Migration has history
Migration has always existed. It has been shaping our society for centuries and affects all people, regardless of their biography. However, the realization that migration is the normal case is not yet firmly anchored in society. The stories of migrants, their descendants, Black people and people of color are too often ignored.
With the "Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft" (House of Immigration Society), a place is being created in Cologne where permanent and temporary exhibitions will show how migration has inscribed itself in German history and shaped our social coexistence. In addition, as a cultural and educational center, the house offers space for exchange and a change of perspective on issues such as identity, coexistence and participation.
View of Hall 70, a disused factory building on the former site of Klöckner-Humboldt-Deutz AG in Köln-Kalk. Photo: Wolfgang Heep/DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
In the past, Hall 70 was used as a production and assembly hall. Photo: Wolfgang Heep/DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
An approximate space of 8,500 square meters offers room for a variety of uses. Photo: Wolfgang Heep/DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
The outer facades of Halls 70 (in the foreground) and 71 (in the background) on Dillenburger Strasse in Köln-Kalk. Photo: DOMiD-Archiv, Köln
Graphic draft of what the "House of Immigration Society" might look like after its opening. Graphic: facts and fiction
The Commitment to the Migration Society: Every Story Counts!
"When we started collecting testimonies on the immigration of Turkish migrant workers in a garage in Essen in 1990, we had no idea that a migration museum would emerge from the society in Germany."
(Ahmet Sezer, founding member and board member of DOMiD)
Behind the project with the working title "House of Immigration Society" is the Documentation Center and Museum on Migration in Germany - in short: DOMiD. The non-profit association based in Cologne was founded by migrants in 1990.
Since then, DOMiD has been one of the pioneers of the museumization of migration and the communication of migration history. The non-profit association stands for a multi-perspective view of history and is committed to an inclusive culture of remembrance.
DOMiD is home to Germany's largest collection of objects and testimonies about the diverse history of migration in Germany. The ongoing collection grew out of civil society. It currently comprises more than 150,000 social, cultural and everyday historical testimonies.
DOMiD’s goal since its foundation was to build a museum where migration is conveyed as a normal case. This plan is now about to come to life. In 2019 the federal government and the state of NRW included funds for the "House of Immigration Society" in their budgets. Commissioning is expected to begin in 2027.
The DOMiD office is in the same building as the district town hall in Köln-Ehrenfeld. Since 2009 offices, depots and magazines of the non-profit association have been situated here. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
Photographs of objects for the DOMiD collection. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
The DOMiD collection currently includes more than 150,000 social, cultural and daily historical testimonies. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
A visitor at an exhibition with objects from the DOMiD collection. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
Cassettes in one of the DOMiD depots; in the background the lighthouse in Cologne-Ehrenfeld. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
The DOMiD library with workplaces for archive research. Photo: DOMiD Archive, Cologne
"Germany is a country of immigration. And yet the perspectives of immigrants and their descendants have hardly found a place in German discourse or in our historiography. With the "House of Immigration Society", a place is now being created where this history is honoured and told. I am looking forward to this new place of learning, which aims to depict the diversity of our society."
Hortensia Völckers, Artistic Director of the Federal Cultural Foundation: "The 'House of Immigration Society' will not be a conventional-style museum. With its support for DOMiD and the DOMiDLabs, the Federal Cultural Foundation is committed to ensuring that migrant perspectives and interests play a decisive role in the development of the concept. The guiding principle of participation will make the Migration Museum a new type of cultural institution."
"Immigrants and their descendants have helped to build this country and have left a lasting mark on it. It is therefore all the more important that our country, with the House of Immigration Society, is given a symbolic place where we can learn a great deal about our history. I support this wholeheartedly. We need the perspectives of all people in Germany to understand our history and hold it together." Reem Alabali-Radovan, Federal Commissioner for Integration
Prof. Dr. Rita Süßmuth, retired President of the Bundestag / Patroness "House of Immigration Society": Germany is de facto an immigration country. Migration and social diversity will continue to shape the Federal Republic in the future. The fact that we accept refugees in large numbers is not anchored in all parts of the population. The events in 2015 also triggered uncertainty and fears among many. Cologne is an excellent example of successful integration and living together. Cohesion comes from working together and living together. The “House of Immigration Society” will make an important contribution to this.
Bassam Ghazi for the Import Export Kollektiv, Theater pedagogue, director and diversity trainer at the Schauspiel Köln: What was there first? You or your story? This project, through which we will be able to walk in the future with our children and tell them stories of our parents and grandparents, is on its way.
Christiane Benner, Zweite Vorsitzende IG Metall: "Finally the time has come and "das Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft" (the house of immigration society) is being built! With more than 500,000 members with a migration background in the IG Metall, it is very important to us to tell and visualize the history of all people who are living and working here. For years, we have been supporting the demand for an independent museum for the history of migration. "
Mark Terkessidis, Migrationsforscher und Autor, Beiratsmitglied bei DOMiD: There are museums for cutlery and for chocolate, for sports and for arts and crafts. In the case of the children under the age of six, especially in the cities of the old federal states, children with a migration background are consistently in the majority. Does one still have to justify why there should be a museum for migration?
Serap Güler, Integrationsstaatssekretärin NRW: We are a country of immigration! So many people from other countries have found a new home here. It is high time for this history of immigration to be appreciated, made visible and told: through a central museum of migration.
Dr. Rolf Mützenich, Chair of SPD group in the German Parliament: Not only does migration have history in Germany, it is one of the pressing issues of our time. I campaigned for this project in order to enable a place of remembrance for culture and foster an exchange on migration issues.
Can Candan, Filmmaker, Director/Producer of Duvarlar - Walls - Mauern: The funding for the new „House of Immigration Society“ is such an important opportunity to appreciate Germany as a country with a rich history of migration and all the contributions migrants have made to this society with the stories and experiences from the past, discussions in the present, and imaginations for the future.
İbrahim Arslan, Activist and survivor of the racist arson attacks in Mölln 1992: Migrant-situated knowledge has not been considered for decades, although it has always been and remains expert knowledge concerning racism. This knowledge now has a museum.
Gabriele Hammelrath, Memeber of Parliament NRW, SPD: My heartfelt congratulations on this great success. In addition, my great appreciation for the intensive work and the tireless commitment - because only through this has the important step on the way to the Migration Museum come about. Of course, I offer you my support for the next steps.
Prof. Dr. Karim Fereidooni, Junior Professor of Didactics of Social Science Education at the Ruhr University Bochum; racism researcher: Germany is a migration society. A society shaped by migration must honor such achievements that have been made. A migration museum is an important step to represent the cultural memory of our diverse society.
Samy Charchira, diploma social worker: If we want to shape our future as a society, we cannot deny our present. The country of immigration Germany urgently needs a migration museum. That commands already the historical truth.
"Neue Wege – Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft"
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