German Hygiene Museum

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German Hygiene Museum Dresden
German Hygiene Museum, with plastic ball thrower by Richard Daniel Fabricius-9716.jpg
Entrance area of ​​the museum on the edge of the Güntzwiesen (2015)
place Lingnerplatz 1,
01069 Dresden Coordinates: 51 ° 2 ′ 39.3 ″  N , 13 ° 44 ′ 47.9 ″  EWorld icon
architect Wilhelm Circle
opening 1912
Number of visitors (annually) around 280,000
German Hygiene Museum Foundation
Klaus Vogel (Director)
ISIL DE-MUS-846613

The German Hygiene Museum , founded in 1912, is a museum in Dresden . Today it sees itself as a public forum for science, culture and society. The current building was opened in 1930 and, after being severely destroyed by bombs, rebuilt in February 1945 during the GDR era and then fundamentally renovated and rebuilt from 2001 to 2005. As a popular exhibition and event location, the building is one of the best-visited museums in Dresden, with around 280,000 visitors annually.


The museum was in 1912 by the Dresden entrepreneurs and Odol -Fabrikanten Karl August Lingner after the First International Hygiene Exhibition founded as "popular education center for health care." During this time, numerous (public) sanitary facilities and new schools were supposed to improve the health of poorer parts of the population. In a memorandum he said:

"The Hygiene Museum should be a place of instruction for the whole population, in which everyone can acquire knowledge through observation that enables them to lead a sensible and health-promoting life."

Lingner has thus placed himself in the tradition of the Kantian definition of the Enlightenment . In particular, knowledge of the human anatomy was conveyed, but questions of healthy nutrition , personal hygiene and health care were also addressed. Generally understandable forms of presentation were developed, the methodology of which was used to design traveling exhibitions throughout Germany .

In 1930 the II. International Hygiene Exhibition took place, for which the museum moved into a museum building designed by Wilhelm Kreis (1928–1930) in the style between neoclassicism and Bauhaus am Blüherpark . The greatest attraction of the museum was and is the Gläserne Mensch (Man) from 1930, followed by the Gläserne Frau in 1935. Over time, the museum workshops have produced numerous copies of the transparent plastic Cellon for other museums around the world. Also new was the type of a social museum, which was intended to educate the responsible citizen about the latest findings in medicine and biology.

During the Third Reich , the museum was also put in the service of the National Socialist racial ideology . One example was the propagation of the law for the prevention of genetically ill offspring , which came into force on January 1, 1934 and which until 1945 formed the basis for the forced sterilization of several hundred thousand men and women. From 1933 to 1936, the physician Hermann Vellguth was the head of the “genetic and racial maintenance” department . Traveling exhibitions on this topic at home and abroad were marked by pseudoscientific excesses. The exhibitions included “New Eugenics in Germany” in the USA in 1934 and “Miracles of Life” in Berlin in 1935. Between 1933 and 1945, more than 10 million people visited the DHM's traveling exhibitions on various topics. During the time of National Socialism, the State Academy for Race and Health Care , a research and teaching facility for racial propaganda and training, was organizationally and spatially connected to the museum.

The plastic ball thrower made by Richard Daniel Fabricius , which was shown at the hygiene exhibition as early as 1911 , was placed in front of the German Hygiene Museum after its restoration in the early 1980s. The athlete Ewald Redam was the model for the ball thrower as well as for the Golden Town Hall Man in the background on the right .

In April and May 1944, the last (war) Reich occupation competition was held in the Hygiene Museum . Large parts of the museum building and the collections were destroyed in the air raids on Dresden in February 1945.

In the GDR , the museum - similar to the Federal Center for Health Education in the Federal Republic - performed health education tasks. Kundi was used as a mascot for health education for children until 1990 . From 1982 to 1991 the museum acted as the World Health Organization's collaborating center in the field of health education.

In 1991 the museum was given a completely new concept, which continues the approach of its founding years with modern means. The German Hygiene Museum was included in the Blue Book published in 2001. The Blue Book is a list of nationally important cultural institutions in East Germany and currently includes 23 so-called cultural lighthouses . Between 2001 and 2005 the museum was renovated and partially rebuilt under the direction of Peter Kulka .

Exhibitions, collections and other activities

Transparent woman
GDR postage stamp from 1987 for the anniversary "75 years of the German Hygiene Museum"

The permanent exhibition "Human Adventure" and the "Children's Museum Our Five Senses" are on permanent display. The permanent exhibition focuses on people, their bodies and their health in their social and cultural contexts. The children's museum provides playful information about the human senses and their capabilities. The German Hygiene Museum has an extensive collection. It documents the publicly propagated body knowledge and body practices in everyday life with a focus on objects since the beginning of the 20th century.

