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The Academia Baltica was set up in Lübeck in 2001. Its main objectives are the understanding with Germany's eastern neighbours, furthering cooperation based on partnership in the Baltic fringe states and eastern central Europe as well as communicating European history and culture. The academy is a forum that brings together academics and the interested general public. Academics, representatives of NGOs, students, journalists and everyone interested in historical and cultural topics relating to central and eastern Europe meet to discuss and exchange common issues.

The Academia Baltica runs seminars, academic conferences, courses for students, lectures and study trips. Up to a third of participants come from eastern European countries, notably from Poland, Russia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.

The range of topics embraces politics and economy, literature and the arts; we offer bilateral and multinational colloquia on recent history. Lastly, an international cooperation on the media in the Baltic area has been put into motion.
Conference reports and monographs are published regularly in "Colloquia Baltica".

The academy is maintained by Academia Baltica e.V., a charitable organisation. To it belong the German Foreigners Association in Lübeck, the German-Polish Societies in Berlin, Hamburg and Kiel, the German-Baltic Society, the Europa-Union Schleswig-Holstein, the technical University of Lübeck, the city of Lübeck, the Thomas-Mann cultural centre at Nidden (Lithuania) and the association 'Friends of the Academia Baltica’.

The activities of the Academia Baltica have found international recognition. To quote the former president of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga: "This educational institution, which originated in the Baltic Academy in Travemünde, has done a great deal in improving relations amongst the Baltic Sea states and beyond, with Poland and Russia.

Since 2011  the Akademie Sankelmark, the Europäische Akademie Schleswig-Holstein and the Academia Baltica have amalgamated into the Akademiezentrum Sankelmark.