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Angela Merkel opens new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau

September 8, 2019

The German chancellor was in the eastern town of Dessau to open the new Bauhaus Museum, marking the 100th anniversary of the school's foundation. The surprisingly eclectic Bauhaus style shaped the 20th century.

Merkel opens the Bauhaus Museum
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/H. Schmidt

Angela Merkel was in the small eastern German town of Dessau on Sunday morning to open the brand new Bauhaus Museum, marking the 100th anniversary of the movement that shaped 20th-century art, design and architecture.

The German chancellor said it was a "wonderful thing" that the new museum's comprehensive exhibit would show the many achievements of the Bauhaus school, from art and architecture to household objects.

"We can feel the fascination of the Bauhaus project," she told an audience of around 400 people, before saying she hoped that the Bauhaus Museum would "maintain the special spirit of the Bauhaus foundation."

Merkel at the Bauhaus Museum
Merkel called the museum a "wonderful thing"Image: Getty Images/J. Schlueter

A workshop museum

Two and a half years and €28 million ($31 million) in the making, the new museum, which was completed on schedule, will be home to the 49,000 exhibits that make up the Bauhaus foundation's collection.

Reiner Haseloff, state premier for Saxony-Anhalt, where Dessau is located, said that for him, Bauhaus' simple style represented the utopia of a better society. "This is a good day for Dessau and a good day for Saxony-Anhalt," he said. 

The original Bauhaus design school was opened in Weimar in 1919 by the legendary architect Walter Gropius.

The school moved to Dessau in 1925, and then to Berlin in 1932, before being closed by the Nazi regime. The communist East German government was also initially critical of Bauhaus, before embracing its legacy in 1976 and having the original building reconstructed.

Diversity of style

In keeping with the movement's educational origins, the new museum's first exhibition aims to use 1,200 exhibits to explain both the history and the teaching methods of the Bauhaus school. The directors are also keen to use the building for educational projects.

"Our aim is to present the school in its political environment, with its economic, social, and cultural challenges," is how curator Regina Bittner described to DW the objective of the exhibition, which is entitled "Experimental Workshop Bauhaus. The Collection."

At Sunday's opening, foundation director Claudia Perren also underlined the often-underestimated diversity of the Bauhaus design. "When you take a tour, you will see that no unified, homogenous image of Bauhaus can be discerned," she said.

A number of events have been planned throughout Germany for the Bauhaus centenary year.

bk/tj (dpa, EPD, KNA)

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