Thousands of monuments set to open to the public across Germany

Millions of visitors nationwide are expected once again at Germany's Open Monument's Day, which spotlights the most striking monuments around the country.

Thousands of monuments set to open to the public across Germany
Ulm's Minster as seen reflected in a mirror. Photo: DPA

“Upheaval in Art and Architecture” is the central focus of Germany's Open Monument Day on Sunday, September 8th, with the springboard being the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus art school.

The Monument Protection Foundation (Deutsche Stiftung Denkmalschutz) is organizing the special day for the 27th time and are expecting around 3.5 million visitors nationwide, as in previous years.

Find out more about the line up of events at participating monuments on the event's official website (in German).

An example of Bauhaus architecture as seen at the Bauhaus University in Weimar. Photo: DPA

The central opening ceremony for 8,000 events nationwide takes place in Ulm in Baden-Württemberg this year. After the opening, a panel discussion will explore the question of what makes a monument modern.

The slogan “Modernism: Upheaval in Art and Architecture” will be visible around the country, from historic restaurants to monasteries. 

“The theme is about changes to every monument,” said Sarah Wiechers from the German Monument Protection Foundation. 

The Bauhaus aesthetic is seen as a prime example of modern architecture. But the intention of Open Monument Day is to highlight the relativity of the notion of modernity. 

“What is old today was modern in its time of creation,” said Wiecher. 

READ ALSO: Inside Weimar's new politically charged Bauhaus museum

Transition and progress can affect forms of art like theatre, as its objectives are constantly changing, as well as industrial monuments like the Zollverein Coal Mine in Essen, which was converted to a cultural venue, said Wiechers.

Flowers in front of the Zollverein. Photo: DPA

According to Wiechers, the architectural Zeitgeist in the opening city of Ulm is particularly striking: The Minster, a late medieval cathedral with its almost 162 meter high church tower, is in the immediate vicinity of the townhouse. 

The latter only opened in 1993 and was placed under protection in January this year. According to Wiechers, this is Baden-Württemberg's youngest monument.

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How Cologne is preparing for the start of Carnival on Friday

Dressing up, singing, and drinking: On Friday, countless Jecken (revelers) in Cologne will once again celebrate the start of the Carnival session.

How Cologne is preparing for the start of Carnival on Friday

Dubbed Germany’s “fifth season” by locals, the event starts every year on November 11th at 11:11 am, and typically stretches into February or March, when colourful parades spill into the streets.

Carnival stronghold Cologne in particular is preparing for the onslaught of tens of thousands of people who will flock to its Altstadt (old town), and especially to the student quarter, starting early Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: 10 unmissable events in Germany this November

“Far too many people want to celebrate in far too small a space,” city director Andrea Blome told DPA. “We can’t stop anyone from coming to Cologne now.” 

More security this year

In the popular Kwartier Latäng student quarter, there have been regular bouts of drinking by young partygoers in the past, who crowded into a confined space, leaving litter everywhere and publicly peeing on the corners of buildings. 

Google Maps shows the location of the so-called Kwartier Latäng part of Cologne.

But with a new security plan, the city and police hope to keep the situation under control.

Several checkpoints and road closures have been set up to secure the safety of the revelers and relieve the burden on worried residents, according to Blome. Visitors will only be able to enter the closed-off area around Zülpicher Straße via a single access point. 

On Friday, Cologne is also set to send a total of 150 employees from the Ordnungsamt (public order office) onto the streets, who will be supported by 520 private security guards. 

A glass ban will again apply in the celebration zones, and several hundred toilets will be set up at the hotspots, “which nevertheless will probably not be used by all visitors,” Blome predicted.

READ ALSO: 10 words you need to know at Cologne’s Carnival

Up to 1,100 police officers are expected to be on duty on the day – about 200 fewer than last year, said head of operations Rüdiger Fink. But he expected to keep the situation “under control with a new security plan.”

What to expect

On Cologne’s Heumarkt, there will be a stage program all day with bands such as the Bläck Fööss, the Paveiern and Brings. 

Google Maps shows Cologne’s Heumarkt along the Rhine River.

According to the Willi Ostermann Society, about 10,000 tickets were sold in advance for the event, which will be aired by German WDR for several hours.

Meanwhile, in Düsseldorf, the day will start at 11:11 a.m. with the “Hoppeditz Awakening” in front of City Hall. 

According to a spokesman, the police will be adequately prepared for the start of the season, with a particular focus on the Altstadt, where there will certainly be celebrations.

“But 11.11. is a very different event here in Düsseldorf than in Cologne,” he said, referring to a more orderly start and fewer guests.

READ ALSO: What you need to know about celebrating Carnival in Germany