East Prussian State Museum

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East Prussian State Museum with Baltic German department
Exterior view of the East Prussian State Museum.jpg
East Prussian State Museum
place Luneburg
Museum of cultural history
opening 1987
ISIL DE-MUS-089612

The East Prussian State Museum with Baltic German department in Lüneburg recalls the history, art and culture, but also the landscape and fauna of East Prussia . In its comprehensive geographical and historical claim, it is unique in the world. Since 2010, his order has been expanded to include a Baltic German department. The museum was rebuilt, modernized over three years and reopened on August 26, 2018.

Predecessor in Königsberg

The first East Prussian State Museum was built in Königsberg Castle after the First World War . Immediately after the November Revolution, the castle builder Otto Lindemann campaigned to keep the royal rooms as a museum. In addition, the provincial curator Richard Dethlefsen suggested setting up an East Prussian State Museum in the castle; because the accommodation of the three Königsberg collections was insufficient. According to the law of May 8, 1920, the picture gallery, the East Prussian Provincial Museum and the Prussia Museum were combined under the term East Prussian State Museum and entered in the state protection list. Hans Gerlach , Eduard Anderson and Friedrich Lahrs pushed the planning forward. On January 18, 1921, Manfred Graf von Brünneck-Bellschwitz opened the first part of the gallery in the coronation hall. The three departments were only merged in 1927 under a museum director - the art historian Alfred Rohde .

Order in Lüneburg

The museum in Lüneburg collects cultural assets from East Prussia and the Baltic States in order to preserve, research and convey this part of German history in a national and international context. With this transnational approach, the museum wants to make a contribution to international understanding. Since historical East Prussia is now part of Lithuania , Poland and Russia and the Baltic Germans lived (and are living again) in the areas of today's republics of Estonia and Latvia , the museum maintains an intensive exchange with cultural institutions in these countries. The East Prussian Cultural Foundation is responsible for the East Prussian State Museum . The museum is institutionally funded by the federal government on the basis of a resolution of the German Bundestag and the state of Lower Saxony on the basis of §96 BVFG . The Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media is responsible for federal funding ; for Lower Saxony it is the Ministry of Science and Culture .

Cross-border cultural work is of central importance. Every year several exhibitions of the East Prussian State Museum are presented in museums in Poland, Russia and Lithuania. In addition, further cross-border projects such as study trips or international school projects are carried out every year. Joint events are intended to break down mutual prejudices and thus contribute to a better understanding between Germans and their eastern neighbors. The aim is to make a significant contribution to a peaceful Europe that is growing closer together.


After the Second World War, Lower Saxony became the main settlement area for millions of displaced persons from the German eastern regions beyond the Oder and Neisse rivers. So many East Prussians were resident in the Lüneburg region at the beginning of the 1950s that at times people spoke of "Little East Prussia" in the heath. At that time the displaced people tried to preserve their cultural identity.

In 1958, on the initiative of forester Hans-Ludwig Loeffke, born in Tilsit in 1906, and other East Prussians, the voluntary “East Prussian Hunting Museum - Game, Forest and Horses” in the Lüneburg old department store at the Alten Kran was created . A year later it fell victim to an arson attack. Siegfried Lenz describes this fire in his 1978 novel Heimatmuseum . Unlike in the novel, the Lüneburg arson was not directed against the museum. The damage was nevertheless great, only a few exhibits could be saved. In 1964 it was reopened at a new location on Lüneburg Salt Road .

At the beginning of the 1980s, the name was changed to “East Prussian Hunting and State Museum”. This was done on the basis of the “basic concept for the continuation of East German cultural work” drawn up by the federal government in 1982, which provided for the establishment of “state museums in the large East German regions”. The East Prussian State Museum was the first of its kind. In 1987, a new multi-storey building was converted into the East Prussian State Museum. Since then, museum work has been carried out professionally with full-time scientists. Friedrich Jacobs was the founding director.

Already in the opening phase it turned out that the museum area did not meet the requirements of a state museum. Since the 1990s, different expansion concepts have been negotiated. a. included the integration of a Baltic German department, which was formally resolved in 2010 and included as an additional statutory goal. In this regard, the “Scharffsche Haus”, located in Heiligengeiststrasse, the central square “ Am Sande ”, was acquired by the Baltic German Cultural Foundation with the support of the State of Lower Saxony . The former brewery and town house from the 15th century now serves as the seat of the museum administration; The museum café is on the ground floor. It was also possible to relocate the museum entrance to Lüneburg's old town, which is popular with tourists.

