City History Museum Leipzig

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City History Museum Leipzig
City History Museum Leipzig Logo.svg
place Leipzig
historical Museum
opening 1909
City of Leipzig
ISIL DE-MUS-853418

The Leipzig City History Museum as an institution of the City of Leipzig collects, documents and presents in its exhibitions objects, information and contexts of the city's events from the development of Leipzig in the early Middle Ages to the present day. With around 466,500 visitors annually (as of the end of 2016), the City History Museum is one of the most visited sights in Leipzig.

Around the central positions of the old town hall and Böttchergäßchen house ( called the new building until 2014 ) is the ring of decentralized theme museums. These include the Völkerschlachtdenkmal and FORUM 1813 , the Schillerhaus in Leipzig-Gohlis, the Museum Zum Arabischen Coffe Baum , the Old Stock Exchange and the Sports Museum (currently without a permanent exhibition).


The Society for the History of Leipzig was founded in 1867 , whose main goals, in addition to researching the city's history, were the preservation of historical monuments and the installation of memorial plaques on important Leipzig buildings. In connection with various publications by the association and its members, numerous testimonies to the city's history were collected over the next few years. The collections grew so quickly that due to a lack of space the domicile had to be changed for the third time in 1873: around 5600 objects were listed at this point in time. In the same year the association acquired the extremely valuable book collection of the Leipzig citizen Johann Cornelius Maximilian Poppe, the approx. 5000 volumes of which would later form the basis of the library of the City History Museum.

In the new home of the history association, the Alten Johannishospital , an exhibition in twelve rooms was opened in 1889, showing interested visitors a selection of the collections.

On December 18, 1906, the association decided to hand over its collections to the City of Leipzig for the newly founded City History Museum. Its construction was recommended as early as 1885 by Gustav Wustmann , who in 1903 specified his proposal to accommodate the museum on the second floor of the Old Town Hall.


In November 1908, the Leipzig city council decided that the old town hall , which was rebuilt from 1906 to 1909 , should function as a city history museum. After completion of the renovation, a first special exhibition took place in the summer of 1909 with a show on the 500th anniversary of the University of Leipzig , although it was still organized by the municipal arts and crafts museum . After the history association's collections were transferred to the Old Town Hall at the end of 1909, an office was set up and the management of the museum was entrusted to Albrecht Kurzwelly , who had been deputy director of the Museum of Applied Arts until then. His stipulation that the collections should not be arranged chronologically but thematically is still largely valid today.

The existing collections were supplemented by objects from the city ​​library , the applied arts museum , the museum of fine arts and the ethnological museum . The official inauguration of the City History Museum took place at the end of 1911, on December 11th the main floor of the old town hall including the ballroom with its exhibition was opened, supplemented by the opening of the upper floor on June 12th, 1916.

Kurzwelly's successor from 1918 was the politically liberal historian, publicist and until 1938 chairman of the historical society Friedrich Schulze , he led the museum through the period of the Weimar Republic and National Socialism until 1945 . A theft caused an international stir in 1937 , in which the small-format painting Moses with the tablets of the law by Lucas Cranach the Elder in the old town hall on October 8th . Ä. removed from the frame and stolen. A day later, the picture was discovered in a basket for parcels to be sent in the post office of Leipzig Central Station , the perpetrator or perpetrators were never identified.

In 1938/1939 the administration and library of the museum moved to the left of the market-side entrance on the ground floor, which had previously been used for private business, after renovation work. In the summer of 1943, due to the war, large parts of the collections were moved to various locations within a 50 kilometer radius of Leipzig. After heavy bombing on December 4, 1943 , the attic and tower of the old town hall burned down; structural changes from earlier years left the ballroom on the main floor and large parts of the collections intact.

From 1946 to 1950 the old town hall was rebuilt as one of the first public buildings in the city, during which time there were only smaller exhibitions. The official reopening of the house took place in May 1952, six years that of the museum library on the ground floor as a specialist library for urban history .

In 1960 it was merged with the Museum for the History of the Labor Movement , which was housed in the former Georgi-Dimitroff Museum in the premises of the Imperial Court building. A year later, through the amalgamation of several institutions, the Museum for the History of the City of Leipzig was created , also known as the Museum Combine from the early 1970s . These included the City History Museum , the Schiller House , the Völkerschlachtdenkmal , the Lenin Memorial (Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse 19-21), the Iskra Memorial (Russenstrasse 48) and the Karl-Liebknecht Memorial (Braustrasse 15).

