The Federal President's History Competition is the largest historical research competition for young people in Germany. It aims to awaken children's and young people's interest in their own history, promote independence and strengthen their sense of responsibility. The history competition is held every two years on changing themes.
"Researching and Discovering Learning" is the principle of the history competition. For calls for entries such as "Everyday life in National Socialism", "Heroes: revered - misjudged - forgotten" or "Being different. Outsiders in History", the participants research their own local or family history and ask questions about their living environment. They research sources in archives, interview contemporary witnesses or talk to experts. Their own place of residence, neighbours, parents or grandparents become part of the story - even if it is not in the textbook. The impetus for your own search for clues can be photos, street names, monuments or historical buildings. Taking part in the competition encourages many pupils to position themselves beyond the competition for current debates and to initiate discussions on how to deal with their own history on the spot.
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This competition is open to all students enrolled at a school in Germany under the age of 21. However, it is competitive in the sense that there have historically been over 5000 participants with about 250 awards given.
There are no associated fees with participating in this competition.
The competitions basic principle is Explorative Learning, therefore submissions must have a regional or biographical approach to the chosen topic and participants have to work with original sources, be it interviews with contemporary witnesses or public archive investigations. During a research period of several months, the young historians have to decide themselves which aspects of the topic they want to explore and how they are going to realise their project. The final presentation of their findings leaves room for variety; most frequently, manuscripts, videos and collages have been submitted. This project as a whole therefore requires excellent researching, writing, creativity and critical thinking skills.
Although the amount of time dedicated to the competition project is at the participant's own discretion - one should expect to dedicate several months to research in preparation for the final submission of work.
Registration is not required to participate in the History Contest. Participation takes place by entering the entry data and uploading a contribution in the submission database. Submitted contributions must be written in German. The form of contribution is freely selectable by the participants - written contribution, films, audio plays, multimedia presentations, exhibitions, games etc. - there are no limits to creativity.