Art department in the permanent exhibition of the East Prussian State Museum

As part of the renovation and expansion measures from 2013–2018, a new building as a museum foyer and special exhibition building was built by the Gregor Sunder-Plassmann office behind the “Scharff House”. It also provides access to the neighboring brewery museum. At the same time, the permanent exhibition was completely revised, thematically expanded and supplemented with a permanent loan from the Museum City of Königsberg in Duisburg, which was closed in 2016 . In addition to the German Baltic Department, topics after 1945 such as the “Integration of the displaced persons after 1945” and “Preservation of the German cultural heritage in former East Prussia and the Baltic States today” have now been included in the permanent presentation. The revised permanent exhibition was completed on August 26, 2018 and officially opened in the presence of State Minister Monika Grütters , Lower Saxony Minister Björn Thümler and the ambassadors of all three Baltic states. The responsible exhibition design office was homann güner blum from Hanover.

In 2018 it became known that the federal government and Lower Saxony had earmarked funds for a further expansion step. A new building to close the gap in Ritterstraße is to be built on a currently adjacent parking lot, in which the first and so far only permanent exhibition on the philosopher Immanuel Kant is to be realized on approx. 700 square meters from 2024 .

Permanent exhibition

Spread over 2,000 square meters and on three floors, topics related to the landscape, history and culture of East Prussia and the Baltic Germans are presented in several chapters . The presentation follows a rough chronology from the early days to the present, which is interrupted by cross-epochal cross-cutting topics such as " amber " or "literature".

National history

The presentation is characterized by rare and expressive pieces with which power and rule, but also the ideas and technical developments from the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment, from the 1848 revolution to nationalism are depicted. The specific representation of the region is repeatedly embedded in all-German or European narratives, whereby historical interpretations and narratives from Poland and Russia are also mentioned. Eyewitness videos are used extensively to depict the past 80 years.

Exterior view of the Scharff House with the entrance to the East Prussian State Museum from Heiligengeiststrasse

The country's history is divided into the following chapters:

Natural history and hunting

True-to-life dioramas in air-conditioned overpressure showcases and animal preparations give an impression of East Prussian landscapes, e.g. B. Curonian Spit , Masuria , Rominter Heath and Elk Forest . The special flora and fauna are shown.

Based on the extensive hunting collection of the forerunner museum, the hunting traditions form a separate focus, especially the Rominten hunting ground . An outlook into modern hunting also picks up on today's discussions about the value and justification of hunting.

With the presentation of horse keeping in East Prussia with special consideration of the Trakehner warmblood horse and its breeding, another natural history focus is offered.

All natural history modules are strongly characterized by child-friendly hands-on offers.

Natural history department in the permanent exhibition of the East Prussian State Museum


To this day, most of the world's amber production takes place on the so-called amber coast of East Prussia . The museum shows the diversity of the material, its extraction and processing, numerous inclusions as well as individual examples of outstanding craftsmanship.

Painting, graphics and plastic

The East Prussian State Museum has more than a thousand paintings and over 10,000 graphics. The Königsberg Art Academy and the Nidden artists' colony are highlighted in a separate department . In addition to names that are little known today, greats such as Lovis Corinth and Käthe Kollwitz can also be seen.

Intellectual history East Prussia shaped many intellectual greats of international importance. The exhibition commemorates Nikolaus Kopernikus , Simon Dach , Immanuel Kant , Johann Gottfried Herder and ETA Hoffmann , among others . In addition to the representation of religious life in East Prussia, u. a. With a rubric Judaica, the Königsberg Albertus University as well as science from East Prussia in general are discussed.

Duchy area in the historical section of the permanent exhibition of the East Prussian State Museum

German Baltic Department

A separate section is dedicated to the Baltic Germans , who for centuries represented a cultural bridge between East and West and, as the culturally, politically and economically dominant sociological group, contributed to a close exchange between Western Europe and the Russian Empire. It addresses the medieval beginnings with special consideration of the Hanseatic League, but the focus is on the Russian period from the early 18th century. Life in the cities and the nobility in their mansions are given special attention. The department ends with the end of Baltic German privileges in the late 19th century, its work as a minority in the new republics after 1918 and the end of Baltic German settlement through resettlement in 1939 as part of the Hitler-Stalin Pact .

