Smart Country
Smart Country takes a look at the challenges we face in the 21st century. Smart technology and systems can help ensure participation to involve everyone and secure equal standards of living in both urban and rural areas.

Ensuring Participation for Everyone

Smart Country

Three trends currently pose great challenges for our society: digitization, increasing social divisions and demographic change. These trends impact almost all areas of life. Despite the fundamental right to equal standards of living our constitution promises, these trends may lead to increasing social divisions in Germany. Society must play an active role in preventing this trend from becoming a reality. Digitization presents new opportunities for guaranteeing equal standards of living and civic involvement. It is clear that conditions differ greatly around Germany. The constitutional right to equal standards of living is increasingly at risk. Ensuring participation and equal opportunities for all regions and groups of people represents an important challenge faced by society.

Portrait Toomas Hendrik Ilves


Toomas Hendrik Ilves receives the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017

This year’s Reinhard Mohn Prize “Smart Country: Connected. Intelligent. Digital.” will go to Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the former President of Estonia. We award him the prize in honor of his pioneering work on the promotion of digitalization in government, education and public services. Ilves will be awarded the prize worth €200,000 at a ceremony in Gütersloh on June 29. read more

Digitale Landkarte vor Baustelle

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017

Smart Country

Smart Country addresses the challenges of the 21st century. Intelligent technology and connectivity can help everyone participate and can ensure equal standards of living in urban and rural areas. read more

Project topics

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Smart Country

Health and Care

Access to sufficient medical and care services is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain across the whole country. It is particularly important to consider this issue in the context of a rapidly ageing population. read more

Smart Country

Work and the Economy

Two megatrends—demographic change and digitization—are particularly apparent in the world of work. Substantial changes are particularly evident in this field. So as not to miss out, the on-site situation must be adapted to suit these new ways of working and the value they create. What exactly is changing, and how can we make this transition work? read more

Smart Country

Policy and Public Administration

Policy and public administration are especially needed in shaping the move to digital. This will only work if changes are made to the negotiating and decision-making processes, where greater transparency and participation is needed. Integrating modern information and communication technology can help here. And many people are aware of this. read more

Smart Country

Mobility and Logistics

Both home and work places need to be accessible both in physical and digital terms. Mobility in both regards is increasingly lacking. Logistics concepts are no longer up-to-date. read more

Smart Country

Learning and Information

Access to information along with the capacity to organize this access are key to participation in our society. Not everyone has the chance to benefit from this opportunity. read more

Project news

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Bird’s-eye view of Tallinn


Estonia: The Country in the Cloud

Estonia is considered a pioneer in the area of digitization. People there benefit from a wide range of digital solutions – solutions that are easily accessible and can be used by anyone. Why has digitization in Estonia been so successful? Here’s your chance to find out. read more

Panoranaansicht Wien


Open Government – Austria shows what’s possible

In recent years, Austria has repeatedly been crowned “European Champion” when it comes to e-government. Within the country, the city of Vienna has taken on a pioneering role. read more

Impression aus der schwedischen Hauptstadt Stockholm: Blick auf den Strandvägen vom Kai zum Nybroviken aus

20.10.2016, International Research

Sweden’s Digitalization Strategy—A Model for Germany?

Digitalization is a trending topic, but one that is often fraught with dystopian views. Not so in Sweden, where, as part of our research for the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017, talks with those at the cutting edge of digitalization revealed what great opportunities digitalization has to offer. read more

Zeitrafferaufnahmen von einer Autobahnbrücke auf die Autobahn. Es ist dunkel. Zu sehen sind nur die Scheinwerfer in langen rot und gelben Linien.

Commuter Flows—Wennigsen

Wennigsen—A “Smart” residential area of Hanover

Some 85% of all employees from Wenningsen/Deister commute and work in other municipalities: Ideal parameters for digitalization to work. read more

Mediathek Smart Country

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Smart Country – Estonia is the Country in the Cloud

Estonia is considered a pioneer in the area of digitization. People there benefit from a wide range of digital solutions – solutions that are easily accessible and can be used by anyone. We had a look at how things are done on site. read more

Key figures for Estonia in comparison to other countries

Infographics – Key Figures for Estonia

Key figures for Estonia in comparison to Austria, Sweden, Israel and Germany. read more

Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017

Brigitte Mohn on the topic “Smart Country”

“We want more digitization in Germany - and we need it, too. We want to become faster.” Brigitte Mohn, member of the Bertelsmann Stiftung's Executive Board, invites you to accompany us on our way to the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2017 which focuses on the topic “Smart Country”. read more

Social Media at a Glance



Data provides for a quick insight. Behind the facts and figures, however, you’ll often find a lot more: stories, insights, experiences—and people. weiterlesen

Mobile App

Community Guide

This free app gives answers to the question “How is my city developing?” and information about demographic trends in every German municipality with more than 5,000 inhabitants. weiterlesen