Introducing the Münster art exhibition that’s rarer than a solar eclipse

Skulptur Projekte Münster is an exhibition that only takes place once every decade. And you’re in luck because this year’s edition is still on until October 1st.

Introducing the Münster art exhibition that's rarer than a solar eclipse
"Cosmic Generator" by Mika Rottenberg at Skulptur Projekte 2017. Photo: Shelley Pascual

For the past several months, tourists from all around the world have been descending upon the chic, bike-friendly university town of Münster, where they can visit installations, sculptures and performances dotted across the city.

The locals don’t mind though. They’re just as keen on seeing all the site-specific works, only they’re able to do so at their leisure at quieter times during the week.

Locals in Münster had no idea the first Skulptur Projekte, founded in 1977, would be such a hit in their city and that every ten years, there’d be an even bigger and better version of the one before it. They also likely didn’t know they’d come to embrace it and take pride in it.

This year's edition includes 35 radical works by artists from 19 different countries. The current exhibition has also expanded this year, including sites for the first time outside of Münster in the nearby city of Marl.

There’s no overarching theme which encompasses all the works, but as a whole they create something like an outdoor sculptural playground that’s not only free, but suitable for adults and children alike.

Ayse Erkmen's installation entitled “On Water.” Photo: Shelley Pascual.

So what sites are a must for you to see?

Definitely Ayse Erkmen’s “On Water,” according to newspaper Westfälische Nachrichten. Erkmen’s work is one the most popular installations featured in the exhibition, probably because of its fun, interactive element. Erkmen set up a bridge that connects two sides of Münster’s Dortmund-Ems canal so that visitors who try their hand at crossing it seem to be walking on water.

Another work that stands out if anything for its sheer size is Pierre Huyghe’s “After a Life Ahead,” in which the artist excavated a former ice rink and ripped apart its concrete floors. The work is described in the Skulptur Projekte catalogue as a “time-based bio-technical system” where the ground is transformed into a “low level hilly landscape.”

An art installation by Pierre Huyghe called “After a Life Ahead.” Photo: DPA.

Thomas Schütte’s “Nuclear Temple” is also a popular choice insofar as it’s become something of a family meeting point. It is made of steel and located where the city’s zoo used to be. And Nicole Eisenman’s installation “Sketch for a Fountain” featuring several figures in the middle of the city’s busy promenade is another well-visited site.

That leaves 31 other works of art you don’t yet know about that are waiting to be discovered.

At the exhibition’s half-way point earlier this month, Westfälische Nachrichten reported that it had already welcomed about 300,000 visitors.

At the opening of the exhibition on June 10th, well-known people in the art world were present, such as Klaus Biesenbach, the director of MoMa in New York City and director of the Tate Gallery in London at the time, Sir Nicholas Serota.

German Culture Minister Monika Grütters was also present at the launch, deeming it a significant cultural event which places Münster decade after decade in the “international spotlight.”


#badegesellschaft an der #Promenade. #muenster als teil der #skulpturenprojekte2017 #NicoleEisenman. #sketchforafountain

A post shared by Maria C (@mariareportingms) on Jun 10, 2017 at 12:13am PDT

The budget for this year’s edition totalled €7.7 million.

All of the sites are open to the public daily from 10am to 8pm and on Fridays from 10am to 10pm.

The decennial event also always coincides with another one of Germany’s international art exhibitions, Documenta. Some 200 kilometres away from Münster in Kassel, Documenta features contemporary art and takes place once every five years.

With DPA


REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.