Changing special exhibitions deal with current or historical issues from science and society, art and culture. These projects are usually developed by interdisciplinary teams of curators , artists, scenographers and designers. The museum cooperates with scientific institutions and international and national partners and lenders. The most important projects of the last ten years were: Kosmos im Kopf - Brain and Thinking (2000), The (im-) perfect human being - On the Right to Imperfection (2000/2001), The Ten Commandments. Politics - Morals - Society. (2004/2005), Deadly Medicine - Racial Mania in National Socialism (2006/2007), Glück - what happiness (2008), 2 ° The weather, man and his climate (2008/2009), work - meaning and concern and what is beautiful? (both 2010). In addition to the exhibitions, the museum organizes a wide range of scientific and cultural events consisting of around 80 lectures and conferences, discussions, readings and concerts every year. The museum's conference center can be used for external events with several hundred participants.

The 4th Saxon State Exhibition

On January 4, 2017, the then Minister of State for Science and Art , Eva-Maria Stange , announced that the German Hygiene Museum had been entrusted with organizing the central exhibition of the 4th Saxon State Exhibition and coordinating the overall project. Klaus Vogel, director of the museum, took over the management of the project. The 2020 state exhibition entitled Boom. 500 years of industrial culture in Saxony focuses on the history of industrialization in today's Free State . The central exhibition for which the German Hygiene Museum is responsible can be seen from July 11 to December 31, 2020 in the Audi building in Zwickau . The Berlin curator Thomas Spring took over the development of the central exhibition with a team of scientific-curatorial staff. In line with the mission statement of the German Hygiene Museum, it is not only concerned with technical innovations and the history of commercial enterprises, but also looks at the consequences of industrialization for people, culture, the environment and society. In addition to the central exhibition in Zwickau, visitors can also visit six branch-specific exhibitions in Chemnitz , Freiberg , Oelsnitz im Erzgebirge , Zwickau and Crimmitschau .


The Hygiene Museum is supported by the German Hygiene Museum Foundation . According to § 2 of the statutes, the aim of the foundation is to "maintain the German Hygiene Museum in order to increase the popularity of science, in particular through exhibitions, scientific teaching and lectures, collections and similar measures." Fall of each year the presentation of large special exhibitions.

Since July 1, 1999, the foundation has been a non-profit foundation with legal capacity under civil law with its seat in Dresden. The donors are the Free State of Saxony and the state capital Dresden, co- donors are DKV Deutsche Krankenversicherung . In order to fulfill the purpose of the foundation, the foundation receives annual contributions from the Free State of Saxony and the state capital Dresden in equal parts.

marketing and advertisement

Dresdner Verkehrsbetriebe - Tram with special stickers - German Hygiene Museum

A tram of the Dresden public transport company was pasted as an advertising space for the German Hygiene Museum. In 2019, too, it will travel on various lines in the city of Dresden.

Events especially for children

Projects for children have a long tradition in the German Hygiene Museum, for example the Kundi male was introduced back in the GDR times to convey health education to children in a child-friendly manner. More recently, special tours for children, exhibits and a children's museum for different age groups have been offered on topics such as the senses, the body and birth. In addition to these individual offers, there are also in-depth offers such as the school laboratory and children lead children , which was launched together with the MINTiKi initiative .

Special exhibitions since 2011

  • 2011: Images of the Mind. Imagery of the spirit . This exhibition was then shown in the Moravian Gallery in Brno .
  • 2011: On your marks! Sport and Society
  • 2012: The Passions - A drama in five acts
  • 2012: Herlinde Koelbl. Clothes make the man
  • 2012: C'est la vie - All of life
  • 2013: Beyond Borders - A Photo Exhibition
  • 2013: Wealth - More than enough
  • 2013: dance! How we move in the world
  • 2014: The new Germany - of migration and diversity
  • 2014: Looks! Body! Sensations! The Dresden wax cabinet and art
  • 2014: All family! An interactive exhibition
  • 2015: friendship. An exhibition about what connects us
  • 2015: AIDS. By a true story
  • 2015: fast fashion. The dark side of fashion
  • 2016: On the fleetingness of happiness
  • 2016/17: Language. World of words, signs, gestures
  • 2016/17: shame. 100 reasons to blush (curator: Daniel Tyradellis )
  • 2017/18: The face. A search for clues
  • 2017/18: About pets and their people (curators: Viktoria Krason and Christoph Willmitzer)
  • 2018/19: Racism . The invention of human races
  • 2018/19: Shine on Me. We and the sun
  • 2019/20: Of plants and people. A foray into the green planet (curator: Kathrin Meyer)
  • 2020: boom. 500 years of industrial culture in Saxony (curator: Thomas Spring)
  • 2020/21: Future Food. Food for the world of tomorrow (curator: Viktoria Krason)

