Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt
Nowadays, Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt are celebrated as German cosmopolitans. They embody the accomplishments of public education, a new perspective on nature, and an unbiased look at the cultures outside of Europe. Their biographies, however, are marked by the contradictions of their time: the image of the equality of all people as conceived by the Enlightenment contrasted with the existence of colonialism and slavery. The new discovery of nature goes hand in hand with its mastery and destruction. International exchange and cooperation are unable to prevent nationalist exclusion.