Jürgen Zimmer is dead. This unbelievable message reached us on 21.08.2019. He was 81 years old and was active in science and education until his sudden death.

From 1965, Jürgen Zimmer worked at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin with Professor Hellmut Becker and Professor Shaul B. Robinsohn. As head of the pre-school education department at the German Youth Institute in Munich, he and his team developed the pedagogical concept of the situational approach – probably the most influential pedagogical innovation in the field of day care facilities.

Jürgen Zimmer was professor in Münster and Berlin and founding president of the International Academy for Innovative Pedagogy, Psychology, and Economics at the Free University of Berlin (INA gGmbH); 2006 – 2017 president of INA with 21 institutes and working areas. In 2018, he founded the International Academy for Social Sciences, Organization, and Management – World Citizen Campus – gGmbH (CCW) and became its president.

Jürgen Zimmer distrusted the formal educational institutions and their restrictions, he searched for openings and references to the reality of life. This approach also shaped his international commitment, from South and Central America to Thailand. It was here that the School for Life was founded, which he significantly influenced. “The best for the poorest” was his motto. He pursued the idea of encouraging and empowering people to take matters into their own hands as entrepreneurs and designers of their own lives. In many of his texts and speeches, but above all also in his practical actions, this guiding idea can be found.

Jürgen Zimmer died in Chiang Mai, the city that gave “his” School for Life its name. He still had many plans. The death of Jürgen Zimmer tears a big gap – we will miss him painfully. Many people work according to his ideas: they will live on.

The board of directors and the supporters of the Robinsohn Foundation                                        

Dr. Gerd Harms

Dr. Wolfgang Schirp

Ute Gallmeister

Ulrich Griesdorn

Dr. Hartwig Henke

Ralf Johnen

Petra Johnen

Christian Luther

Thuy Tran Hong

Peter Wolters

Pictures of the funeral of Jürgen Zimmer

School for Life, 2019 08 28

The grave on the grounds of the School for Life