In 1963 the old stock exchange was assigned to the building management of the City History Museum, on October 18, 1963 the opening of the exhibition pavilion for the Battle of the Nations took place in Wilhelm-Külz-Park . In the period that followed, the permanent exhibition in the Old Town Hall - extended to the upper floor - was continuously expanded into the 1970s, accompanied by numerous special shows. In 1973 the first floor exhibition, which now dealt with the history of the city from 1917 to 1961, was officially opened to the public under the name Leipzig - yesterday - today - tomorrow .

The sports museum as a facility of the house was opened in 1977, in 1980 the Göschenhaus in Grimma was affiliated (returned to Grimma in 1996).

From 1988 to 1990, the permanent exhibition in the old town hall was closed due to overcrowded depots and structural difficulties as part of renovation work.

The reopening took place in 1990 under the old name Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig , on the second floor of the old town hall work and storage rooms were created for the museum staff as well as an area for special exhibitions. At that time, the management, administration and photo library were next to the library on the ground floor of the building. In 1991 the Iskra and Lenin memorials were closed, at the same time the Torhaus Dölitz (with an exhibition of cultural and historical tin figures, handed in in 1998) and a large part of the collections of the former Georgi Dimitrov Museum were assigned to the museum. In the same year, the exhibition activities of the sports museum were also discontinued, the facility as such still exists today - but only as a collection and documentation center. The Karl Liebknecht memorial was closed in 1992.

In addition to setting up the central computer-aided documentation of the museum, the museum in the Arabisches Coffe Baum and the FORUM 1813 at the Völkerschlachtdenkmal were opened in 1999 .

A newly developed overall concept for the museum, which became concrete from 1995, ultimately led to the restructuring and the new building, which was opened in 2004. In the meantime, the old town hall was rebuilt and modernized from 2001 to 2002, and the ground floor zone was given up for purposes outside the museum. For this reason, the library and photo library, large parts of the stored collections and the museum education department had to move temporarily until the opening of the new building, including to the premises of the former district administration of the Ministry for State Security at Matthäikirchhof and in Große Fleischergasse.

A theft discovered in 2016 caused a stir. Between 2011 and 2016, a former employee of the museum stole 576 coins and medals , some of which were extremely rare, from the numismatic collection , which were offered and sold via auction houses and online sales platforms, among other things. The total damage that resulted was almost half a million euros.

Today, the Leipzig City History Museum forms a network of a total of eight institutions, each with a different thematic focus. In total, the collections of the Leipzig City History Museum currently contain over 500,000 objects, of which around 340,000 can be researched via an Internet database.

The Association for the Promotion of the City History Museum is the Hieronymus Lotter Society, founded in 1996 . The company named after the Leipzig Renaissance architect and mayor Hieronymus Lotter supports a. a. Restoration projects, purchases of objects and redesign of exhibitions.


Old Town Hall

The old town hall (front view)

In addition to the new building in Böttchergäßchen, the core of the museum is the old town hall on the market with the central permanent exhibition on Leipzig's city history.

On the main floor of the Old Town Hall, the permanent exhibition on the history of Leipzig from the beginning of the city's development to the Battle of the Nations in 1813 can be viewed. The focal point of this area is the Renaissance ballroom, which is also used for receptions and cultural events, with a 25 m² city model, which Leipzig depicts in contemporary detail in 1823. In addition to two picture galleries (portraits of princes and city judges) that can be visited, the Leipzig case law is also discussed here, including a handwritten edition of the Sachsenspiegel from 1461 and numerous objects on Johann Christian Woyzeck . Starting from the ballroom, the museum visitor gets to chronologically and thematically structured areas (early history and urban development, the Middle Ages, church and university, Reformation, trade fair, baroque, architecture and gardens, everyday urban life, cultural prosperity, war and peace, history of the old town hall, crafts, Music). In the southern part of the main floor there is also the council room and the aerar with objects from the Leipzig treasure trove.

On December 11, 2011, the second part of the permanent exhibition entitled "Modern times. Leipzig from industrialization to the present" was opened on the upper floor with an area of ​​around 1500 m². In addition to a detailed chronological presentation of the city's history from 1815 onwards, the importance of Leipzig in the areas of books, music, trade fairs and sports is dealt with separately in the so-called "city themes". In the roof of the old town hall there is a staging of the destruction of Leipzig in the Second World War .

The back of the building leads to the former dungeon facilities of the old town hall in the basement.

House Böttchergäßchen

House Böttchergäßchen at night

The new building in Böttchergäßchen, which opened in 2004, contains the foyer, studio and visitor services as well as the special exhibition area, a children's museum, library and photo library, workshops as well as the museum's documentation and administration. The central depot over three floors (1,900 m²) forms the core of the house. The natural stone facade of the five-storey building, made of red Rochlitz porphyry , is opened upwards by a glass penthouse. The official name new building was replaced by the name Haus Böttchergäßchen at the end of 2014 .

