2019 is a big year for Germany: November 9th marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall – and in April, it will be 100 years since the influential movement of Bauhaus was founded.
Germany was pipped to the post in the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2019’ by Sri Lanka, which was lauded for its wildlife, beaches, people and food, while Zimbabwe scooped third place.
Lonely Planet said: “Germany has long been a powerhouse of innovation and has bestowed upon the world the printing press, the automobile, the aspirin and other milestones of invention.”
The guide went on to discuss the birth of the arts movement: “100 years ago, a little school in the Thuringian countryside kick-started an aesthetic movement so globally influential that its reverberations are still felt today: the Bauhaus.”
A movement that inspired the world
Bauhaus was founded in Weimar – now Thuringia – in 1919 by Berlin Architect Walter Gropius.
The school was quickly branded as a breeding ground for modernity. Under the guise of forward-thinking designers and artists, such as Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, Bauhaus' influence spread across the globe.
Bauhaus students learned to transform art into industry across a host of mediums. They specialized in arts and manufacturing, from crafts to woodwork. The Thuringia school became a meeting place for the international avant-garde.
In 1925, the Bauhaus moved to the up-and-coming industrial city of Dessau. It re-located again in 1933, this time to Berlin.
After this move, the political pressure of the Nazis and a drastic reduction of funds forced the Bauhaus to close. Many teachers fled abroad to continue their work.
Despite its short existence, the Bauhaus way of thinking revolutionized design and artistic thinking worldwide.
Anniversary events in store
Hundreds of events have been planned in Germany to celebrate the anniversary of Bauhaus which continues to shape art, architecture and design all over the world.
The centenary is being held under the motto: “Die Welt neu denken”: re-thinking the world.
The decorative stairs in the main building of the Bauhaus University Weimar in Thuringia. Photo: DPA
In Thuringia, the opening of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar is the highlight of the anniversary year: the new facility will open its doors for the first time on April 5th, 2019 – the month in which the Bauhaus was founded.
There are also two further new exhibition spaces opening for Bauhaus in Berlin and Dessau.
Thuringia's minister president Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow said the centenary was of “great international importance”.
He said it “invites all those interested to embark on a cultural and political voyage of discovery”.
“In addition, it offers the unique opportunity to make the diverse history of the Bauhaus's impact tangible for a broad public,” he added.
According to Ramelow, the anniversary should also remember the forced emigration of important Bauhaus protagonists such as Gropius, Kandinsky and Klee abroad, and the intellectual and cultural loss this had on the country during the 1920s and 1930s.
“National narrow-mindedness and intellectual hostility must never again gain the upper hand over artistic freedom and cultural progress,” he said.
“Sparkling new museums are set to open in these three cities along with scores of related events and exhibitions held throughout Germany.”
The Bauhaus anniversary has become a big news topic in German media in the last few days after Bauhaus Dessau cancelled a gig by the left-wing punk band Feine Sahne Fischfilet, after political pressure.
The concert was planned by ZDF, but there were fears that right-wing protests would be held at it if it went ahead.
Following the cancellation of the concert in Dessau, Berlin's Senator of Culture Klaus Lederer invited the punk rockers to perform at the Bauhaus Archive in the capital instead.
The band have spoken out publicly against neo-Nazis and recently played at the Chemnitz 'Wir sind mehr' (we are more) concert that took place during the far-right riots in the city last month.
However, in the past when they started out, the band were viewed as controversial and were observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Germany for a time, because of their 'anti-state stance'.
Travel plan for Germany
Meanwhile, in its Germany chapter for Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel 2019’, the guides recommend a two -week “travel plan” across the federal republic, with a concert “in the stunning Elbphilharmonie” in Hamburg, partying in Berlin clubs, as well as stops in Dessau, Weimar, Munich and in the middle Rhine area, DPA reports.
A visit to cities such as Cologne and Frankfurt is also recommended because they offer different types of culture, cuisine and history. “Germany enchants and surprises – even those who live here,” the guide says.
In the ‘don't miss’ category, the guide recommends clambering on the rocks of the Saxon Switzerland National Park near Dresden and visiting Bavarian castles, such as Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.
Lonely Planet selects their 10 best countries, regions and cities each year.
“Every place, every region, every country stands for itself, celebrates something unique or has simply been overlooked for too long,” Uta Niederstraßer from Lonely Planet Deutschland at the publishing house near Stuttgart, told DPA.
Lonely Planet's top 10 countries to visit in 2019
1. Sri Lanka
9. São Tomé and Príncipe