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Free Software Foundation Europe
Formation10 March 2001 (21 years ago) (2001-03-10)
TypeCharitable organization
Legal statusGerman registered association (eingetragener Verein)
HeadquartersHamburg, Germany[1]
Region served
Matthias Kirschner
Heiki Lõhmus
Georg Greve
Former Presidents
Georg Greve, Karsten Gerloff
Main organ
Core Team
AffiliationsFSF* network
c. €600,000
Formerly called
FSF Europe

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is an eingetragener Verein (registered voluntary association) under German law. It was founded in 2001 to support all aspects of the free software movement in Europe, with registered chapters in several European countries.[2] It is the European sister organization of the US-based Free Software Foundation (FSF).[3] FSF and FSFE are financially and legally separate entities.

FSFE believes that access to (and control of) software determines who may participate in a digital society. Consequently, FSFE believes, the freedoms to use, copy, modify and redistribute software, as described in The Free Software Definition, are necessary for equal participation in the Information Age.[4]


The focus of FSFE's work is political, legal, and social, with the aim of promoting free software and the ethical, philosophical, social, political and commercial values that it implements.[5] In particular, it:

Example projects

Official "Public Money? Public Code" campaign video
FSFE representatives at the OpenRheinRuhr, Bottrop, Germany
FSFE representatives at the OpenRheinRuhr, Bottrop, Germany

Each month, FSFE publishes a newsletter, in multiple languages (including English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish), of their activities that can be mentioned in public.[27]


From FSFE's published "Self-Conception": "The people of the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE), see ourselves as Europeans from different cultures with the shared goal of co-operation across cultures and of developing a common culture of co-operation from a regional to a global level. We form a non-profit non-governmental organisation and network that itself is part of a global network of people with common goals and visions. We are not representative for anyone but ourselves and our work. Our common work and dedication to freedom in all aspects of digital society is what defines us."[28]

Internally, the FSFE has a consensus-oriented, team structure in which participation is determined by each person's willingness to participate and do work. A democratic and representative-democratic model functions as a fallback for when the consensus-based approach either reaps no results or a quick decision is needed.

Legal structure

The FSFE has a modular legal structure with a central "Hub" organisation and the possibility of local legal bodies, called "chapters". The Hub is a charitable association ("e.V.") which is registered in Germany.

As well as being in regular contact with the other FSFs — FSF, Free Software Foundation India (FSFI), Free Software Foundation Latin America (FSFLA) — FSFE has a structure of organizations which are official associates.[29] These are mostly national-level free software groups.


In 2010, FSFE received the Theodor Heuss Medal in recognition of its work for freedom in the information society.[30] The medal is awarded once a year in Stuttgart by a non-partisan foundation named after West Germany's first president.[31]

See also


  1. ^ "Imprint". Free Software Foundation Europe e.V. (FSFE). Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  2. ^ "FSFE's legal structure". Retrieved 20 January 2012.
  3. ^ "The FSF* network". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  4. ^ "Promoting innovation and growth through Horizon 2020". Retrieved 24 August 2020.
  5. ^ "About Free Software Foundation Europe". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  6. ^ "Public Money? Public Code! - FSFE". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  7. ^ "Public Money? Public Code! 31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  8. ^ a b c d (FSFE), Free Software Foundation Europe. "Public Money, Public Code". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  9. ^ "Sign the Petition: Public Money Should Produce Public Code - Creative Commons". Creative Commons. 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  10. ^ "Public Money? Public Code! 22 Organizations Seek to Improve Public Software Procurement | Open Source Initiative". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  11. ^ Malcolm, Jeremy (2017-10-24). "Public Money, Public Code: Show Your Support For Free Software in Europe". Electronic Frontier Foundation. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  12. ^ "Public Money? Public Code! - EDRi". EDRi. 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  13. ^ "L'April rejoint 30 autres organisations pour la campagne " Argent public ? Code Public ! " | April". (in French). Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  14. ^ "CCC | Open Letter: Public Money? Public Code!". Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  15. ^ "Pressemitteilungen/PM 09 13 Public Money Public Code – Wikimedia Deutschland". (in German). Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  16. ^ "Are Governments Held Hostage? Why openSUSE Supports Public Money Public Code". openSUSE News. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  17. ^ "Edward Snowden on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  18. ^ "Public Money? Public Code! 31 organisations ask to improve public procurement of software". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  19. ^ Albers, Erik. "Using Free Software to build a more democratic, inclusive and sustainable digital society - interview with Francesca Bria, CTO of Barcelona". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  20. ^ "FSFE - Software Patents in Europe". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  21. ^ "FSFE and the antitrust case against Microsoft". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  22. ^ "FSFE - Observing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  23. ^ "FSFE Legal - The Freedom Task Force". Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  24. ^ "Fiduciary Licence Agreement (FLA) - FSFE Legal". FSFE - Free Software Foundation Europe. Retrieved 2018-04-17.
  25. ^ "REUSE website".
  26. ^ "SPDX for KF5/KF6 Status Update".
  27. ^ "FSFE Newsletter".
  28. ^ "FSFE's Self-Conception".
  29. ^ "Associate Organisations - FSFE". Retrieved 19 July 2014.
  30. ^ "FSFE Receives Theodor Heuss Medal » Linux Magazine". Linux Magazine. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  31. ^ "Free Software Foundation Europe receives Theodor Heuss Medal". 10 May 2010.