Gegründet 1947 als Deutsche Zeitschrift für europäisches Denken

Der Merkur setzt Monat für Monat die Standards für politische und kulturelle Essayistik im deutschsprachigen Raum.

About us

Founded in 1947, Merkur is published for more than sixty years – an exceptionally long life for a German cultural magazine.

Merkur is a classic cultural magazine, in which the political and the cultural-aesthetic, to name two of the central themes, are not pitted against but rather paired excitingly with one another. The Humboldtian idea of a well-rounded person naturally is at the heart of this combination – a venerable and all but anachronistic concept. Merkur is not an academic magazine (though most of its readers have academic backgrounds, and many of its authors are university folk). It addresses a knowledgeable, open-minded, curious audience uninterested in merely having its opinion reaffirmed. This group was once called the educated bourgeoisie. Merkur was never an organ of a political party or of a particular world view, which means its readership cannot be defined by political or aesthetic criteria. Quite the opposite. Astute contradiction of the prevailing opinion (and even of the editors') belongs to the magazine's mandate.

Merkur is not an archive of humanistic educational ideas; it cannot succeed as a type of loftier Reader's Digest, as a smorgasbord of somehow interesting articles, nor as an expert magazine confined to a narrow selection subject matter. On the contrary, every subject can appear on the pages of Merkur, so long as it fulfils three conditions: intellectually original but not necessarily scholarly, relevant for educated but not specifically oriented readers, and presented in elegant essayistic form without academic fluff. Merkur devotes its energy to composing a coherent melody from a wide variety of articles that communicate with, support, or contradict one another.

A publication like Merkur is molded by its editors: Hans Paeschke and Joachim Moras (died 1961) from 1947 to 1978, Hans Schwab-Felisch from 1979 to 1983, Karl Heinz Bohrer from 1984 to 2012, and Kurt Scheel at Bohrer's side since 1991. In 2012 Christian Demand has taken the reigns as the magazine's editor. Being editor means finding important topics and excellent authors, but that is only possible with solid economic backing. Since 1968, Merkur has been supported by the Verlag Ernst Klett (since 1977 Klett-Cotta), which established the Ernst H. Klett Foundation Merkur in 1978, thereby ensuring the magazine's existence and independence.

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