{Germany} In the footsteps of Friedrich Engels

April 20, 2015

Germany

When I wrote about the Museum for Early Industrialisation the other week, I promised you a separate post on the Friedrich Engels Haus. So, here it is!

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Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) is most well know as the co-founder of modern Communism and father of Marxist theory, along with Karl Marx. He was born in Barmen, one of the seven cities and towns that merged in 1929 to form what is now known as the city of Wuppertal.

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The Engels Haus was built in the late 18th century by Friedrich Engels’ grandfather, a textile manufacturer by the name of Johann Caspar Engels, and served as their family home. The family originally owned five houses, of which two remain, next to each other – see photo above (the one referred to as ‘Engels Haus’ is the one on the left). Neither of these is Friedrich Engels’ birthplace, by the way, as this was one of the three houses that did not survive. The Engels Haus documents the life of Friedrich Engels, and contains murals and furniture from the 18th and early 19th century. There is a further exhibition including historical documents and other ephemera from Engels’ life in the Museum for Early Industrialisation next door. Your admission ticket gives you access to both.

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The architecture of the house, with it’s slate cladding, white frames and green wooden shutters, is architecturally typical of the region. Together with the Museum for Early Industrialisation, the Engels Haus forms the focus of what is referred to as Wuppertal’s “Historisches Zentrum” (Historic Centre). There are also a couple of sculptures on site, including a larger than life statue of Friedrich Engels gifted by China a couple of years ago, where Engels is apparently held in high regard. Interestingly, they chose to depict him at the height of his career, with his big bushy beard and wizened with age, whereas the Engels Haus itself has chosen a portrait of Friedrich Engels as a young man as their logo, as depicted on the Historic Centre’s flags and van.

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The Engels Haus and adjacent Museum of Early Industrialisation are open Tuesdays to Sundays, closed on Mondays. Adults pay 4 Euros (as of April 2015), with concessions available and kids age 6 and under go free,and ICOM members get free admission too. As mentioned your admission ticket gets you in to both.

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(Apologies for the rather poor interior photographs – I couldn’t take the pram inside, as the historic house is not barrier free, so was carrying #MuseumBaby in one arm whilst shooting from the hip on my phone with my other hand. And as you can see from the sky, the photos were actually taken on three different days.)

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