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The Central Museum of Migration

"Haus der Einwanderungsgesellschaft"

We live in a society of immigration: Migration shapes our every-day lives. Every second child born in German cities has a "migration background". The realisation that migration is in fact the norm, has not yet taken hold in society. The spread of knowledge about cultural diversity and the breaking down of prejudices, are both vital for our future coexistence. A museum in which Germany can get to know itself as a country of migration offers just such a possibility.

Our planned museum will cover this topic from the present. It will trace the development of our migration society and its constant state of change. The history of our society will be told from multiple perspectives and it will create a new historical narrative, with a focus on the years from 1945 to the present. All forms of migration will be covered – from flight and displacement to labour migration; from family reunification and resettlement to multi-local ways of life.

As migration is not a one-way street, there will also be forays into emigration. At the same time, we will also include countries of origin in our approach, because migration is a transnational phenomenon. The exhibition will be designed as a vibrant place, where visitors will find a well-balanced relationship between the educational and the experiential. Our objects and stories convey the meaning of migration in a very concrete way.

Photo: D. Hackenberg, DOMiD-Archive, Köln

DOMiD: central actor in the culture of remembrance

DOMiD is the most experienced actor in the field of culture of remembrance and museumization of immigration in Germany. The association was founded in 1990 by migrants, to start establishing a collection on the history of immigration. Even then, the goal was to set up a migration museum. Today, DOMiD represents a cross-section of the immigration society in terms of its membership and employee structure and has a collection of immigration history that is unique in Germany, with over 150,000 social, cultural and everyday history records on the history of immigration in Germany (including the former GDR). In addition to the records on migration from abroad, the collection also includes exhibits on internal migration from 1945 to the present day and offers numerous thematic starting points, e.g. on flight, displacement, resettlement or even multilocal ways of life.

Image: D. Hackenberg, DOMiD Archive, Cologne

Photo: krafthaus, das Atelier von facts und fiction

Content conception

Starting from the present, with constant reference to the common history (ies) since 1945, the diversity and heterogeneity in society must be recognized or presented in such a house. Due to different experiences and affiliations, there is no such thing as 'the' German story. History should rather be considered multiperspectival. This should also be reflected in exhibitions, that should allow different voices to speak. How did children of Italian immigrants experience the 2006 World Cup or what role did the reunification play for Turkish immigrants and their descendants? It is about representing the development towards a society whose self-image is determined by multiperspectivity - it is plural, flexible and constantly changing. In this context, migration is not the focus of a specific topic, but it is interwoven in higher-level concept spaces, like a leitmotif.

Image: krafthaus, the atelier of facts and fiction

Photo: BeL, Sozietät für Architektur

On the way ...

DOMiD's collection on the history of migration will form the basis of the house. DOMiD has been funded by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia for many years. In 2016 DOMiD commissioned a feasibility study for the Migration Museum, financed by the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In 2017, the NRW state government anchored the project in the coalition agreement and in September 2019 in the 2030 participation and integration strategy. In a Council decision in February 2018, the city of Cologne spoke out for the establishment of the house in Cologne. A corresponding location owned by the city has been found and approved with reservation about the funding. In July 2019, the plans were presented to the public and transferred to the urban planning process. In November 2019, the federal government finally agreed to co-finance the house of immigration society in the amount of 22.13 million euros.

Photo: BeL, law firm for architecture


2020 - mid 2023 Planning and preparation of the construction phase; Development of permanent exhibition; Participatory programs

mid-2023- End-2024 Construction

Beginning 2026 Completion and opening

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