About Us

The association’s purpose is to facilitate knowledge and learning, particularly around political education, and to support young and old alike in this endeavour. (Art. 2.1 of charter).

Sprache/ Language: DE | EN

History of WEB

On 6 June 1977, Günter Schlatter, Rainer Maedge, Heinz Breidenbend, Karl-Heinz Otten, Horst Becker, Franz Irsfeld and Werner Welke got together in Cologne to found the Willi Eichler Training Institute (WEB – Willi-Eichler-Bildungswerk). Günter Schlatter was chosen as chairman, and Rainer Maedge and Karl-Heinz Otten as his two deputies.

The group also considered establishing their own educational institution alongside the training institute. Not having taken their initial ideas further, the WEB began talking to “Radberg-Jugendheim Braunkohle GmbH” who until 1977 had been running its own educational facility in Bad Münstereifel. The limited company status was jointly assumed by Rheinbraun AG and IG Bergbau. On 14 December 1977, a notarial purchase agreement was concluded between Radberg-Jugendheim-Braunkohle GmbH and the WEB. The WEB had found its own educational establishment, holding WEB seminars from April 1978. The centre had to be given up, however, at the end of 1999.

Hans-Walter Schulten, managing director of the WEB, was able to report at the general meeting of 5 September 1978 on 3027 participant days having been held in just the first half of the year. Seminars took place on the topics of economic policy, local politics, social policy, media and educational policy.

WEB seminars have been attended by more than 60,000 participants since 1978.
Focus topics have been continually geared in this time toward the current political landscape. Our events address topics such as living democracy and participation, immigration and integration, education and skills training for political action, demographic change and many others. Seminars too for jurors and honorary judges form an important part of WEB’s seminar work.

The association Verein für politische Bildung und Information Bonn e. V. (VPI Bonn) amalgamated with WEB to form Willi-Eichler-Akademie e. V. on 1 January 2015.

Willi Eichler profile

  • Born on 7 January 1896, the son of a post office clerk in Berlin
  • Elementary school and commercial education
  • Soldier in the Great War
  • Secretary to philosopher Leonard Nelson in Göttingen, who in 1917 had established the international youth association, an educational community based on ethical ideas and active within the labour movement
  • Member and later chairman of the International Socialist Militant League (ISK – Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampfbund)
  • 1932 return to Berlin; issue of “Der Funke” (The Spark) daily newspaper, campaigning for the creation of a united front in the labour movement in defence of the republic
  • Fled to France following the rise to power of the Nazi regime
  • Publisher of the “Reinhart letters”, distributed secretly in Germany, and of journal “Die Sozialistische Warte” (The Socialist Observatory”
  • Fled to England shortly before the outbreak of World War 2
  • In London, employee on BBC programs for German workers and publisher of the “Europe Speaks” information service
  • 1941 Founding and board member of the “Union of German socialist organisations in the United Kingdom”, merging into the SPD after the war
  • Return to Germany and since 1946 chief editor of the “Rheinische Zeitung” newspaper
  • From 1946 until his death, edited the “Geist und Tat” (Spirit and Action) journal
  • Member of party executive from 1947 to 1968
  • Chairman of the Middle Rhine SPD district from 1947 to 1953
  • Member of the German state parliament for North Rhine-Westphalia, the Frankfurt economic council and the German Bundestag
  • Died on 17 October 1971 in Bonn
  • Within the SPD party executive, Mr Eichler was responsible for the areas of cultural politics and objectives, taking charge among other things of the commission for developing the Godesberg Program. He demonstrated a consistent interest in clarifying fundamental issues of social-democratic policy and political education. It is for this reason that the training institute bears his name.
  • Further information on Willi Eichler’s life and works can be found in two articles of German political magazine Neue Gesellschaft/Frankfurter Hefte:

The Willi Eichler Academy’s Mission Statement

The Willi Eichler Academy is a political education organisation that is guided by the fundamental values of social democracy. The Academy promotes lifelong, inclusive learning and seeks dialogue with all those who see political and civic engagement as an important pillar of our democratic order. This educational work is carried out with a view to sustainable development and global responsibility.


    Employees and address of WEB

    Martin Schilling
    Chairman of the association:
    Email: martin.schilling@web-koeln.de

    Karl-Heinz Otten
    Dr. Hans Walter Schulten
    Claudia Walther 
    Vice Chairman of the Board


    Dr. Sebastian Scharte
    Educational Director

    Social Democracy
    Study trips
    Regional politics / History of North Rhine-Westphalia

    Phone: 0221/168 898 74
    Email: sebastian.scharte@web-koeln.de

    Janina Kremer
    Head of Cologne Office
    Full-time educational assistant

    Financial management
    Quality officer
    Seminar organisation:
    Services for lay assessors

    Phone: 0221/168 898 73
    Email: janina.kremer@web-koeln.de

    Berit Kreutz
    Full-time educational assistant

    Seminar organisation: Services for volunteers and multipliers
    Education for sustainable development/
    Global citizenship education

    Phone: 0221/168 898 71
    Email: berit.kreutz@web-koeln.de

    Ahmad Zaza
    Full-time educational assistant

    Seminar work: “Democracy Factory – Democracy in Local Communities” project

    Phone: 0221/168 898 72
    Email: ahmad.zaza@web-koeln.de

    Dr. Susanne Drake
    Head of Brussels Office

    EU funding programmes/EU institutions
    International partner search and internationalisation of projects – SOLIDAR

    81a Avenue Jan Stobbaerts
    B-1030 Bruxelles
    Phone: +32(0)264 601 31
    Email: susanne.drake@web-koeln.de