Children's Museum

The first children's and youth museum "Lipsikus" was opened in November 2004 with an exhibition on the mezzanine floor of the Böttchergäßchen house. Until 2013, it formed the center of the educational offerings in the new building of the City History Museum. In addition to permanently furnished areas (e.g. presentation of the individual facilities of the museum, self-assembling three-dimensional city model, freely usable children's (puppet) theater, machine with stereoscopic views of old Leipzig, presentation of private children's collections), small changing exhibitions were regularly presented and events were held . After being temporarily closed, the children's museum was reopened at the end of 2015 with a new focus. Since then, the topic of Leipzig as a trade fair and trade city has been presented in an interactive hands-on exhibition under the title Children Make Fair .


The scientific special library (reference inventory) comprises around 140,000 volumes with a focus on urban and regional history. In addition to the first book that was verifiably printed in Leipzig ( Giovanni Nannis Glosa Apocalipsim from 1481), the holdings include other incunabula and early prints, municipal ordinances from the late 15th century, rare writings from the Reformation period and numerous regionally significant historical chronicles. Special collections that u. a. The following can be viewed in the library:

Photo library

The photo library, with its approx. 105,000 objects, is one of the large collection areas of the City History Museum. a .:

Völkerschlachtdenkmal / FORUM 1813

Battle of the Nations

There are a total of three viewing platforms at the Völkerschlachtdenkmal, the first is located below the actual entrance to the interior of the monument. The middle viewing platform at a height of 57 meters can also be reached by elevator, the top of the 91 meter high structure can be climbed using a total of 500 steps.

In the crypt of the memorial the victims of the Battle of Nations are reminded of the victims of the Battle of the Nations by a bronze grave slab embedded in the floor and mostly decorated with a wreath . In addition, cultural events, mainly concerts, take place here regularly. In the hall of fame , located one level higher, with the four approximately 9.5 meter statues of the guardians of the dead, an exhibition leads through the architectural history of the Monument to the Battle of the Nations.

The exhibition hall FORUM 1813 , which opened in 1999 in the former Bauhütte des Monument, is located in the annex building on the right of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal and deals with the history of the Völkerschlacht. It focuses on the world of people from the French Revolution to the end of the Wars of Liberation. The exhibition sheds light on the echo of the French Revolution in Saxony, the effects of the alliance with Napoleon on everyday life in Leipzig and the city's lifeline, the trade fair. A diorama recreates the battlefield on a scale of 1:72. A fire rocket with a ladder-like launching frame was reconstructed, which English units fired at Paunsdorf on October 18, 1813, thus setting the village on fire.

The service and visitor center of the building complex is located opposite the FORUM 1813 on the left in front of the Völkerschlachtdenkmal.

Schiller House

Schiller House (Leipzig)

The oldest preserved farmhouse in Leipzig, built in 1717, was reopened in 1998 after extensive restoration and repair work. In the rural-rural-looking rooms, consisting of Göschenzimmer , Bauernstube , Schillerstube , bedroom and kitchen, there are individual smaller exhibition areas on the topics:

  • Friedrich Schiller and Leipzig
  • Leipzig and Gohlis around 1785 (with a model of the village of Gohlis)
  • History of the Schiller House
  • the Leipzig Schiller Club

Opposite the Schillerhaus, on the original three-sided courtyard, there is the castellan's house, which was formerly used as a warehouse and stable, and now houses a museum shop and administrative facilities. In the rear area of ​​the area there is a farm garden designed according to a historical model. Readings and theater performances take place on the grounds of the Schillerhaus all year round.

Old stock exchange

Old Stock Exchange (Leipzig)

The house, which was completed in 1687 for meetings of the Leipzig merchants (presumed builder: Johann Georg Starcke ) is one of the oldest baroque buildings in the city and is used for various cultural events.

To the Arabian Coffe Tree

Coffe tree

The museum, which was opened in 1999 and is accessible free of charge, shows the cultural history of coffee over several floors in the building, first mentioned in 1556, with a focus on Saxony. There is evidence that coffee has been served here since 1711, making it one of the oldest coffee houses in Europe. The museum has been closed for renovation work since 2019 .

Sports Museum

The exhibition area of ​​the sports museum, which opened in 1977 in the facade of the central stadium , has been closed since 1991, but continues to function as a collection and documentation center with archive and library (current address: Sportforum 10).


