of its program and easily identified by the public of Berlin.
  • To become a reference point in Berlin for the promotion of French-speaking cultures.

The Culture Office team is at your disposal to answer your questions and discuss your projects and possibilities for cooperation.

La Maison des Francophonies

Inaugurated on March 30th 2019 during our annual “Fête des Francophonies” and supported by more than 30 francophone embassies in Berlin and by the City of Berlin, this project will focus on putting the French language in the spotlight and highlighting the variety of French speaking countries and cultures in the world.

Developing a cultural programme, supporting French speaking people in Berlin, inciting students and their parents to learn and continue learning French – these are only a few of our goals. Read more (in French).