As you will no doubt discover through this blog, I love to travel and have been to quite a few places. Like my brothers, I was born in Sydney, Australia, but I have also lived in Loughborough and London in the UK and now Stuttgart, Germany. We also have a lot of family in Singapore and I’m always stopping over for a visit on my way to and from Europe (or anywhere else, really!) which makes it like a third home.
So just last weekend I travelled to Bonn to visit some relatives-to-be. Since my first long-term stay in Germany I had always wanted to go to Bonn, because it’s one of the few German cities that has an English media company. Deutsche Welle broadcasts radio and tv programs in English and many other languages which is rare because in Germany, almost everything is dubbed in German. Not only that, but Bonn was the former capital city of Germany, so I figured it must have been for a reason!
Bonn is located in the south of Nordrhein-Westfalen, a state on the western edge of the country. It is about a 3.5-hour drive from Stuttgart to Bonn, but with traffic conditions the way they tend to be on weekends, it took us more like 4.5-5 hours.
The weekend was more for family time, so we didn’t do too much exploring in the city, but we did visit the House of History (‘Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland’) which was a really interesting experience. I personally love history but don’t always enjoy going to museums and although I was a bit sceptical at first, I really enjoyed this one. Many cities have a museum called the House of History, but usually the museum is based on the city’s own history. What’s interesting about the one in Bonn is that it’s about the history of Germany in general.
Apparently it’s one of the top 10 most visited museums in Germany, and it’s free. The artefacts and story within the permanent exhibition start from around 1945 and depict the more recent history of the country. It’s a huge museum and the permanent exhibition is spread over 4000 square meters. It’s set up in such a way that you move through differently laid out and designed rooms as you travel through the years. The idea was for visitors to ‘experience history’ through objects and stories which are really set in scene. As you may well know, Germany has had quite a dark history, but from my experience has so much more to it than World War II as many foreigners seem to think. It’s a shame really that all we learn about Germany at school is how terrible the Germans were. Before coming to Germany for the first time I can honestly say that I never had any interest in travelling here until I actually saw what the country was like, and now I try to see a new city almost every weekend. Anyway, after 3 hours we still hadn’t seen everything and there were many things I practically ran past.
I appreciate good design and information delivered in a way that is interesting and engaging, which is why I can highly recommend ‘Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland’ in Bonn. So in case you’re ever in town, do give it a go, it’s for free!