Personalities at the museum (selection)


Films produced on behalf of the museum

See also


  • Susanne König: Images of people - past and present. The permanent exhibition of the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden. In: Zeithistorische Forschungen / Studies in Contemporary History , 4 (2007), Issues 1 and 2 ( ).
  • Sybilla Nikolow (ed.): Know yourself - strategies for making the body visible in the work of the German Hygiene Museum in the 20th century . Böhlau, 2015, ISBN 978-3-412-22380-9 .
  • Sybilla Nikolow, Thomas Steller: The long echo of the I. International Hygiene Exhibition in the Dresden health education . In: Dresdner Hefte , 29, 2011, pp. 16–27.
  • Eckart Roloff , Karin Henke-Wendt: Irritating name, but in demand all over the world (Das Deutsche Hygiene-Museum Dresden). In: Visit your doctor or pharmacist. A tour through Germany's museums for medicine and pharmacy. Volume 1, Northern Germany. S. Hirzel, Stuttgart 2015, pp. 191–194, ISBN 978-3-7776-2510-2 .
  • Christian Sammer: “The goal is a healthy life!”. The links between the German Health Museum in Cologne (DGM) and the German Hygiene Museum in Dresden (DHM) in the 1950s . In: Detlev Brunner, Udo Grashoff, Andreas Kötzing (eds.): Asymmetrically entwined? New research on Germany's post-war history . Christoph Links, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86153-748-9 , pp. 131-145.
  • Christian Sammer, Lioba Thaut: The focus is on people. On the history policy of the German Hygiene Museum in the GDR . In: Andrea Brait, Anja Früh (Ed.): Ethnographic and historical museums as places of historical-political negotiations from the 19th to the 21st century . Schwabe, Basel 2017, ISBN 978-3-7965-3647-2 , pp. 45–60, 174.
  • Sabine Schulte: The German Hygiene Museum in Dresden by Wilhelm Kreis. Biography of a museum of the Weimar Republic. Dissertation, Bonn 2001, urn : nbn: de: hbz: 5-02407 .
  • Thomas Steller: People's education institute and museum group. The German Hygiene Museum 1912–1930 . Bielefeld 2014,
  • Lioba Thaut: Changing Museum Strategies. The German Hygiene Museum Dresden and the Museum of Natural History in Berlin after 1989/90 - a comparison . Böhlau, 2018, ISBN 978-3-412-50960-6 .
  • Klaus Vogel: The German Hygiene Museum Dresden. 1911 to 1990. Sandstein, Dresden 2003, ISBN 3-930382-99-7 .
  • Sebastian Weinert: The body in view. Health exhibitions from the late Empire to National Socialism . De Gruyter Oldenbourg, Berlin / Boston 2017, ISBN 978-3-11-046677-5 .
  • Christoph Wingender: German Hygiene Museum Foundation. In: AsKI culture reports , issue 1/2001, working group of independent cultural institutes. V., Bonn.

Web links

Commons : Deutsches Hygiene-Museum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  2. ↑ Plus visitor numbers in the German Hygiene Museum . In: Saxon newspaper . January 3, 2018 ( online [accessed January 3, 2018]). online ( Memento from January 3, 2018 in the Internet Archive )
  3. ^ KA Lingner: Memorandum for the establishment of a National Hygiene Museum in Dresden . Dresden 1912, p. 5.
  4. ^ German Hygiene Museum. WHO Collaborating Centers Global Database; Retrieved July 7, 2013
  6. Museum conception 2020 - Kulturland Sachsen. (PDF) (No longer available online.) Saxon State Ministry for Science and Art, pp. 105–108 , archived from the original on April 2, 2015 ; accessed on March 28, 2015 .
  7. Permanent exhibition of the German Hygiene Museum exhibit "Kundi"
  8. ( Memento from April 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ); As of April 5, 2014
  9. ^ Archived copy ( memento of April 7, 2014 in the Internet Archive ); As of April 5, 2014
  10. as of April 5, 2014
  11. stefan hartmann: DHMD: ON THE VOLATILITY OF HAPPINESS. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on April 26, 2016 ; Retrieved May 7, 2016 .