Ger­many and bar­rier-free? Not at all!

Unfortunately, accessibility is still a dream for many people in Germany. But what is being done to achieve this dream?

We encoun­ter bar­riers in every situa­tion, but peo­ple with disa­bi­li­ties are affec­ted much more fre­quently. But what are bar­riers in ever­y­day life? The word bar­rier basi­cally means an obs­ta­cle. These obs­ta­cles can include thres­holds, high steps or a lack of gui­dance sys­tems. Howe­ver, some mea­su­res such as stair rai­lings or simi­lar fall pro­tec­tion sys­tems are neces­sary to pre­vent acci­dents. A so-cal­led “dou­ble crossing” also offers a bar­rier-free option. A dou­ble crossing is a gui­dance sys­tem for the blind in which the kerb is remo­ved and a “fin­ding strip” made of stud­ded pla­tes takes its place. Eli­mi­na­ting the kerb makes it easy for wheel­chair users to cross.


In addi­tion to the phy­si­cal bar­rier, there are also other bar­riers, such as the com­mu­ni­ca­tive bar­rier. Accor­ding to the Fede­ral Agency for Acces­si­bi­lity, acces­si­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion is defi­ned as fol­lows: “Acces­si­ble com­mu­ni­ca­tion includes all mea­su­res to reduce com­mu­ni­ca­tion bar­riers in dif­fe­rent situa­tio­nal fields of action.


There are count­less com­mu­ni­ca­tion bar­riers, whe­ther they are “merely” annoy­ing or actually have serious con­se­quen­ces. These range from an inter­com sys­tem in the ele­va­tor to chan­ges in public trans­port time­ta­bles that are only published via one chan­nel and the­r­e­fore peo­ple with a disa­bi­lity are not even aware of the infor­ma­tion. An inter­com sys­tem can also be life-threa­tening in the event of a faulty ele­va­tor, as mute peo­ple have no way of ope­ra­ting the sys­tem and fol­lo­wing instructions.


Human Action

Aktion Mensch is the lar­gest social orga­niza­tion in Ger­many. For almost 60 years, it has been com­mit­ted to inclu­sion and the equal par­ti­ci­pa­tion of all peo­ple. Through num­e­rous cam­paigns, such as ramps made from Lego bricks and the #Inkluen­cer cam­paign, they draw atten­tion to bar­riers and dis­ad­van­ta­ges in ever­y­day life.

In 2018, Aktion Mensch published the first inclu­sive children’s book series. The aim of the children’s book series “Die Bunte Bande” is to teach child­ren about diver­sity, par­ti­ci­pa­tion and cohe­sion. What makes the children’s book series so spe­cial is that the sto­ries can be read in ever­y­day lan­guage, plain lan­guage and Braille.

With its cur­rent awa­re­ness cam­paign #orte­für­alle, Aktion Mensch wants to draw atten­tion to the fact that a bar­rier-free society is still a distant dream. An inter­ac­tive slide­show of three dif­fe­rent peo­ple, each with indi­vi­dual limi­ta­ti­ons, gives an insight into their ever­y­day lives.




Agenda 2030

The 2030 Agenda con­ta­ins 17 over­ar­ching the­mes for sus­tainable deve­lo­p­ment. The tenth goal is aimed at redu­cing ine­qua­li­ties. In order to achieve this goal, it is the­r­e­fore important to ensure a bar­rier-free envi­ron­ment and pro­vide bar­rier-free access for all groups of people.


Only a bar­rier-free envi­ron­ment takes into account the needs of all people.