Looking back and ahead at „Democracy under Construction“ in Gdansk

What was, what is, and what will be…

The year 1989 turned the political landscape in Europe on its head and started transformation processes in many Eastern European states. Some of these processes continue to this day. 25 years on the German-Polish Youth Office commissioned planpolitik to invite young Europeans to take a look back at the events of 1989 and develop visions for the future of Europe.

What was? Under which circumstances did long-standing power elites of states like Poland, the GDR and Czechoslovakia enter a dialogue with civil society representatives in 1989/90? This is the key question at the heart of the simulation game „Understanding the Mechanisms of 1989 in Europe“, which we played with the participants on our first day in Gdansk. The fictional communist country of Allonia is financially and politically bankrupt and is about to descend into a violent revolution. In order to prevent bloodshed, different interest groups gather at the round table and try to find a compromise solution. Everyone has their own agenda, and some are playing a double game. Through their roles, the 23 participants from Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic experienced the dynamics that dominate a round table, the inequalities between the different parties, how the interests of singular actors can torpedo consensus and how the covert activities of the secret services can create an atmosphere of distrust and fear.

What is and what will be? The location for our second event was special for all involved: inside the newly opened Centre for European Solidarity, an exhibition room containing a replica of the historic round table had been reserved for us to take a look into the future. During a future workshop, the participants critically assessed the current state of Europe and formed small groups to develop ideas, visions and first concrete proposals for further strengthening democracy and participation in Europe, making the younger generations voices heard and actually bring Europe closer to its citizens. In the concluding plenary session, the ideas and their feasibility were presented by the separate groups and then discussed together.

Facts + Figures

Target group

Participants of “Democracy under Construction”

  • Understand the functioning of round tables
  • Develop ideas for Europe’s future

German-Polish Youth Office


2 days

Number of participants








  • We are very happy with the cooperation and would like to thank you and, of course, the planpolitik trainers. We are happy to add planpolitik to our database and we will be in touch when similar commissions occur.

    Natalja Salje, German-Polish Youth Office (DPJW)

In the media

  • German-Polish Youth Office (28.10.2014): Video about the project “Democracy under Construction”