Temporary exhibitions

The East Prussian State Museum presents four to six changing exhibitions annually in its new changing exhibition area. From 1987 to 2018 a good 150 exhibitions were shown in Lüneburg. Due to its national mandate, the museum also shows several exhibitions every year in other locations in Germany.

  • Käthe Kollwitz - The World in Black and White (2019) (cabinet exhibition)
  • Big in small things - the painter Horst Skodlerrak on his 100th birthday ( 2019/2020 )
  • "A master of the small format - nature scenes by the hunting painter Reinhold Feussner" (2019) (cabinet exhibition)
  • "Balance and perspective - retro perspective by the artist Hubertus von der Goltz " (2019)
  • "Perceived as precious - watercolors by Heinrich Bromm " (2019) (cabinet exhibition)
  • Johannes Niemeyer - Coasts and Cities. Pictures from the Baltic States "(2018/2019)
  • "Large format - large art [ige] art" (2018)
  • "The Baltic Way to Freedom" (2018)
  • " Carl Knauf - Light over Sand and Haff" (2017/2018) (with catalog)
  • " Johannes Bobrowski's Lithuania: On both sides of the Memel, between East and West" (2017)
  • "Yuri Pawlov: Faces from Kaliningrad / Königsberg" (2017)
  • "Amber. Golden Window to the Past "(2016/2017) (with catalog)
  • “The Lesser Spotted Eagle. Little eagle with big problems "(2016)
  • “Brick architecture in the Baltic region. New Perspectives in Research "(2016) (with catalog)
  • " Wolf children . Leaving between East Prussia and Lithuania "(2016)
  • “Remembered Life - Lived Memory. Arno Surminski on his 80th birthday "(2014)
  • “Between Holstein and Königsberg. Karl Storch 1864–1954 "(2014)
  • “'Everything was on fire!' Jewish life and its destruction in the Prussian provinces of Hanover and East Prussia "(2013/2014) (with catalog)
  • “In the conflict of styles. The Nidden Artists Colony between Impressionism and Expressionism "(2013/2014) (with catalog)
  • “The experience of the elemental. The Expressionist Karl Eulenstein "(2013)
  • “Splendor and misery. Myth and Reality of the Manor Houses in the Baltic States "(2012/2013) (with catalog)
  • “Familiar distance. Communication and Mobility in the Hanseatic Region "(2012) (with catalog)
  • “I transfer the feeling. The East Prussian painter Eduard Bischoff (1890–1974) "(2011/2012)
  • "I called you by your name" (2011)
  • “Drive into the sun. Ernst Mollenhauer in the Nidden artist colony "(2010/2011)
  • Queen Luise of Prussia . Life and Myth "(2010)
  • "The East Prussian painter Karl Friedrich Kunz " (2008)
  • "The Myth of Trakehnen - 275 Years of the Trakehnen Main Stud " (2007)
  • "Designed in East Prussia - The Sculptor Hermann Brachert " (2007)
  • "To the best of East Prussia Aid " - donations for the reconstruction from 1915 "(2006/2007) (with catalog)
  • "Between Haff, Heide, Harz and Helgoland - 100 Years of State Nature Conservation" (2006)
  • "Königsberg in Pictures and Visions" (2005)
  • "Church in the Village: Exhibition of the Secret State Archives of Prussian Cultural Heritage ," Berlin (2003/2004)
  • "100 Years of Cadiner Ceramics - 1903–2003" (2003) (with catalog)
  • "Folklore of the Memelland - The Hugo Scheu Collection from Heydekrug" (2002)
  • " Emil Stumpp , Heads and Landscapes from Moving Times" (2001)
  • "Art from the Teutonic Order of Prussia" (2001) (with catalog)
  • "Early Views of East and West Prussia in Stone Printing" (2001)
  • "Amber Treasures from Marienburg " (2000) (with catalog)
  • "Jews in East Prussia" (1998) (with catalog)


The library contains well over 15,000 titles. The focus of the special library is on publications on East and West Prussia, the German-Baltic settlement area, the Teutonic Order, the history of East Prussia and the issues of the integration and preservation of the cultural identity of those expelled from East and West Prussia after 1945. An important component are the biographies, prose and poetry of people, writers and poets who had their home in East and West Prussia. It can be researched using the Hamburg university catalog and used in the reading room of the Nordostinstitut.

