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Chemnitz becomes European Capital of Culture 2025

Chemnitz University of Technology supported the application of the city of Chemnitz with all its strength - President Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier thanks all those who contributed to it with numerous initiatives.

Chemnitz is European Capital of Culture 2025. At exactly 13:27 the international jury announced its vote. Chemnitz was able to successfully prevail with its application over Hanover, Hildesheim, Nuremberg, and Magdeburg. The Capital of Culture will be officially appointed by the Conference of Ministers of Culture at the end of the year on the basis of today's jury recommendation.

"The 'Chemnitz Dream' of becoming European Capital of Culture has become reality! This is an outstanding success for our city - and thus also for our university, which has actively supported the Capital of Culture application in many ways. I am very pleased and would like to thank all those involved, including many members and relatives of our university, who have been extremely successful with numerous initiatives and projects during the application phase," says the President of Chemnitz University of Technology, Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, who also lobbied for the city's application during a live digital visit of the jury last week.

Chemnitz University of Technology was involved from the very beginning with numerous initiative

It was a long road to the final decision for the title on 28 October 2020 in the two-stage and competitive process for the city of Chemnitz, which the university strongly supported from the very beginning. Chemnitz University of Technology is represented in both the steering group and the program advisory board for the Capital of Culture application. The President of Chemnitz University of Technology, Prof. Dr. Gerd Strohmeier, is a member of the steering group. Members of the program advisory board are Prof. Dr. Bernadette Malinowski, holder of Professorship of Modern German and Comparative Literature, and Prof. Dr. Christoph Fasbender, holder of the Professorship of History of German Literature and Language at Chemnitz University of Technology.

In addition, Chemnitz University of Technology has already supported the initial application steps with various initiatives. These include the clear commitment to support the application and the emphasis on the application as a particularly important common goal at the first joint meeting of the entire university president’s office and the entire city hall leadership of the city of Chemnitz (German article) in October 2017.

Furthermore, representatives of the Chemnitz University of Technology took part in the idea-gathering conference STAT(D)T KULTUR: Chemnitz 2025 (German article) in November 2017 to exchange views on, among other things, the cultural strategy for Chemnitz 2025.

In addition, a Junior Professorship in European Culture and Civil Society (Jun.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux) was established in the winter semester 2018/2019, among other things to support Chemnitz 2025.

The exhibition "Gestures - yesterday, today, the day after tomorrow” which was shown in Berlin and Frankfurt after Chemnitz, was also part of the Capital of Culture application. The Chair of the Professorship of German Linguistics (Prof. Dr. Ellen Fricke) at Chemnitz University of Technology cooperated with the Chemnitz Museum of Industry and the Ars Electronica Futurelab (Linz) on the "MANUACT" project sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

The university published a series of interviews with international students, in which the students were asked about Chemnitz culture and explicitly also about the application for the Capital of Culture. University employees also provided information about their wishes regarding Chemnitz 2025 (German article), among other things in interviews for the magazine “Chemnitzer Macher” and the communication campaign "Die Stadt bin ich." (“I am the city”).

Students and employees became involved in the Chemnitz 2025 micro-project program: This included the publication of the first issue of the student magazine RABBAZ (German article) and the Fahrradkino Chemnitz (Chemnitz Bicycle Cinema – German article), in which Maria Kreußlein, assistant in the research group General & Industrial Psychology, was one of the leading contributors. Kreußlein also successfully participated in the Capital of Culture initiative “Nimm Platz” (“Take a Seat”) to beautify public space and is implementing her project “Fahrradservicestation” (Bicycle Service Station).

The university accompanied the finale of the first round of applications with numerous social media activities and a video clip in which students and researchers from Albania, Bulgaria, France, and the Czech Republic symbolically cross their fingers for the city and express their wishes and hopes in connection with the title.

After the submission of the first application book (Bid Book) at the end of September 2019, the presentation team from Chemnitz also accompanied four people with strong university ties on 10 December 2019, and supported the application before the European jury (German article).

Comprehensive support in the second application step

With the submission of the final second application book (Bid Book II) on 21 September 2020, which explains the main program points and the concept behind the Cultural Year, the application process is now in the home stretch. This second part of the process has also been significantly supported by Chemnitz University of Technology and many of its members and relatives.

These include, for example, the “Literarisches Quintett” (“Literary Quintet”) at Chemnitz University of Technology, in which Prof. Dr. Bernadette Malinowski, Angela Malz (Director of the Chemnitz University Library) and university graduate Christian Mayer (editor in Essen) took part and which was dedicated to Chemnitz 2025.

In addition, students and employees participated once again with four micro-projects. These include The Flying Armchair, an open reading stage, a project for autonomous driving by the T. U. C. Racing Team, the participation of the Chair of General and Biopsychology at Chemnitz University of Technology in the project “I See It Differently - The Festival of Differing Opinions” and the art project MicroArts by university student Johannes Moosbühler.

In addition, students at the university discussed ideas for the Capital of Culture application from a student perspective in the workshop “Playground – What does your future in Chemnitz look like?”

Students and employees also got involved in sports. This year, students and employees on the team of the Lauf-KulTour 2.0 covered the approximately 1,300 kilometer distance to Chemnitz’s twin city of Düsseldorf as ambassadors of Chemnitz 2025. Athletes from Lauf-KulTour with the support of students and researchers from Chemnitz University of Technology started an additional walking and cycling tour on 18 October 2020, in order to run or ride on four routes, each with a sign of the sequence 2-0-2-5. In addition, members and relatives of Chemnitz University of Technology were among the cyclists who drove the application documents (Bid Book II) to Berlin for submission.

Numerous contributions from Chemnitz University of Technology and joint activities with the social media channels of Chemnitz 2025 complement and flank the second part of the application round.

In a current project, 30 Chemnitz residents read Bid Book II as a podcast. Among the speakers is Prof. Dr. Matthias Niedobitek, holder of the Jean Monnet Professorship for European Integration at Chemnitz University of Technology.

Background: European Capital of Culture

Since 1985, the European Union has been awarding the title European Capital of Culture to two countries at the same time. The second Capital of Culture in 2025 will be in Slovenia; the decision is expected in December 2020. Most recently, Germany was represented by Essen and the Ruhr area in 2010. Further information can be found here.

(Author: Mario Steinebach / Translation: Chelsea Burris)

Matthias Fejes

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