Stuttgart , Germany

The Stuttgart Pact For Integration: the Power of Planning

Stuttgart City Council

February 25, 2009

Urban leadership creates an inclusive integration strategy for full community participation.

Successful integration doesn’t just happen, it is the result of thoughtful and strategic planning. While cities around the world increasingly recognize this new reality, the City of Stuttgart, Germany, took the lead early with its top down and comprehensive approach to integration.

In 2001, the Stuttgart City Council adopted the groundbreaking Pact For Integration and instituted a sweeping program of policies and activities aimed at securing Stuttgart’s future as a great international city. Calling successful integration the “glue for social cohesion,” the city anchored its new policy framework in a strong multi-sector coalition that brought together public, private sector, and civil society interests in a shared agenda to realize the goals of:

  • participation and equal opportunity for everyone,
  • peaceful cohabitation and social cohesion, and
  • the capitalization of cultural diversity as a community and economic asset.

Stuttgart, the capital of the federal state Baden Wuerttemberg, is located in southern Germany. Approximately one third or 40 per cent of the population was born abroad. Residents of Stuttgart are from over 170 nations and speak over 120 languages. This gives Stuttgart one of the largest proportions of migrants among German cities.

In part, Stuttgart’s leadership with its Pact For Integration stemmed from its early recognition that successful integration was necessary to attract and retain migrants as well as the investment of international corporations –and ultimately essential to Stuttgart’s economic prosperity.

Immigrants are particularly important to the demographics of Stuttgart since it faces the challenges of an aging population without an adequate birth replacement rate. Currently, there are no children or adolescents under the age of 18 in 82 percent of households in Stuttgart. Without immigrants, only 10 percent of households in Stuttgart would include children.

As a result, Stuttgart recognises that the effective integration of their immigrant population is essential to augmenting the skilled labour force required to attract industry leaders such as Dailmer Chrysler, Porche, Hewlett-Packard and IBM.

“The new element is that we are no longer merely pursuing a classic integration policy for migrants which classifies foreigners as people with language and other problems, but that we are saying: Stuttgart is an international city, with a 35 to 40 percent migration background, and we need a well mapped-out integration strategy covering the needs of equal opportunities”, explains Gari Pavkovic, Head of the Department for Integration Policy.

Stuttgart city leaders also recognized that to be effective, the strategy had to address long-term goals, requiring the application of system-wide programs and policies across all sectors. A patchwork of uncoordinated integration activities would not work. Hence the Stuttgart Pact for Integration was formulated as an “alliance” for integration within a broad framework comprising many sectors and all age groups –from kindergarten to adult education. By accommodating all these various interest groups, the Stuttgart strategy recognized the value of the city’s potential human capital in all its diversity.

The Stuttgart approach to integration combines leadership with community involvement to create equal opportunities and inclusive, productive communities.

The Pact For Integration…
The Pact for Integration was endorsed by the personal commitment of the Mayor who created the city’s first “Office of Integration Policy” to involve as many different city stakeholders and sectors as possible. The Stuttgart Pact is not merely a declaration of good will but a framework for coordinated strategic action that is being implemented on a daily basis by the city administration, community services, public and private actors and citizens

The Stuttgart Pact also takes a human resource based approach that is equally directed at newly arrived migrants, established immigrants as well as the native German population in order to emphasize that integration is a two way process involving both migrants and the receiving community.

The Pact is built around eight essential building blocks, or “milestones,” that form the basis of Stuttgart’s integration policy. They include:

  1. Education: Stuttgart specifically encourages bilingual and multilingual education and the promotion of German as a second language from a very early age in a child’s life as a way to prevent exclusion later in life. Parents are also offered help in supporting children in their learning process.
  2. Sustainable Economic Growth for Community Well Being: Includes a focus on making cultural diversity a valuable factor in economic and cultural development.
  3. Equal Rights and Opportunities: Includes cultural accommodations when necessary to achieve the end goals. For instance, Stuttgart supported the creation of separate after school groups for Muslim girls to provide additional tutoring to close gaps in educational outcomes and remove structural barriers to later professional success.
  4. Political and Social Participation: Stuttgart is lobbying for the right of all non-Germans to participate in local elections. In the interim, Stuttgart residents without German passports can vote for representatives to an “International Committee,” a local consultative lobby made up of elected migrants, appointed experts and city councilors. This group regularly meets to discuss issues related to the foreign population in Stuttgart.
  5. Pluralism and Cultural Diversity: Stuttgart’s city administration provides support to intercultural initiatives, from the arts to sports events, as well as to migrant-led orgnisations.
  6. Mutual Respect and Solidarity: Supports efforts to make young people and others more sensitive to the cultural diversity within their community; , including a team of trained mediators on call to intervene in private and public conflicts with “cultural” roots.
  7. Participatory Communication: Promotes access to information for all citizens, whether to Stuttgart’s many community newspapers, multilingual broadcast media or access to virtual Internet services. Stuttgart public libraries receive over 1.5 million visitors annually, a third of which are migrants. A virtual library for children is another important tool for lifelong learning and the fight against exclusion.
  8. International Cooperation: Stuttgart works closely with co-operating EU institutions and the Council of Europe on numerous projects, as well as providing leadership to initiatives such as the European Network of “Cities for Local Integration Policy” (CLIP).


In 2003, the Stuttgart Pact For Integration gained national and international recognition when the city was awarded the ‘Cities for Peace Prize’ by UNESCO. The following year, the European Council recognised Stuttgart’s approach as the standard for best practice when it adopted the key points of the pact as its official policy on integration. Similarly, Stuttgart has since become a model for the development of integration strategies in other communities across Europe.

In 2005, both the Bertelsmann Foundation and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior recognised Stuttgart for their approach to integration. In 2006, this initiative was also recognised by the EuroCities network.

Stuttgart is also measuring success in more tangible terms as a result of its multi level and multi sector approach to integration. For instance, Stuttgart has the lowest crime rates of any city in Germany and the lowest unemployment rates for people with migrant background.

For a selection of library resources related to this Good Idea, see sidebar at right.

Hier geht es zur Fallstudie auf der Seite Demographie Konkret (Bertelsmann Stiftung): Stuttgart – Stabsstelle für Integration.

Making it Work for You:

  • To be effective, integration strategies should address long-term goals and include the application of system-wide programs and policies across all domains.
  • The endorsement of the Mayor of Stuttgart was important to the success of the municipal integration strategy. Find a well-placed champion in your organization to support new initiatives.
  • A strong coalition of like-minded organizations with common interests can make your advocacy more powerful and therefore more effective. Where are your project's allies and friends?
  • The success of Stuttgart is the result of a process that is both top down and multi-storied, AND motivated by tangible results. How could this approach map to your situation?

For this Good Idea contact:

Gari Pavkovic
Head of the Department for Integration Policy
Stuttgart, Germany,

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