"Show me how you party and I’ll tell you who you are.” Oskar Schlemmer, Bauhaus art professor
Minimalist and serious? No way!
Say Roaring Twenties and up pops a mental image of jazz, cocktails and flappers. Not just in New York and Chicago, but also in Weimar and Dessau, the German cities where the Bauhaus movement was born a century ago. Back then, designers, architects, and painters studied during the week and on the weekends, they had fun. They created themed parties, festivals, experimental theater, music, and even clothing. That creative spirit continues in BauhausLand, a couple of hours south of Berlin. This summer sees an array of musical and cultural events in the build-up to the 2019 Bauhaus centenary celebrations.
Themed parties, festivals and experimental theater in Dessau
In Dessau, “Yellow Angled” is the theme of the annual Bauhaus Festival. Expect the unexpected, indoors and out, over two evenings (August 31st, September 1st). This modern take on Bauhaus tradition includes theater, music, installations and one-of-a-kind performance artistry. Why yellow? Because this primary color stands for the dissolution of boundaries, a revolt against fixed shapes. Only 30 minutes from Dessau, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz celebrates summer with a series of concerts in the parks and palaces of this UNESCO World Heritage site. On Saturday August 11th, join in the 278th birthday celebrations for Prince Leopold III, creator of these glorious gardens. And at the end of the day, head back to Dessau and the Prellerhaus, the 1926 student dorm. Stay the night in a studio apartment, where the Bauhaus atmosphere is palpable. Think replicas of original furniture to rooms dedicated to Bauhaus legends, like German-American painter Josef Albers. A special treat!
University life, wine festivals and cultural highlights in Weimar
In the Classical City of Weimar, 100 miles from Dessau, the Weimar Summer Festival and Weimar Arts Festival are both magnets. As well as public art works and performances by present-day Fine Arts students at the Bauhaus University, reminders of the Bauhaus’ artistic experiments include “I have seen the future: Bauhaus and Film”, reflecting the then new medium of cinema. Don’t miss the outdoor lakeside concerts in the Weimarhallenpark, performed by the Staatskapelle Weimar, one of Germany’s oldest and most respected symphony orchestras. More reminders of the Bauhaus philosophy are in the former School of Arts and Crafts, where Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in 1919. Now, this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with the nearby Haus am Horn, a prototype of a Bauhaus home. Discover what it means to study, learn, live, and have fun at today’s Bauhaus University on a Bauhaus Walking Tour, led by current students. More fun is to be had at the Goethe Wine Festival (August 30th-September 2nd). On the main market place, this jamboree commemorates the birthday of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany’s best-loved poet and playwright.
For discounted entry to the region’s main attractions, buy the Weimar Card and Thuringia Card. To explore the Heritage Region around Dessau, buy the WelterbeCard.
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