»Ohne die deutsche Einheit hätte ich nicht studieren und auch nicht ins Ausland gehen können. Es bedeutet für mich Freiheit.«

Anonym from Jena, born 1983 in the DDR

With its Eichplatz, Jena boasts the perfect location for the Zukunftszentrum – Centre for German Unity and European Transformation: centrally located, with a lively history of transformation and, up to the present day, a symbol of democracy and civic engagement. The realisation of the Zukunftszentrum – Centre for German Unity and European Transformation through 2028 fits perfectly with the planning for Jena’s most important urban development area. Furthermore, the entire city and region are always well worth a visit and offer an attractive environment to live and work.

@City of Jena, photo: Steffen Walther

Whether you’re travelling by train, plane or car, Jena is easy to get to. Every year, many millions of domestic and international guests are drawn to the “city of light”, and in the past 20 years, the number of residents has grown. Jena is an attractive location – and the site for the Zukunftszentrum – Centre for German Unity and European Transformation is in the heart of it all.

Eichplatz: The future in the centre!

380 metres from the train station Paradies, just 150 metres from the transport hub Holzmarkt, with the Rathaus, JenTower and university directly nearby – it could hardly be more central. At the Eichplatz, the Future Centre will be rooted in the beating heart of the city. It’s not for nothing that the square is known to residents as the “central square”, as it was officially called until 1979. The name “Eichplatz” [Oak Square] used today comes from 1816, when a peace oak was planted in the centre in connection with the liberation movements of the 19th century. The colours of the German federal flag – black, red, gold – come from Jena.

The transformational history of the place is not only reflected in names. The square came into existence literally over night due to a fire, which broke out in 1806. Until 1969, it continued to exist in its original form, despite severe bombing during the Second World War. As a result of a decision by the Council of Ministers of the GDR, large areas of the historic inner city, as well as numerous buildings surrounding the Eichplatz, were torn down and a new centre with a university high-rise, today’s JenTower, was built. The square itself served as a parade ground for large demonstrations or mass events. During the reunification period, the Eichplatz was the main setting for the Peaceful Revolution. Here, the citizens’ movement of 1989/90 gathered for numerous demonstrations and hosted forums with up to 40,000 people.

Even today, the Eichplatz is a crystallisation point for democratic engagement – a symbol of transformation and cooperative urban development with active citizen participation. The shape of the area has been the subject of discussion and debate for decades and four planning processes have failed. From this experience, the city decided in 2015 in favour of a comprehensive process of citizen participation. The urban planning framework for the Eichplatz area is the result of a workshop and participation process. The first phase of construction has since been realised – the Zukunftszentrum – Centre for German Unity and European Transformation fits perfectly into the further planning and can be realised by 2028.

More about Eichplatz

@City of Jena, photo: Steffen Walther

Jena: Always worth a trip!

Jena offers the hoped for one million annual guests and the 200 future staff members of the Zukunftszentrum – Centre for German Unity and European Transformation an attractive overall package. The city on the Saale, embedded in green nature between shell limestone hills, is the second largest city in Thuringia with around 110,000 residents.

Whether you are tracing the footsteps of Hegel, Fichte, Schiller or Goethe, reaching for the stars in the longest-serving planetarium in the world, buying regional products at the weekly market or cheering on a football game with FC Carl Zeiss – all that and much more is waiting to be discovered in Jena. A fascinating and diverse surrounding area in the Saale valley is only a short trip away, inviting you to rest out of reach of the city and daily life – on foot, by bike or by canoe.

Jena, the “city of light”, boasts an excellent quality of life, a high level of education and a wide range of cultural and leisure activities.

More about Jena as travel destination
More about Jena for working and living