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Stiftung Niedersachsen sets its standards through its own programs: the ›Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover‹, ›Best OFF Festival Freier Theater‹, Europa-Kolleg, ›Literatur Labor Wolfenbüttel‹, ›Communauten – Kinder entdecken ihre Stadt‹, ›Spectrum – Internationaler Preis für Fotografie‹ and ›Musikland Niedersachsen‹. The programs are developed and carried out by the foundation itself, regularly in co-operation with Lower Saxony‘s cultural and scientific institutions.

Along with the Theaterformen festival, the ›Joseph Joachim International Violin Competition Hannover‹ was one of the first programs launched by the foundation. Since 1991, this competition has given an international testimony to the excellence of Lower Saxony’s music education, reminding us of the importance of violin virtuoso and educationalist Joseph Joachim. The competition also perfectly captures the musical focus of the foundation's activities.