Culture Department

The cultural department attached to the East Prussian State Museum is dedicated to the topics of East Prussia and the historical Baltic States. Its task is to inform about the diverse aspects of the culture and history of the Germans in these areas and to make them known to a wide audience.

Regular events such as lectures, seminars, conferences, readings, book presentations, film screenings and concerts take place throughout the year through the cultural department. In addition, the cultural department - often in cooperation with schools and other educational institutions in Germany, Poland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - organizes school projects, teacher training courses and study trips to bring people into dialogue with one another.


The East Prussian State Museum is located in the old town of Lüneburg . The train station is about 10 to 15 minutes away.


The museum was certified in 2011 by the Museum Association of Lower Saxony / Bremen as a professionally working institution as part of the museum registration . In 2019 the museum seal of approval was issued for a further seven years.

See also


  • Jörn Barfod: The East Prussian State Museum - Origin and Development. In: Yearbook for East German Folklore, 34/1991, pp. 381–399,
  • Ronny Kabus (ed.): East Prussia. Landscape, history, culture. Husum Verlag, Husum 1997, ISBN 3-88042-812-3 .
  • Ronny Kabus: Museum with a future? The contribution of the East Prussian State Museum to the research, maintenance and dissemination of the history and culture of East Prussia. In: New research on the history of the Prussian region, primarily on the more recent cultural history. Marburg, 2003. pp. 209-228.
  • Ronny Kabus: Lenin Luther Lorbass. Mercy! Norderstedt 2014, ISBN 978-3-7322-9968-3 , pp. 246-301.
  • Joachim Mähnert: From Lüneburg into the world. Transnational cultural work in the East Prussian State Museum. In: familiar distance. Communication and mobility in the Hanseatic area, Husum 2012, pp. 100-106., ISBN 978-3-89876-632-6
  • Joachim Mähnert: The German Baltic Museum as a department of the East Prussian State Museum in Lüneburg. In: Yearbook of Baltic Germanism 2012, Oldenburg, 2011. pp. 8–20, ISBN 978-3-923149-66-7
  • Joachim Mähnert: An East Prussian Museum without East Prussia? What future regional museum work can have at a distance of 1,000 kilometers. In: Matthias Dreyer, Alexander Eggert, Giesela Wiese (Hrsg.): Museum making. Museums between folklore and management. A commemorative publication for Rolf Wiese for his 65th birthday. Ehestorf 2017, pp. 195–214.
  • Ulrich Müller: Escape to the Museum? Escape in the museum? The East Prussian State Museum Lüneburg between myth, memory, history and the present. Revisited in museum. Transdisciplinary perspectives on an institution in transition. Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2010, pp. 249-260, ISBN 978-3-8376-1377-3 .
  • Silke Straatman: moose, amber and planet researcher. Children discover the East Prussian State Museum. Husum Verlag, Husum 2006, ISBN 978-3-89876-303-5 .

Web links

Commons : Ostpreußisches Landesmuseum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. The new house broadens the view of Europe , Landeszeitung from August 28, 2018.
  2. The castle becomes the East Prussian State Museum , in: Wulf D. Wagner , Heinrich Lange: The Königsberger Schloss. A building and cultural history . Schnell und Steiner publishing house, Regensburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-7954-1953-0 , pp. 385-407.
  3. ^ Latvian President visits the East Prussian State Museum. Report in the state newspaper of February 23, 2019. Retrieved September 2, 2019 .
  4. ^ Mission statement of the East Prussian State Museum in Lüneburg
  5. State newspaper for the Lüneburg Heath, February 9, 1950.
  6. The Mirror (1960 )
  7. ^ History of the East Prussian State Museum on the museum's website. Retrieved August 18, 2019 .
  8. ^ Report of the Landeszeitung Lüneburg from March 9, 2018. Retrieved on August 18, 2019 .
  9. Big in the small . To the painter Horst Skodlerrak on the 100th birthday. Retrieved November 20, 2019 (November 30, 2019 - March 1, 2020).

Coordinates: 53 ° 14 ′ 46.3 "  N , 10 ° 24 ′ 26.8"  E