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Kurt Schwitters (Hannover, 1887 – England, 1948), German artist who developed his own form of Dadaism, which he called MERZ. Today he is considered one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century. The world’s largest collection of works by this multifaceted Hanoverian artist is one of the fundamental pillars of the Sprengel Museum Hannover. The centrepiece of the exhibition is the reconstruction of the ›Merzbau‹, a three-dimensional walk-in installation combining various art forms.
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (Leipzig, 1646 – Hannover, 1716) German philosopher, mathematician, lawyer, historian and political advisor. The polymath was one of the most important philosophers of the late 17th and early 18th centuries, and one of the key figures in the Enlightenment.
The main Agora, the Agora of Europe, will be like a sort of small village in the centre of the city. It is the heart, the powerhouse of Hannover 2025. Its temporary structures, which will be characterised by unique and sustainable architecture, will serve as meeting places and event venues. The Agora of Europe is a creative melting-pot of ideas where international artists, local creatives from all over the city, the state, the region and the independent scene, and experts from the corporate, academic and social sectors can come together with voluntary-sector organisations.
The Agora of Europe is an incubator where people can experiment, debate, practise, learn, eat, sleep, celebrate and argue. At its centre will be the production house: a space for the development of experimental formats for which there has been no venue in Hannover until now. What is produced here will also be shown at other venues across the city and the region. Surrounding the production house there will be smaller stages, studios and workshops as well as restaurants, bars and lounges. In 2025, the Agora of Europe will become the centre of the festival where the teams of organisers and curators will also be based, and which will be buzzing with life around the clock.
In addition to this large centre, there will also be a number of local Agoras scattered across the city and the region. These venues will form the second pillar of the programme, entitled Europe on Stage. For this element of Hannover 2025, productions and co-productions will be developed in conjunction with creatives, and performed on existing stages from the Staatsoper [State Opera] to the little Feinkost Lampe basement club; from the Sprengel Museum Hannover to the Gartentheater.
New temporary stages will also be created through artistic interventions in unusual places, lost spaces and hot spots. Despite their temporary nature, these interventions will be sustainable: they will use environmentally friendly construction methods and will be designed from the outset with possible future uses in mind. In order to symbolically embed the lasting significance of Hannover 2025 in the cityscape, these temporary structures will leave behind visible traces and make a permanent mark on the city, even after they have been taken down. Local creatives will work together and with international artists to develop the concepts for these stages.
Beyond these physical venues, the Agora will also have a digital home: Europe on Line. 300 years after the polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz laid the foundations here for our modern computer technology with the invention of the binary system, Hannover wants to open up new, digital ways into conversations that currently seem more closed off than ever. This is the idea behind Europe on Line. Because the great hope and promise of an open and connected global community is far removed from the reality.
Fake news and hate speech are dividing our societies. In 2025, Hannover will play host to a digital Agora, a communication platform based on the European values of freedom and community spirit. The idea: to create a public space in which (like in a formal debating club) opposing views can be put forward in such a way as to promote a civilised debating culture.
In addition to the new structures and interventions, the principle of the Agora will also filter through into the homes and gardens of the city’s residents. This fourth pillar of the programme is called Europe at Home, and will breathe new life into Hannover’s historic tradition of private salons. It will enable citizens to initiate their own cultural projects on a smaller scale and thus get involved in shaping the cultural programme of Hannover 2025.
Hannover has a unique relationship with the United Kingdom: in 1714, due to a change in the succession rules (the Act of Settlement), Georg Ludwig von Braunschweig-Lüneburg, the elector of Hannover, also became king of Great Britain. Thus he founded the personal union which would last until 1837. During this time, Britain became a global power and a role model for other parliamentary democracies. This special link also became apparent after the Second World War, when the United Kingdom helped rebuild Hannover by promoting international trade through the development of the trade-fair centre and the free press (Der Spiegel and stern), as well as making Hannover the capital of Lower Saxony in 1946. Hannover has been twinned with the city of Bristol for over 70 years. There is a lovely anecdote about the origins of this partnership: shortly after the end of the Second World War, when the people of Bristol heard that lots of children in war-ravaged Hannover couldn’t go to school because they had no shoes, they sent more than 200 big sacks of shoes, clothes and sweets to Lower Saxony in 1947. Because Hannover couldn’t afford to send a physical gift in return, the city gave Bristol the gift of music: from 16 until 30 November 1947, musicians from Hannover performed in various schools in Bristol to thank the British people for their extraordinary generosity.