Current Nietzsche Colloquium

Nietzsche Colloquium 2021: “Transvaluation or devaluation of values? – On the topicality of Nietzsche’s social criticism”

Thursday, 30 September, to Sunday, 3 October 2021, all day, Hotel Waldhaus Sils

Nietzsche diagnosed a striking breakdown of values already in his own time. In his view, an all-pervasive nihilism emerged for a variety of reasons, ranging from a loss of cultural unity, the decline of educational institutions, the erosion of the foundations of the state and the end of metaphysics to the self-abdication of morals and the crisis of modern art. Nietzsche saw the breakdown of values as an inevitable consequence of the nihilism pervading all sectors of culture and society. At the same time, though, particularly in his later texts, he also made a case for a transvaluation of all values. To do this, traditional values had to be defined and new criteria for new values had to be found that would not immediately be caught up again in the maelstrom of nihilism. This task has recently acquired a new urgency. The crisis of truth in our own era of “alternative facts” and the all-encompassing “virtual” reality of all human phenomena in the wake of the digital revolution has led to a total arbitrariness of values. Values are set which survive without any justification, circulating freely: groundless values. However, a growing awareness of the global environmental crisis – literally, the desert is growing – has also led to a return of values and moral imperatives, whose status is philosophically largely unexplained, and which appear to, or perhaps have to, ignore Nietzsche’s critique of absolute valuation.

What potential does Nietzsche’s critique of values and his vision of a transvaluation of values have in today’s debates?

The Colloquium is held in German. It is intended both for experts and an interested general public. The events can be attended individually.

Prices: Colloquium ticket CHF 180 (students CHF 50) / individual events CHF 20 (students CHF 10) / concert CHF 30 (students CHF 20). This year there is a registration requirement.

Programme (in German)

Topics of past Nietzsche Colloquiums

The Sils Nietzsche Colloquiums, held since 1978, are intended for both experts and for an interested public in general. They aim to make the results of academic research available to a broader audience and to encourage open, critical reflection and discussion about Nietzsche, his work and its influence. All of the Nietzsche Colloquium events are in German.

Nietzsche Colloquium 2019: THE DOMINANT SUPER-ANIMAL – Nietzsche’s Constructions of Masculinity

Thursday, September 26 to Sunday, September 29, 2019, all day, Hotel Waldhaus Sils

Nietzsche shook up gender stereotypes. Long before the feminist controversy as to whether sex or gender contributed to masculine or feminine sexual identity, he explored the question of how biological factors on the one hand and cultural and social norms on the other affect the self-image of people who are constantly confronted with the conflicting needs of body and mind. As a physiologist, Nietzsche postulated that “at our base, really ‘deep down’ […] there is something unteachable, some granite of spiritual fate” (JGB; KSA 5, 170), the weight of which consistently grounds self-identity. As a philosopher and a psychologist, he was interested in interaction with the ego essence, which stubbornly resists all of the instructions issued ‘from above’. Intellectual claims of validity in the form of moral and social norms are unable to impress gender as they hit ‘granite’ with their demands.

A different coordination between “down” and “above” is therefore necessary. Nietzsche posited a typically ideal construction of masculinity for man “who by his nature is  m a s t e r” (ibid., 293), which he sharply delineates against models of female self-determination. His malicious attacks on “woman as such” are legendary and have been interpreted as misogynous. This has often obscured the fact that he also mocked and ridiculed the role-specific pretensions of men.


Nietzsche Colloquium 2018: Truth and lies

Thursday, September 27 to Sunday, September 30, 2018, all day, Hotel Waldhaus Sils

The dichotomy of truth and lies, which has regained geopolitical significance, lost its innocence with Nietzsche. As we do not possess the truth per se, in a number of ways – not just politically and in the media, but also philosophically and scientifically –  the key question is how do we decide what is the truth and what a lie. Such decisions may be amoral or moral, factual or counterfactual. As “fool”, “bard” and “philosopher of the future”, Nietzsche created a fascinating spectrum for dealing with the irritating grounds for making such decisions.

The Colloquium is intended both for experts and for an interested public in general. The events can be attended separately.

