Due to the corona pandemic all events are subject to reservation!

Friedrich Engels – a spectre is haunting Europe

Special exhibition - opening is postponed

Wuppertal is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Engels with a special exhibition from March 29 to September 20, 2020 at "Haus der Jugend" - near to his birthplace in Barmen. The exhibition focuses on Friedrich Engels as an employer, philosopher, social critic, writer and journalist, revolutionary and visionary but also on a dutiful son, a loyall and generous friend and convival host.   It describes his fascinating life at the time of the "industrial revolution" which was to take him from Bremen to Berlin Paris Brussels Cologne, Manchester and London.

The exhibits, individual works, paintings and contemporary photos will show events, living and work on the way into modernity as similarly perceived by Engels himself. Among the highlights of the exhibition are first editions of major works of Friedrich Engels as well as original handwritings, manuscripts and caricatures using multimedia presentations to illustrate his multiaced thinking. In addition, personal items of Friedrich Engels and many other exhibits will offer insights into the life, work and personality of Wuppertal’s most famous son.

More detailed information can be found under special exhibitions and on the website www.engels2020.de.

The special exhibition’s final day, 20 September, is the

7th Wuppertal History Festival: 200 years anniversary of Friedrich Engels

Actors/organisers involved: Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal, historical associations- and initiatives (Wuppertal), die börse GmbH
Event location: Geschwister-Scholl-Platz
Date: 20.09.2020; 11 am – 6 pm

On this day, visitors will be able to enjoy the diversity of the historical culture of Wuppertal: bandweaver, textile museums, associations of the regional transport history, model making clubs, history societies and other civic associations which deal with the history of Wuppertal. They will present themselves together in front of the Haus der Jugend.
On this day, the special exhibition "Friedrich Engels – a spectre is haunting Europe" ends.  The heart of the cultural program will be Friedrich Engels and his life and work, such as the choir even, where choirs from North Rhin-Westphalia (at the invitation of die börse GmbH) honour Friedrich Engels with historic revolutionary and workers‘ songs.


Ab sofort sind Führungen in der Sonderausstellung buchbar

Einstündige Gruppenführung bis max. acht Personen.


Engels Kompakt: 1-stündige Führung, 80,00 € (zzgl. ermäßigten Eintritt pro Person)

Termine können nach Absprache beim Ankerpunkt vereinbart werden
Oder telefonisch: 0202/ 563 – 4375

Öffentliche Führung

Engels öffentlich: 1-stündige öffentliche Führung (max. 8 Personen)

Termine: jeden Donnerstag um 17.00 Uhr und jeden Sonntag um 11.00 Uhr

Die Kosten betragen 5,- € pro Person zzgl. Eintritt.

Es wird empfohlen, die Tickets online zu buchen, da es vor allem am Wochenende auf Grund der begrenzten Besucherzahl zu Wartezeiten kommen kann.


Engels2020 guided tours

In 2020, Friedrich Engels, a philosopher and revolutionary is celebrating his 200th anniversary. From the age of twenty, he lived in Bremen, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, Brussels, Manchester and London but he had never lost contact with his basic roots – his home town of Barmen. Who were the people around him; how did his birthplace shape him and what did he do for Wuppertal?

To answer these questions the Historische Zentrum Wuppertal offers the following tours:


1. Origin and family of Friedrich Engels – Exploration of the Engelsgarten

In Barmer-Bruch – today‘s Engelsgarten – lies the textile factory and the factory colony of the Engels‘ family.
Two family and two workers‘ houses as well as the church built by Friedrich Engels senior remained preserved.
Here, Friedrich Engels spent his childhood an youth, was brought up in a spirit of his pious ancestors and then gathered social experiences, that later would be of great benefit to him as an author of social reports, as a philosopher and politician, and that he would bring into his daily business together with his friend Karl Marx.
In his parental home, he composed his work "The Condition of the Working Class in England", which made him famous.
He was in regular contact with his relatives of the Barmer Bruch. In the Engelsgarten no fewer than three monuments (1958, 1981, and 2014) were put up for the great son of Wuppertal and the co-founder of the so called scientific socialism.

Key dates: 25.04./02.05./09.05./16.05./23.05./30.05./06.06./13.06./20.06./27.06.2020. Beginning is at 2 pm.
Meeting place: Engelsgarten, plastic of Alfred Hrdlicka (1928-2009): "Die starke Linke" (The strong left).
Duration: 90 minutes; registration is not required.
Fees: 8 € per person.


2. The revolutionary Friedrich Engels in Elberfeld

In Elberfeld, Friedrich Engels attended the Gymnasium and was a member of the Elberfelder literature group - founded by some of his friends.
In 1845 the later social reformer Adolf Kolping went to Elberfeld as a young chaplain.
In the catholic journeymen`s association he found an answer to the social question.
At the same time Engels had been working on the publication of the "Gesellschaftsspiegel" – an early socialist journal.
He was also organizing the first communist meetings in Germany.
During the 1848/1849 revolution, when the memebers of the landwehr of Elberfeld were calling for an uprising, he – at that time working as an editor of the New Rhenish Newspaper - came back to Wuppertal and he joined the insurgents as an officer and inspector of the barricades.
After the amnesty, his friend Karl Marx lodged incognito in Elberfeld for one night because he did not trust the Prussian police.