    Stefan Stader
    Head of Berlin Office
    Full-time educational assistant

    “Perspectives for a European Identity” project

    Phone: 030/657 706 28
    Email: stefan.stader@web-koeln.de

    Our office hours:
    Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm
    Venloer Wall 15
    50672 Cologne
    Phone: 0221/168 898 70
    Email: kontakt@web-koeln.de

    Advisory board

    Sebastian Welter (advisory board spokesperson) is the managing director of the Academy for International Education [AIB – Akademie für internationale Bildung] in Bonn and has been involved in various areas of international youth and adult education since 1996. Prior to 1999, he was involved in organising “youth leader” seminars intended to promote opinion sharing among junior German and Russian staff in economic, political, scientific and cultural capacities and an exchange program for journalism students from Russia with the Deutsch-Russisches Forum e. V. Subsequent engagements included, initially, coordinating project work in Russia, and later, for the Eastern Europe, South-East Europe and Central Asia regions with the Institute for International Cooperation of the German Adult Education Association, before heading the international youth and adult education specialist department of the WORK AND LIVING federal task force in 2006. He studied Eastern European history and political sciences at the Universities of Tübingen and Bonn.


    Dr. Isabell Lisberg-Haag has been the managing director of Trio Service GmbH (www.trio-medien.de), agency for scientific communication, since 2001. She is a postdoctoral historian and has taught as a DAAD lecturer at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris. She worked at the Haus der Geschichte museum in Bonn before becoming self-employed. Her work is focussed around advising on and designing communication strategies and events in the topic areas of research and academic politics. She applies this field of expertise in graduated PR strategies created across media. As an advisor and tutor to large German tertiary institutions on internal change processes, she maintains very real and helpful contacts in tertiary education. She audits tertiary institutions on the topic of diversity and tutors universities and technical colleges on behalf of the Donor Association for Science in Germany [Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft] in the area of civil society engagement. She produces and implements current academic-political initiatives and events for the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Science.


    Peter Ruhenstroth-Bauer is a solicitor and since 2017 has been managing director of UNO-Flüchtlingshilfe e. V. (www.uno-fluechtlingshilfe.de), the German partner to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR). He is also a lecturer in “political communication/government communication” at the University of Potsdam and the Magdeburg University of Applied Sciences. His professional career prior to 1991 has included serving as a parliamentary correspondent and studio manager at BONN RADIO SERVICE. Since 1992 his career has included press officer, and later department head and representative of the Saarland at the federal level. In 1998 he served as deputy head of the Press and Information Office of the German Federal Government, and in 2002 state secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. He is honorary co-founder of Kreativpakt e. V. (www.kreativpakt.org) and supports the “True colours – promoting cultural awareness in Germany” association (www.gesichtzeigen.de).

    Dr. Markus Schwertel heads the Government Relations department in Central and Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Mediterranean region, the Near and Middle East and Africa at Hewlett Packard. He was previously managing director of NGO “Internet und Gesellschaft Collaboratory e. V.” based in Berlin. Before that, he spent 14 years with Cisco, initially in Germany and Europe with Corporate Social Responsibility programs and most recently in Asia in the Social Innovation Group. Prior to that, he served for eight years as an academic staff member in the German Bundestag. He has conducted training courses for companies, foundations and social organisations across Germany and overseas. Key areas have included project management, creativity, leadership techniques, campaign planning and rhetoric. He completed a master’s degree in political science, sociology and political economics at RWTH Aachen in 1994, and in 2005 completed a master’s at the University of Rostock in media and education. In 2014, he earned a doctorate from TU Berlin on the topic of Public Private Partnership in professional education.


    Claudia-Walther works as a senior project manager for the Bertelsmann Foundation [Bertelsmann Stiftung] and is a member of the regional board of SPD Middle Rhine.
    In both a professional and political capacity, her work focusses around migration and diversity. She has worked for the Bertelsmann Foundation since 2001 and is currently involved in the “Liveable municipality” program” [LebensWerte Kommune].
    Following her master’s degree in political science, German studies and history at RWTH Aachen, she worked for the then North Rhine-Westphalia State Ministry for Gender Equality between 1993/1994. She worked in Vienna for the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY) from 1994 to 1996. She served as managing director of cross-border project EFI in Euregio Maas-Rhein (D/NL/B) from 1996 to 2000.



    Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten e.V.
    Arbeitskreis deutscher Bildungsstätten e.V.

    Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft demokratischer Bildungswerke NRW
    NRW state association of democratic educational institutes

    Gütesiegelverbund Weiterbildung
    Quality seal association for further education

    Netzwerk Politische Bildung
    Political education network

    Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
    Federal Agency for Civic Education
    -Materials, events and training offers for political action-

    Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Nordrhein-Westfalen
    North Rhine-Westphalia regional centre for political education
    -Materials, events and training offers for political action-

    Political education and more

    Bildungswerk Stenden
    Stenden Training Institute (Lower Rhine)

    Heinz Kühn Training Institute

    Gustav Heinemann Training Centre

    Training packages from Herbert Wehner’s homeland

    Information on educational holiday

    Information on educational check

    Information on educational award

    Official sites of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia

    Bezirksregierung Köln
    Cologne district council
    Partner to educational institutions in the region

    Sozialdemokratische Gemeinschaft für Kommunalpolitik
    Social democratic community for local politics
    Parent organisation for social democratic local politicians

    Sozialdemokratische Gemeinschaft für Kommunalpolitik NRW
    North Rhine-Westphalia social democratic community for local politics
    Information and skills training for local action

    Official website of the SPD

    Sprache/ Language: DE | EN