Prices: Colloquium ticket CHF 180 / individual events CHF 20 / concert CHF 30
Advance registration is not necessary.


Nietzsche Colloquium 2017: Zarathustra and Dionysos

Thursday, September 28 to Sunday, October 1, 2017, Waldhaus Hotel Sils

In his late autobiographical text Ecce homo, Friedrich Nietzsche referred to Thus Spake Zarathustra as his seminal work: “Among my writings my Zarathustra stands by itself”; Thus Spake Zarathustra is “truly my loftiest book”. Nietzsche believed that the book’s fundamental tenets were conceived in Sils Maria, “6000 feet beyond man and time”. Also in Ecce homo Nietzsche gratefully acknowledged the Dithyrambs of Dionysus as a “gift” of the “last three months”. Nietzsche’s renewed preoccupation with his Zarathustra notes while in Sils in the summer of 1888 was the source of his final lyrical work, the Dithyrambs of Dionysus.

In a series of lectures and discussion groups (mostly in German), the 2017 Nietzsche Colloquium will focus on these two works, their relationship to each other and the literary and philosophical questions which arise for today’s readers.

The Colloquium is open to the public and is not aimed solely at experts but also at an interested audience. Each event can be attended separately.

Prices: Colloquium ticket CHF 180 / individual event tickets CHF 20 / concert CHF 30
No reservations necessary.



Nietzsche Colloquium 2016: “The democratization of Europe is unstoppable” (HAII, §275) – Nietzsche and Politics

Thursday, September 29 to Sunday, October 2, 2016, Waldhaus Hotel Sils

Transcending the often over-simplified assignment of Nietzsche to an anti-democratic tradition, this Colloquium will try to identify various aspects of the radical philosopher’s political thinking. Along with lectures by internationally recognized Nietzsche scholars, small group discussions will again be held. For the first time this year, there will also be a forum of young Nietzsche academics. The Colloquium is open to the public and is not aimed solely at experts but also at an interested audience. Each event can be attended separately.

Prices: Colloquium ticket CHF 180 / individual event tickets CHF 20 / concert CHF 30
No reservations necessary.


Nietzsche Colloquium 2015: “The Music of Life”

Thursday to Sunday, September 24 to 27, 2015, Waldhaus Hotel Sils

In the fifth book of “The Gay Science”, which only appeared five years after the first four books, Nietzsche expanded his philosophy once again in 40 aphorisms of an all-round mature, serene cheerfulness and in an exuberant, playful epilogue. He now talks about “The Music of Life”, which philosophy from time immemorial has obscured with its idealism. Internationally recognized Nietzsche scholars want to reawaken interest in this idea.




Friedrich Nietzsche as an Enlightenment thinker?



„All joy wants eternity“



Origins and beginnings

Friedrich Nietzsche’s Basel period



Friedrich Nietzsche as poet



Friedrich Nietzsche and nature



„Ecce homo“

Friedrich Nietzsche’s retrospective views



„Toward New Seas“

Friedrich Nietzsche’s fresh starts




„Become who you are“

Friedrich Nietzsche’s life and writing styles



„Beyond Good and Evil“

Friedrich Nietzsche’s critique of morality



Friedrich Nietzsche as poet

Nietzsche and world literature



Justifying the world via art



Friedrich Nietzsche’s second Untimely Meditation:

„On the use and abuse of history for life“



Friedrich Nietzsche and Psychology

Psychology and Nietzsche




Friedrich Nietzsche’s inspiration on new forms of life

(„We are experiments: that is what we want to be!“ The Dawn, § 453)



„Thus spoke Zarathustra“


Nietzsche and politics

(„Only after me will there be grand politics on earth.“ Ecce homo IV, Text 1)


Nietzsche caught between Orient and Occident

(„… must learn to think about philosophy and perception in a more oriental way. More oriental overview of Europe.“ posthumous fragment, summer/autumn 1884)


Friedrich Nietzsche and Christianity

(„… the never-finishing with Christianity“, posthumous fragment, autumn 1885-86)


„We premature births of an as yet unproven future“

(Gay Science, 5th Book, § 382)


Friedrich Nietzsche’s

„God is dead“


Friedrich Nietzsche

„The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music“