Special Exhibition: 875 Years — Lübeck tells us a story

In this exhibition the LÜBECKER MUSEEN, the European Hansemuseum, the Archive of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, the Municipal Library, and the Archaeology and Listed Buildings Department are presenting 100 artefacts that illustrate the history of the city. 9 September 2018 to 6 January 2019 in St. Anne’s Museum Quarter and the European Hansemuseum!

The city’s jubilee this year provides an opportunity to look back at the history of Lübeck and its defining characteristics. It gives us a chance to rediscover and retell certain aspects of the city’s history. The Hanseatic City of Lübeck is 875 years old in 2018 and it is celebrating with a very special exhibition project at two sites in the town.

100 unique objects

100 unique objects from Lübeck’s extensive collections are at the centre of the show and add up to form an impressive image of its urban history – like pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. The exhibits recount thrilling and sometimes curious anecdotes from Lübeck’s past. They are artefacts that have marked Lübeck and whose history covers the entire period of 875 years. One example is the herring filleting machine, which stands for and bears witness to the fishing industry that was so important for Lübeck, and also reminds us that the first canning factory in Germany was built in Lübeck in 1845. In the exhibition it is juxtaposed with the carved altarpieces in the refectory of St. Anne’s Museum.There are exhibits from every era, which have been selected as representative of Lübeck’s character at the time. So a chamber pot is not just a chamber pot. The fact that it features an image of Napoleon tells us something about the seven years under French occupation from 1806 to 1813: it is an expression of Lübeck’s reaction to the occupying power.

St. Annen-Museum_Nachtgeschirr_© die Lübecker Museen, Kulturstiftung Hansestadt Lübeck

Bereich Archäologie u. Denkmalpflege der Hansestadt Lübeck _Waldemar-Kopf © die Lübecker Museen, Kulturstiftung Hansestadt Lübeck

Exhibits from the 20th century include Willy Brandt’s typewriter, which he used in an act of resistance to write pamphlets against the Nazi regime. By contrast, the object known as the “Apothecary’s Mummy” is quite a conundrum – what secrets does it hold and what does it have to do with Lübeck?

The European Hansemuseum has the biggest artefact in the exhibition in the form of the Castle Friary. It not only can be seen from the inside, but also stands for the Danish period (1201-1225-27) in the town’s history, which was important for its early development. Traces of this period can still be found in the walls of the former Dominican friary to this day.

The exhibition is on show in St. Anne’s Museum Quarter and in the Castle Friary, part of the European Hansemuseum, in the north of the Old Town. Both institutions have seized the opportunity offered by the city’s jubilee to organise their first joint exhibition. The “875 Years” exhibition is a cooperative venture, with a common design, a programme of accompanying activities that links both sites and a single entrance ticket.