Denknetz is Switzerland’s social critic of a think-tank. Our credo is the universality of human rights: for us the fundamental values of freedom, equality and solidarity form an indivisible whole. We are an independent association, which makes us a bottom-up think-tank. Our base is 1,500 members as of Dec. 2018, and around 150 active volunteers in subject groups, projects and committees. Fourteen different organizations support Denknetz as institutional members, including the Federation of Swiss Trade Unions, the Social-Democratic Party and the Young Greens.

Denknetz intends to offer a platform for exchanges among people from different progressive communities, free from the limitations imposed by the logic of institutional politics. We seek to develop fundamental concepts leading to reform, with no need for the tactical manoeuvres typical of routine politics. The various Denknetz subject groups and the central group thus develop ideas, among others, for making the economy and finance (more) democratic, the fight to change the pharmaceutical industry so it serves the interests of the population, the care of people in advanced old age, guaranteeing pensions, the future of work, fiscal redistribution of society’s wealth, the path leading to a global society of care, and the future of democracy.

The active members of Denknetz come from many very different communities. Many are active in NGOs, political parties, movements or trade unions, others are students or teach and do research, many work in private industry or public service or have retired. This variety is important for us and provides the basis for what we call democratic expertise, which is people with different knowledge, experiences and traditions all joining together in reflection.

Denknetz is mostly based in German Switzerland at the moment, but with our regional group Suisse Romande we are getting established in French Switzerland as well. Anyone who shares our basic values may become a member of Denknetz, with a membership fee of CHF 100.- for those with a normal income, CHF 40.- for those with no or a very low income, and CHF 400.- for those who in addition would like to support us as a sponsor.

In February 2017 Denknetz together with 24 partners organized a large congress entitled Reclaim Democracy, with 1,800 participants ( A follow-up congress will take place in Zürich on 27-29 February 2020.

The President of Denknetz is Ruth Daellenbach, development and cooperation expert and former director of Solidar Suisse. Her predecessors were Ruth Gurny, Professor of Sociology, Urs Marti, Professor of Political Philosophy, and Andreas Rieger, former co-president of the largest trade union in Switzerland, Unia.

The Denknetz office is under the responsibility of Beat Ringger, assisted by Simon Rutz. Holger Schatz is Scientific Editor. The committee consists of Ruth Daellenbach, David Gallusser, Tamara Funiciello, Barbara Gysi, Dore Heim, Verena Keller, Katharina Prelicz-Huber, Andi Rieger, Walter Schöni and Bernhard Walpen.

Denknetz publications:

  • Denknetz Annual, each organized around one main subject (published every October)
  • Denknetz monographs (one or two per year)
  • Denknetz News (published twice a year in 25,000 copies and distributed as a supplement of the Wochenzeitung WOZ)
  • The Denknetz web site, currently containing a library of around 600 articles reflecting the work of Denknetz
  • A Denknetz video channel, with around 30 productions a year
  • An online presence with a newsletter and on social media