See also


  • subject M. Publications by the City History Museum Leipzig, Leipzig from 1998
  • Volker Rodekamp (Ed.): The Schiller House in Leipzig-Gohlis. Stadtgeschichtliches Museum, Leipzig 1998, ISBN 3-7950-3905-3
  • Doris Mundus: The old town hall in Leipzig. Lehmstedt Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-937146-01-6
  • Hannelore Stingl: The “coffee tree” in Leipzig. Lehmstedt Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-937146-02-4
  • Steffen Poser: Battle of Nations. (Exhibition catalog of the FORUM 1813 - Museum of the Battle of the Nations near Leipzig). Passage-Verlag, Leipzig 2003, ISBN 3-932900-16-2
  • Volker Rodekamp (ed.): The old town hall in Leipzig. Verlag DZA, Altenburg 2004, ISBN 3-936300-11-9
  • Volker Rodekamp (Ed.): Völkerschlachtdenkmal. Verlag DZA, Altenburg 2004, ISBN 3-936300-05-4
  • Volker Rodekamp (Ed.): Leipzig original. City history from the Middle Ages to the Battle of Nations. Catalog for the permanent exhibition of the City History Museum in the Old Town Hall, Part I , Verlag DZA, Altenburg 2006, ISBN 978-3-936300-24-6
  • Volker Rodekamp (Ed.): Leipzig.Museum. 100 years of the City History Museum. A revue in pictures (= thema M 12) , Leipzig 2009, ISBN 978-3-910034-09-9
  • Volker Rodekamp (ed.): Modern times. Leipzig from industrialization to the present. Subject volume for the permanent exhibition in the old town hall. Leipzig 2011, ISBN 978-3-910034-11-2
  • Volker Rodekamp (ed.): Modern times. Leipzig from industrialization to the present. Catalog for the permanent exhibition in the old town hall. Leipzig 2013, ISBN 978-3-910034-14-3
  • Leipzig. Museum. Volker Rodekamp, ​​director 1996-2019 (= thema.M 20), publisher: Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig. Leipzig 2019, ISBN 978-3-910034-81-5

Web links

Commons : Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Statistical Yearbook 2017. (PDF) City of Leipzig, Office for Statistics and Elections, December 12, 2017, p. 173 , accessed on October 31, 2018 .
  2. Doris Mundus: "... take an interest in the history and legend of our city". The foundation of the Association for the History of Leipzig . In: Volker Rodekamp (Ed.) 2009, p. 14 f.
  3. Urte Härtwig: Poppe, Johann Cornelius Maximilian. In: Saxon Biography. Institute for Saxon History and Folklore , December 1, 2008, accessed on November 9, 2018 .
  4. a b Doris Mundus: "Understanding the collection requires constant work ...". The beginnings of the museum in the old town hall . In: Volker Rodekamp (Ed.) 2009, p. 30.
  5. Doris Mundus: Albrecht Kurzwelly. Director from 1909 to 1917 . In: Volker Rodekamp (Ed.) 2009, p. 31.
  6. Doris Mundus: Friedrich Schulze. Director from 1918 to 1945. In: Volker Rodekamp (Ed.) 2009, p. 35.
  7. Britta Paasche: An unsolved criminal case . In: Volker Rodekamp (Ed.) 2009, p. 40 f.
  8. Klaus Staeubert: Leipzig wants to retrieve stolen coins. In: Leipziger Volkszeitung, June 26, 2017, accessed on April 19, 2019 .
  9. Steffen Poser: Money spoils the character. Theft in the numismatic collection . In: Leipzig Museum 2019, p. 112 f.
  10. InfoService. Collections. [Information sheet] , Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (publisher), Leipzig 2007.
  11. Michael Stephan: Centuries on the hard drive. The documentation . In: Leipzig.Museum 2019, p. 77.
  12. Hieronymus Lotter Society - for the promotion of the City History Museum Leipzig e. V. Accessed November 9, 2018 .
  13. Thomas Mayer: Proud Leipzig. The "Modern Times" exhibition opened with great popularity . In: Leipziger Volkszeitung 118 (2011), No. 288 of December 12, p. 17.
  14. Treasure chest and history laboratory. The new building of the city history museum. [Information sheet] , Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (ed.) . Leipzig 2004.
  15. InfoService. Library. [Information sheet] , Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (ed.) . Leipzig 2007.
  16. Leipzig Chamber of Commerce and Industry: History of the Chamber Library  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (Accessed May 6, 2012)@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  17. InfoService. Photo library. [Information sheet] , Stadtgeschichtliches Museum Leipzig (ed.) . Leipzig 2007.
  18. Museum database
  19. ^ Mathias Orbeck: Leipzig wants to use the guest tax for this . In: Leipziger Volkszeitung from January 23, 2015, p. 15. ( online edition , accessed on February 7, 2019)
  20. Museum director Volker Rodekamp retires. In: Look! The Leipzig museum portal. Leipziger Volkszeitung, March 26, 2019, accessed on April 3, 2019 .