A Nation of Joiners: Sports Clubs in Germany

There is no doubt that America looks back upon a long tradition of voluntarism and civic activity, organized by and large in voluntary organizations, writes Dr. Annette Zimmer, former DAAD/AICGS Fellow and Professor at the University of Münster. But it is not as well known, however, that Germany stands out for its club culture as well, including more than 90,000 registered sports clubs with more than 27 million members. Dr. Zimmer looks at the history of German club culture and concludes that while the overall attitude toward German sports clubs is strong, these clubs will increasingly face membership challenges in the future due to the changing structure of German society.

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The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.