Foto für Meet Your Neighbours von Dominik Butzmann
© Dominik Butzmann
Contact PersonElisabeth Wellershaus


Photo: Juliette Moarbes

Meet Your Neighbours

Instead of talking about each other, we are talking with each other – dialogues in libraries, community centres and other meeting places.

This is Meet Your Neighbours

Meet Your Neighbours is a project that promotes talks between migrants and old-established people throughout Germany. At storytelling evenings and multilingual discussions, supposed strangers get to know each other and exchange ideas. At the centre of this exchange is the topic „work“. Because people from war and conflict zones bring more with them than their story of how they had to leave their home countries. At Meet Your Neighbours, they contribute their expertise and talk about their work and everyday life.

To understand their experiences in everyday German life, we have to ask ourselves the following questions: How do people who have come to Germany tie in with their own biographical history? What kind of expertise do they bring with them? What are their goals and wishes? Work plays a central role in these questions.

At Meet Your Neighbours, migrants themselves speak out and people from the neighbourhood have the opportunity to listen to them and meet them. In tandem with German colleagues from different fields of work, a shared view of the common activity is created.

Meet Your Neighbours organizes events primarily in rural areas. The focus is on social spaces and living environments that differ significantly from urban centres (where the project was primarily active until 2020). In the current project phase, we are planning events primarily in the Ruhr region and in eastern German regions.

We organize events together with associations, migrant organisations, associations, bookstores, libraries and private persons. They all contribute to Meet Your Neighbours creating a protected setting for discussions in as many places as possible.

What Meet Your Neighbours changes

When „strangers“ are no longer perceived as foreign, fears dwindle and make room for joint action, for togetherness. At Meet Your Neighbours people with shared and different experiences meet in a protected space. This is how relationships develop. The shared view of a social sphere of action makes it possible to formulate political demands. Finally, the access to certain professions and activities should be made easier. The first step is always a personal conversation.

What Meet Your Neighbours has achieved so far

Since 2016 Meet Your Neighbours has organised over 60 events throughout Germany. Amongst others we have been in Berlin, Bonn, Bremen, Bruchsal, Dresden, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Jena, Cologne, Mainz, Munich, Nienburg/Weser, Rostock, Stralsund, Wismar, Bergen on Rügen and Greifswald. In addition, a Meet Your Neighbours festival was held in Munich’s Monacensia at the beginning of 2018. All events have shown how enriching diversity is. And we are sticking to that!


We are happy about everyone who wants to get involved in the Meet Your Neighbours project. If you want to get involved and organise an event in your own town or in your own bookshop, library or community centre, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Meet Your Neighbours is a project from WIR MACHEN DAS / wearedoingit e.V. in collaboration with Stiftung Mercator.

Logo der Stiftung Mercator

We would like to thank our cooperation partners from the previous project phases: Fonds Soziokultur, Allianz Kulturstiftung and Stiftung :do.

Fonds Soziokultur