Filmmuseum Düsseldorf

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Entrance to the film museum
Remnants of the wall of the Schulstrasse 2a city ​​prison in front of the film museum

The Filmmuseum Düsseldorf is one of seven film museums in Germany . The exhibition rooms are located in the extension of the Hetjens Museum , Schulstrasse 4.


Located in Düsseldorf's old town, the film museum presents insights into the world of film in its permanent exhibition on 2,200 square meters - from its earliest beginnings to the present day. In addition to technical devices from the early history of cinematography , set models, decorations, props and costumes can be seen. On four floors, visitors can understand the various production, distribution and performance practices of the medium of film. In addition to information on numerous personalities in film history, there is also a reconstructed film studio and a separate area for animation technology .

Special exhibitions

The temporary special exhibitions are dedicated to various topics and aspects of German and international film history. On the one hand, the focus is on individual filmmakers and, on the other, interdisciplinary subjects that relate the developments in film to social processes or artistic trends.

Previous special exhibitions (selection, from 2007):

  • 2018–2019: "Fantastic Worlds, Perfect Illusions - Visual Effects in Film"
  • 2016–2017: "Animation and avant-garde - Lotte Reiniger and the absolute film"
  • 2016: "Düsseldorf in film fever - A search for traces"
  • 2014: "Visions and Nightmares - The City of the Future in Film" as part of the Quadriennale Düsseldorf in the premises of the NRW Forum
  • 2013: "Princes of Darkness - Vampire Cult in Film"
  • 2012: “Magic of light and shadow. On the archeology of cinema "
  • 2011: "The Treasure in Silbersee - The Myth of the American West in Germany"
  • 2010: "In the crosshairs - 40 years of the crime scene"
  • 2009: "Roman Polanski - Director and Actor"
  • 2009: "Peter Ustinov - Enfant Terrible and Gentleman"
  • 2008: "The Art of Dying - Images of Death in Film"
  • 2007: "Film art graphics - The German film graphics of the 1960s"
  • 2007: "Karl Valentin - film pioneer and media craftsman"


In 1956 the city of Düsseldorf set up a youth and cultural stage for school film events. In addition, the nitrate film collection of the local cinema mogul Fritz Genandt, which is still part of the museum's archive holdings, was stored.

The increasing establishment of municipal cinemas also led to the establishment of a film forum in Düsseldorf, which was initially organized as a film seminar affiliated with the adult education center. Under the ambitious direction of Klaus G. Jaeger, a lively place for exchange on film culture and mediation was created. The city-wide success with film lovers and filmmakers alike culminated in 1979 in the founding of the Film Institute of the state capital Düsseldorf. From then on, the institute dedicated itself to four areas of responsibility:

  • Collecting and preserving film and film-related materials
  • Create accessibility and present the holdings to the public through exhibitions and demonstrations
  • Organization of seminars and workshops for imparting media-specific knowledge
  • Support for filmmakers from Düsseldorf by providing equipment and material

In 1983, under the direction of Klaus G. Jaeger, the film institute first moved into the premises on the 1st floor of the Wilhelm-Marx-Haus at Kasernenstrasse 6. He managed to find enough supporters for his dream of his own film museum, so that in the course of the Redevelopment of the area around Dammstrasse in the old town in 1989 by the then Lord Mayor Klaus Bungert the foundation stone for the Filmmuseum Düsseldorf was laid. The new museum opened on August 21, 1993 at Schulstrasse 4, where it is still located today. The rooms on Kasernenstrasse served as a depot until 2005. Today the film museum has an external storage facility in which the film copies are kept at constant temperature and humidity. The museum is a member of the German Kinematheksverbund and the world association of cinematheques, the Fédération Internationale des Archives du Film (FIAF). Klaus Jaeger, awarded the Palmes Académiques of the Republic of France and the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany , died on January 20, 1997 at the age of only 57 years and less than four years after the opening of the Film Museum. Like no other, he had shaped the work of the museum and its employees - such as curator Hartmut W. Redottée and Heidi Draheim - and was valued by colleagues and cooperation partners for his specialist knowledge and commitment to film culture. In his successor, Dr. Sabine Lenk ran the house until 2007 and focused on the early film history and the roots of cinema culture in Düsseldorf. Bernd Desinger has been director of the museum since 2009. Since then, under the motto “Living Film Museum”, more attention has been paid to recent cinema history and the communication of various aspects of filmmaking. With its special exhibitions, the Black Box program and the film education offers, the house reaches a wide range of target groups.

Cinema black box

The museum's own cinema - the Black Box - has been operated entirely independently as a communal cinema since 2009. It houses one of the last Welte cinema organs (built in 1928), which is used in silent film screenings. The cinema program consists of film classics, thematic retrospectives and current premieres. Located in the tradition of municipal film work, the Black Box is also home to four country and culture-specific film clubs. They regularly present a selection of films in the original language.


133 seats (1 wheelchair space)

Screen size: 6.20 m × 2.60 m Variable image speed (16-25 images / second)

Image formats: 35mm 1: 1.37, 1: 1.66, 1: 1.85, Cinemascope; 16mm normal & Cinemascope (each side and height lamination), Digi Beta, Beta SP

Sound formats: Mono, Dolby-A, Dolby SR, Dolby Digital

Digital 2K projector: Christie's CP 2220

Server: Doremi DCP 2000

Education and mediation

The media education department offers a comprehensive program for all ages. In over 30 workshops and seminars, specific focal points are conveyed in a way that is appropriate for the target group and can be tried out in practice. The offer ranges from themed tours and short film shoots to special courses on comedy or horror film.

Helmut Käutner Prize

The prize, endowed with 10,000 euros, is a "Prize for the Promotion of Film Culture", was launched by Klaus G. Jaeger in 1982 in memory of the Düsseldorf-born director Helmut Käutner . Käutner's commitment and intellectual independence in a time of oppression can be considered exemplary. In addition, the multi-talented artist was to a large extent involved in the reconstruction of the German film landscape in the post-war period. On the basis of the decision of a jury consisting of film scholars, critics, a director, a producer, the director of the film museum, the head of the film foundation and representatives of cultural policy, the Helmut Käutner Prize is awarded by the Council of the State Capital Düsseldorf - shortly after Käutner's birthday on March 25th - awarded every two years to “personalities who emphatically support and influence the development of German film culture through their work, have promoted their understanding and have contributed to their recognition” (from the statutes).

Previous winners:


The collections include around 500,000 photos, well over 25,000 posters, plus press releases, newspaper clippings, reviews, film programs and scripts / dialogue lists for domestic and foreign films as well as production documents. The holdings also include bequests from Lotte Reiniger , Helmut Käutner, Wolfgang Staudte, Harry Piel , Rolf Burgmer and Liesl Karlstadt . The shadow play collection is also a special feature . It contains around 500 shadow play figures from the 13th to 19th centuries on the history of shadow play, plus props, accessories and a shadow play stage.


Around 6,500 film copies are stored in the film archive. As the only film museum in North Rhine-Westphalia, it also houses the state's film collection.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Klaus G. Jaeger (1939-1997) | Hans Helmut Prinzler. Accessed September 5, 2019 (German).
  2. ^ State capital Düsseldorf: Helmut Käutner Prize. Retrieved January 26, 2019 .

Coordinates: 51 ° 13 ′ 26.6 ″  N , 6 ° 46 ′ 13.6 ″  E