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About the Germanic-American Institute

Our History

The Germanic-American Institute’s predecessor, the Volksfest Association of Minnesota, was formed in 1957 as a collaborative group of Germanic clubs, celebrating Minnesota’s statehood centennial in public festivities. By selling bonds and a variety of volunteer fundraising efforts,  the organization purchased the Summit Avenue Haus for $60,000 in 1965, and refurbished it to suit the needs of a Kulturhaus for social and cultural gatherings. In the early 1990s, the organization changed its name to the Germanic-American Institute (GAI) to reflect the changing demographics and focus of the organization.

The Present

Today, the Germanic-American Institute is a 501 C3 non-profit organization whose mission is to foster appreciation and understanding of the culture, language, arts, and ongoing history of the German speaking peoples through public educational and cultural programs.

The GAI carries out its mission through three main areas: Education, Cultural Programming, and Community Building. Within these areas, we offer:


    • Kinderstube German Immersion Preschool
    • Children’s Saturday school and summer language camps
    • Sponsor of the Twin Cities German Immersion School
    • Language classes for adults
    • Individualized tutoring for children and adults
    • Test center for Goethe Institut proficiency exams
    • Library with German language books, films, CDs, & games

      Cultural Programming

      • Public events such as Deutsche Tage, Holiday Open Haus, Karneval Tanzparty, and summer Biergarten series
      • Fall & Spring Culture series featuring authors, speakers, film screenings, and performers from across the U.S. and Europe
      • German culture classes on topics ranging from waltz lessons to German baking

      Community Building

      • Interest-based groups such as a Knitting & Crochet group, Skatklub for fans of the German card game, and a group for Model Train enthusiasts
      • Monthly community gatherings to enjoy German food, conversation, and socializing
      • Regular opportunities to volunteer and actively participate at events
      • Partnerships with other cultural organizations in the Twin Cities such as the German American Chamber of Commerce, the St. Paul Landmark Center, and the Minnesota Opera

      Our Values

      The Germanic-American Institute operates with a commitment to the following principles:
        Community: We foster international community building across generations and welcome all people to gather at the Haus to experience and engage in Germanic culture and hospitality. We seek to continually build stronger, personal connections between Minnesota, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.        
          Language:  We believe that multi-lingualism creates better world citizens. We offer and advocate for high-quality educational programs that teach German at all levels.
            Education: We provide a venue for deepening the understanding of contemporary, cross-cultural issues and the exchange of ideas between the U.S. and German-speaking people. We are committed to supporting the Twin Cities German Immersion School.
              Authenticity: We strive to reflect authentic German, Austrian, and Swiss culture and work to dismantle superficial stereotypes.
                Stewardship: We value historic architecture preservation and implement environmental sustainability in our programs and operations.  We take great pride in owning an historic mansion that is part of St. Paul’s legacy.
                  Social Responsibility: We produce cultural programs that reflect the multi-cultural, multi-faceted identity of the modern German-speaking world.  We provide education on the full spectrum of Germany’s complex and difficult past and offer a venue for respectful reflection and healing.
                    Celebration: We embrace the tradition of Lebenslust and joyfully celebrate our heritage through music, dance, theater, art, and cuisine.
                       301 Summit Avenue • Saint Paul, MN 55102
                    Phone: 651-222-7027 • Fax: 651-222-6295 • Contact Us
                    © 2018 Germanic-American Institute. All Rights Reserved.