Key dates: 03.05./17.05./07.06./21.06.2020.
Beginning is at 2 pm.
Meeting place: Laurentiusplatz
Duration: 90 minutes; registration is not required.
Fees: 8 € per person.

3. Friedrich Engels and the early industrialized Wuppertal
The avenue in Unterbarmen –  today Friedrich-Engels-Allee – was Engels‘ way to school for a couple of years.
The turquoise red dyeings, textile factories and machine building companies that once were typical for Wuppertal were located along the street.
This is also where the home weavers met in the pubs on the day of delivery and the life of the "ordinary" people in Wuppertal took place, which the 19-year-old Engels described in his "Briefe aus dem Wupperthal" (Letters from Wuppertal).
Here, in the inn "Zur Stadt London" Engels conspirationally met with Moses Hess, his mentor.
Together they prepared the first communist assemblies of Germany in Elberfeld.
Here also, the young Georg Weerth as a young apprentice – later a close friend of Friedrich Engels - has taken his lodging.
In the western part of the avenue, homes and factories, most of whom are still preserved, document the early industrialized development of the city.
Key dates: 03.05/17.05./07.06./21.06.2020
Beginning is at 2 pm
Meeting place: suspension railway station "Völklinger Brücke"
Duration: 90 minutes; registration is not required
Fees: 8 € per person


4. Walking through the Cemetery of Unterbarmen with Friedrich Engels
When Engels senior died in 1860, the Engels‘ family obtained an exemption from the Prussian government so that Friedrich Engels who was wanted could participate at the funeral.
The police of Barmen as Engels himself wrote „gave him military salute“.
The Cemetery of the United Evangelical community is the family cemetery of the Engels‘ family.
The parents of Friedrich Engels, two of his brothers, two of his uncles and numerous nieces and nephews have been buried here.
However, there are further anecdotes and stories about other graves to be told.
There is also the grave of Johann Schuchard- an Engels` relative – on whose initiative the first child protection act was passed in Prussia in 1839.
Here, too, is the grave of August Bredt – a childhood friend of Engels, who later became his persecutor and the mayor of Barmen.
Ignatz Lind who was also buried here was a revivalist, a Christian communitarian and a neighbour of the Barmer Bruch.
Lind was also a one of the persons who provided advice and ideas for the young Friedrich Engels.
Key date:
Beginning is at 2 pm
Meeting Place: Am Unterbarmer Friedhof 16, 42285 Wuppertal
Fees: 8 € per person; if having a ticket for the special exhibition - reduced fee: 5,-€


Rethinking Friedrich Engels!

Six lectures and dialogues


Involved actors/organisers: Rainer Lucas, Reinhard Pfriem, Dieter Westhoff, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal, friends‘ association Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal

In his writings, Friedrich Engels has taken position to socio-political problems – as both scientist and politician in the European labour movement.
More than 130 years have passed since then and the question arises: what would Engels like to say to us today?
The discussions thus are not limited to Engels‘ contributions, but also concern current issues on development: globalisation and sustainability, social and ecological justice, responsible and community-orientated entrepreneurship, religion/morality and ideology, dialectics of nature and technology as well as gender ratio/work – and life patterns.
These issues are requiring an active discussion. Hence, this event format will offer space for critical and opposing positions.

02.04.2020 (postponed): Michael Krätke, Peter Hennicke and Daniel Lorberg: Capitalism, globalisation, sustainable development, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.

28.04.2020: Roland Brus: Engels in Oberbarmen. Artist Lecture with experts of daily life from Oberbarmen, Die Färberei, Peter-Hansen-Platz 1, 42275 Wuppertal.
14.05.2020: Reinhard Pfriem, Burghard Flieger and Ralf Putsch: Entrepreneurship and community-orientated economic growth, Alte Schmiede (Firma Knipex), Oberkamper Straße 13, 42349 Wuppertal.
28.05.2020: Eva Bockenheimer, Martin Büscher and Ulrich Klan: Materialism, idealism, morality today, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.
16.06.2020: Rainer Lucas, Lutz Becker and Lars Hochmann: Technology development and Dialectics of Nature, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.
25.08.2020: Gisela Notz and Susanne Schunter-Kleemann: Gender ratio, work and life patterns, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.

Who was Friedrich Engels?

