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Museums & exhibitions

Kassel is a documenta city and is considered to be one of the most significant museum locations in Germany. The Wilhelmshöhe Palace hosts one of the world's largest Rembrandt collections and is right on the doorstep of the Schlosshotel Bad Wilhelmshöhe Conference & SPA.

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In this collection, which focuses on the 16th and 17th centuries, masterpieces from German, Italian, French and Spanish painting are represented, including works by Albrecht Dürer and Tizian. However, most of the exhibits host Dutch artists, including works such as the “Judgement of Paris” by Frans Floris and the “Feldwache in Waldlichtung” by Jan Brueghel the Elder. Included in the collection is the largest selection of Rembrandt pieces in Germany, for example the famous portrait of his wife, Saskia.

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This museum has on display a wide range of objects from science and technology dating back to antiquity, through the Renaissance, and up to modern times.

The historical core is formed by astronomical instruments of Eberhard Baldewein and Jost Bürgi, which were part of the equipment used in Europe's first observatory. Landgrave Wilhelm IV of Hesse-Kassel had these items placed on the balconies of the Kassel Palace in 1560. Valuable objects for measuring time and space (telescopes, clocks) from the areas of physics, microscopy, optics and balance can be found here as well. Early examples show the development of energy technology and data processing from the time of antiquity, right up to the first computer created by Konrad Zuse.

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The museum of natural history, with its long history, is firmly anchored in the tradition of Kassel. In the past, natural history topics were presented to visitors mainly in the form of exhibitions. Today, such displays form part of an overall educational concept in the museum, which appeals to the public in a variety of ways.

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The museum, which was founded in 1959 by the city of Kassel and the Brüder Grimm-Gesellschaft e.V., is an institution with international character. The collections include documents about the life and works of the brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, together with their literary, scientific and political activities. The showrooms of the museum are located in the historical Bellevue Palace, which was built by Paul du Ry in 1714 as an observatory for Landgrave Karl of Hesse.

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The Fridericianum exhibition hall, under the artistic direction of Rein Wolfs, presents concise positions of contemporary art in the oldest public museum building in mainland Europe.

In the documenta city of Kassel, the Fridericianum exhibition hall focuses on solo exhibitions of young international artists with a strongly expansive character. Contemporary art in front of historical background!

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On the ground floor, thanks to sculptures, vases, coins and craftwork from Egyptian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman times, visitors get an overview of the development of these ancient cultures from the Mediterranean region.

Beside the famous statue of Apollo, or Kasseler Apollon, you are greeted by the bronze statuette of Victoria von Fossombrone. Furthermore, guests can marvel at the excellent selection of Greek vases, the sarcophagus with the God of wine from Roman times, Bacchus (Greek: Dionysos) in the centre, and also enjoy the numerous Roman portraits.

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The Künstler-Nekropole (artists' necropolis) is situated in the Habichtswald on the outskirts of Kassel, close to the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Around the “Blauer See” (blue lake), in an abandoned quarry, artists of a "documenta standing" erect their own tombs during their lifetime and will also be buried there.

A total of 40 tombs have been planned. The condition is that the forest of the landscape conservation area is not destroyed and the tombs are left to themselves. Harry Kramer viewed the necropolis project as a new form of art in public space and not as some type of elite cemetery. He himself passed on the chance of having his own tomb in the necropolis and was buried there anonymously in 1997. The necropolis is financed by a foundation that was formed from the private wealth of Harry Kramer.

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