Special Olympics World Games 2023


Jena is one of seven Thuringian cities that will be host town municipality for athletes of the Special Olympic World Games from June 12 to 15, 2023. In addition to hosting the sports delegation from Latvia, Jena will promote the coexistence of people with and without disabilities as well as different nations and cultures with an inclusion festival from June 10 to 11, 2023.

Lord Mayor Dr. Thomas Nitzsche is looking forward to welcoming the delegation from Latvia to the city:

"Jena will be a worthy host for the numerous guests from Latvia in the summer of 2023. We will use the host program to make topics of inclusion even more visible with a festival. We celebrate sport and we celebrate diversity. The topics from the "Inclusive Jena" action plan will thus become even more visible."

Head of Sports Benjamin Koppe emphasizes:

"Jena is hosting the Special Olympics World Games because we don't just want to be a sports city, but are consciously setting out on the path to a more inclusive Jena sports landscape. By sensibly linking our role as host for the Special Olympics and the organization of the "Schranken Los!" festival, we succeed in closely dovetailing the themes of sports, culture and inclusion. Now we need to take advantage of the opportunities and networks resulting from the coordination of the Host Town project to further advance the issue of self-determined participation of people with disabilities in our urban society."

Barriers Go! - A festival that wants to reach out to everyone

A barrier blocks the way. The barrier must be opened so that people can move on. That's exactly what the Schranken Los! festival is trying out. Eva Göbel is production manager for the festival and says: "How do we overcome barriers that block people's access to culture? What do these barriers look like? We want to look closely and listen to each other. With "Go!" we're calling on everyone to join in."

There will be a diverse cultural program during the festival weekend on June 10 and 11, 2023. Everyone is cordially invited! Venues are

  • on the theater forecourt
  • in the courtyard of the Villa Schillerstraße 5
  • in Schiller's garden
  • on the rehearsal stage in the Theaterhaus Jena

Concerts, public talks, workshops, theater, readings and much more are planned. The program is designed to appeal to all the senses and overcome barriers. Many events will be translated into sign language. All information is easy to understand. There are helpers on site who can support people.

Numerous partners are involved in the preparation of the festival. With it are:

  • Anders Gleich e.V.
  • Action Wandlungswelten
  • AWO
  • Eye point
  • Advisory council for people with disabilities of the city of Jena
  • Diakonie
  • Jena Caputs e.V.
  • Kassablanca
  • Kindermusikwerkstatt
  • Cinema Schillerhof
  • Artistic evening school Jena e.V.
  • Querwege e.V.
  • Radio OKJ
  • Saale care work of the life assistance
  • Theater House Jena
  • Thüringer Roll.Laden e.V.

Sponsors of the festival are the Heidehof Foundation, Sparkasse Jena, Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Hessen-Thüringen and Zeiss Förderfonds. The City of Jena's Department 4 for Families, Education and Social Affairs is also helping to finance the project.

Initial information about the festival is available at www.schrankenlos-jena.de. The website will be further developed in the coming weeks and program items will be added.

Jena as host city for athletes from Latvia

Last summer, the organizing committee of the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 published which international delegations will be distributed to which host city. Jena will host the delegation from Latvia. About 34 people, including athletes, coaches and support staff, will travel to Jena to get to know the culture, which is foreign to them, to gain experience in exchange, to experience cultural activities of the city and to make international friends.

To this end, the project team led by sports officer Vanessa Baum has put together a colorful and varied program:

  • On Monday, June 12, 2023, there will be a reception with picnic on the Saale River with the support of the integrative and bilingual daycare BiLLY (QuerWege e.V.) will take place.
  • On Tuesday, 13.06.2023, an experimental laboratory at the Universaale (QuerWege e.V.) is planned in the morning, followed by a stadium tour. In the afternoon there will be joint training sessions with sports clubs from Jena. The evening will end at the Lebenshilfe Jena.
  • On Wednesday, 14.06.2023, there will be disabled sports games in the morning at the Jena disabled sports club, in the afternoon the Stifterlauf with a subsequent inclusive disco at the Paradiescafe.
  • On Thursday, 15.06.2023, the departure to Berlin will follow after a city tour.

Inclusive Jena

Inclusion is a human right enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The goals of the convention formed the basis for the development of an action plan "Inclusive Jena" which was adopted by the city council in 2017 and has been continuously implemented since then. 8860 people with severe disabilities live in Jena. It is the concern of the city of Jena to promote the equal and self-determined participation of people with disabilities and to remove barriers in all areas of society.

About the Special Olympics World Games

The Special Olympics World Games for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities will come to Germany for the first time from June 17-25, 2023. It is the world's largest inclusive sporting event, with thousands of athletes competing in 26 sports and 2 demonstration sports. The Host Town Program will take place four days before the actual World Games. In the process, the international guests are welcomed in 216 Host Towns throughout Germany. Jena is among the seven host cities in Thuringia.

Sportbeauftragte Vanessa Baum, Ines Muskalla vom Beirat für Menschen mit Behinderungen und Eva Göbel, Produktionsleiterin für das SchrankenLos-Festival
Sportbeauftragte Vanessa Baum, Ines Muskalla vom Beirat für Menschen mit Behinderungen und Eva Göbel, Produktionsleiterin für das SchrankenLos-Festival