Extension of the Frankfurter Goethe-Haus: Das Deutsche Romantik-Museum


Exhibiting the worldwide unique collections of literature on German Romanticism, which are stored in the archives of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift and cannot be seen on public display, is the main goal of the Deutsches Romantik-Museum. Today, as the property on the left side of the Goethe-Haus is now free for development, there is a new chance to implement this old plan.

© Freies Deutsches Hochstift – Frankfurter Goethe-MuseumFriedrich Schlegel: Notizen zur Philosophie, um 1805 © Freies Deutsches Hochstift – Frankfurter Goethe-Museum

The Deutsche Romantik Museum next to the Frankfurter Goethe-Haus

The Deutsches Romantik-Museum is meant to be a memorial site for this key period of German and European intellectual history. The Age of Enlightenment, The Classical Age and The Modern Age are represented in internationally renowned museums in Wolfenbüttel, Weimar and Marbach, while there is no comparable institution for the intellectual movement of Romanticism. At the same time Romanticism is internationally identified with Germany more than any other period of western culture. The outstanding collections of the Freies Deutsches Hochstift, which is the cultural association responsible for the Goethe-Haus since 1863, are supposed to be presented within a modern and interactive museum. Engaging in a constant exchange with the Goethe-Haus and -Museum in Frankfurt, as one of the most important institutions of Germany as a cultural nation, the Deutsches Romantik-Museum can make an important contribution toward improved cultural education and to the manifestation of a collective European identity as well.


The unique collections of literature on the Romantic period provide the basis for this vitally important museum. Safely stored within the archival cellars, the Freies Deutsches Hochstift holds the most extensive and most versatile stocks worldwide. These stocks comprise letters, manuscripts, graphics etc. by key figures of this period, such as Novalis, Joseph von Eichendorff and Bettine and Clemens Brentano. This is supplemented by top-level collections of visual arts as well as items of everyday culture of that time. As well, the Hochstift has been working as an internationally acknowledged research institute regarding the literature of German Romanticism since half a century.

At present we have the historic opportunity to implement the plan which has existed since the 1920s - to build the new museum directly adjacent to the Goethe-Haus. Due to the moving of the Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, the building on the southern end of the Goethe-Haus is going to be torn down. Parts of the new building site which are now free for development are the focus of consideration for this planned museum especially regarding the city of Frankfurt’s rightful position as the leaser.

The planned museum will address to a broad and heterogeneous audience. The Goethe-Haus has already 100.000 visitors per year. The target group of the Deutsches Romantik-Museum will be similar:
• Visitors interested in literature, arts and history as well as educational establishments (schools, universities etc) from all over Germany
• Audiences of experts, especially interested in German culture and literature
• Tourists from all over the world (with a high percentage of Asian guests)

Exhibition areaseac of 600 square metres each are planned for the picture gallery of Goethe’s time, for the German Romantic period and temporary exhibitions. In addition, there will be an entrance area consisting of a ticket office, managerial facilities and a museum shop. It will provide an appropriate entrée for the neighbouring Goethe-Haus as well. From the exhibition rooms the eye is drawn to the rear side and courtyard of the Goethe-Haus, the Goethe-garden and the historical part of the Hochstift-buildings. The rooms for temporary exhibitions will have an underground connection to the cellars of the Hochstift.

The European perception of Romanticism will be content and message of the museum. Due to the direct proximity to the Goethe-Haus, this new museum will deal with the fact that Goethe is internationally seen as the most important representative of German Romanticism. Furthermore, this period has had great impact on German history and politics. When examining the far reaching cultural benefits of this period, the pertinent question arises regarding how much direct influence the literary and philosophical ideas of German Romanticism have originally determined how Western European concepts regarding man and his dealings toward democracy have developed. The main parts of this conception are rooted in the romantic awakening at the end of the 18th century. This thought of a romantic awakening was decisively inspired by the young Goethe. Frankfurt’s most famous citizen’s later concept of ‘world literature’ is unthinkable without the European Romantics.

This new museum will connect the exhibition of high-level originals (manuscripts, graphics, paintings, objects of everyday use) with interactive and experimental forms of presentation. It is planned to create a multimedia experience museum which uses the romantic concept of Synaesthesia to confront the visitors with the key ideas, to offer basic knowledge of German Romanticism and to provide insights into the network of its artists. A broad audience will be able to experience this flourishing poly-cultural movement and its literary prosperity displaying the romantic interaction of emotion and reflection. The ideas of Romanticism extend far beyond their narrow period boundaries (1790-1850) and still have a great impact on Germany today.

An assessed maximum amount of 16 million euro will be necessary for establishing the completion of the new museum and the new permanent exhibition. This amount will be financed in three-quarters by public financial contributions. The Federal Republic of Germany and The Federal State of Hessen have promised 4 million euro each, the City of Frankfurt 1,8 million euro and and the Hochstift and private investors 6,2 million euro.

A donation form can be completed online under the following link: https://deutsches-romantik-museum.de/spenden.

The museum will open 2021. After the competion has been completed, it is now planned by Christoph Mäckler Architekten.

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