School competition Engels2020

  • Actors/organisers: Friends` association Historisches Zentrum e.V., Bergischer Journalistenverein e.V. im Deutschen Journalistenverband NRW, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal. Sponsored by the Johannes-Rau-Stiftung

The aim of the competition is for students in grades 4 to 13 to deal with the historical personality of Friedrich Engels.The form of presentation of the results is freely selectable and can be essay, picture or photo story, film, magazine, art object, play, wall newspaper, video or drawing, analog or digital. The sources used must of course be indicated: What can be won? The main prize is a trip to Berlin lasting several days. There are also numerous other prizes such as cash prizes, books and tickets for cultural institutions. The presentation of the results and the award ceremony will take place at a public event. The prize-winning works will also be announced on the Internet afterwards.

Industrial history in private!

The correspondence of the Engels family (1791-1858) online

Involved actors/organisers: Prof. Dr. W. Lukas and Prof. Dr. K. Wolf (BUW), Historical Centre Wuppertal, F. Etling, D. Grieshammer; actresses and actors as well as students of the Cologne University of Music and Dance (Campus Wuppertal)
Venue: Engels-House  
Date: tba

The Municipal Archive in Wuppertal houses a treasure of almost 350 letters of the Engels family that are edited online as part of a cooperation project between the Historische Zentrum and the university of Wuppertal.  
Deriving from the times of the ancestors (inter alia, Johann Caspar Engels, Friedrich Engels senior), first discovered in the 1990s and left unexplored by the Marx-Engels research, the (private – and business) letters from the late age of enlightenment to the mid 19th century testify the establishment of business relationships of the Engels‘ family on the regional, national and international level. They present valuable documents of the early stages of industrialization and contain plentiful information regarding contemporary historical events (for example the Napoleonic occupation of Elberfeld) as well as the history of mentality, and daily life history. The objective of this project is to create a digitized and publicly accessible online edition which will, first, edit the letter texts in a philological and critical manner and, second, make them accessible by using a contextualised annotation. In terms of the public presentation in the newly renovated Engels-house, editors, archivists and media designers provide an insight into this project. Selected letters are read by actresses and actors.
Students of the University of Cologne (Campus Wuppertal) provide the musical framing with contemporary chamber music works.

Friedrich Engels on world stamps

Stamp exhibition

  • Actors/organisers involved: Friends’ association Historical Centre, PHILAG Wuppertal r.a., Münzfreunde Wuppertal r.a., Historical Centre Wuppertal
    Venue: Lichthof, Town Hall Wuppertal, Johannes-Rau-Platz 1
    Date: 16. - 28.11.2020
    Time: Opening hours of the Town Hall Wuppertal
    Fees: Free entrance
    Special feature: on November 28, 2020 a special stamp made available to customers on Friedrich Engels‘ 200th birthday.
    In the past 100 years, several hundred stamps with Friedrich Engels and/or Karl Marx have been released.
    The new approaches to philosophy, economics, and politics developed by Engels and Marx have influenced the 20th century. However, the thoughts of Engels and his friend are still under discussion in the 21st century.
    Despite the fact that the countries of the former East Bloc are particularly well represented here, already in 1919 the first stamp with a portrait of Engels has been published.
    The stamp exhibition in Lichthof of the Town Hall Wuppertal Barmen presents the most beautiful pieces of the vast collection of stamps of Rolf Walther. The Engels-stamps are embedded in their historical context.


Weaving mill, grinding shop and hammer mill

Special exhibition, 11.05.-29.05.2020

Involved actors/organisers: Kulturbrücke Wuppertal-Engels, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal, Bandwirkermuseum Ronsdorf, Steffenshammer Gelpetal, Förderverein Manuelskotten and further historic institutions/associations in cooperation with the working group Bergische Museen.

Venue: Town Hall Wuppertal, Lichthof
Date: 11.05.-29.05.2020
Time: Opening hours of the Town Hall Wuppertal
Fees: free entrance

During the industrialization of Wuppertal and the Bergische Land, the main and most important branches were the ironmonger and tooling industry as well as the ribbon industry. The Engels family owned one of the largest textile factories in the Wupper valley. From these industries, the German Manchester grew.   These days, the inheritance of the industries is preserved in a few small museums. In a special exhibition, three regional museums (Bandwirkermuseum Ronsdorf, Steffenshammer Gelpetal, Manuelskotten) provide insight into the work of these traditional industries.
The special exhibition is also part of the theme year "Ganz viel Arbeit" of the working group Bergische Museen: www.bergischemuseen.de.

Graves of the Engels family in Unterbarmen

Restoration project

  • Actors/organisers: Friends` association Historisches Zentrum e. V. und Ev. Friedhofsverband
  • Venue: Am Unterbarmer Friedhof 16, Wuppertal

The gravestones in sensitive sandstone in the traditional Unterbarmer cemetery were restored with the help of the friends` association Historisches Zentrum. The grave of Friedrich Engels senior is the centre of attention. The site corresponds in size to comparable graves of Wuppertal industrial families, but is more modest in its design. Friedrich Engels Junior is not buried here.. His ashes were scattered in the North Sea at his request. The graves can be reached not far from the entrance of the cemetery. They will probably be a place to visit , where there are interesting things to tell.