Neue Heimat (1950 - 1982)A social democratic utopia and its buildings

From 2 June 2019 until 06 October 2019

The “Neue Heimat” was the largest and most significant non-state housing construction company in Europe in the post-war period. In line with their motto of “We do everything” they even built universities, congress centres and large hospitals. In this way the company has had a long-lasting impact on the urban and architectural face of the Federal Republic of Germany. It also expressed and mirrored the social history of the Federal Republic at that time. Over a period of more than thirty years, this trade union company with its headquarters in Hamburg built, among other things, more than 400,000 flats and, above and beyond that, since the 1960s it has planned and constructed numerous municipal and commercial buildings throughout Germany - most of which are still standing today.

The “Neue Heimat” was a source of hope signalling participation in West Germany’s economic miracle. The scandalously controversial collapse of the company at the beginning of the 1980s was a great shock to the West German population and marked the end of an era. As this is now more than a generation ago, it is time for a critical analysis: What has become of their social democratic visions of “homes for everyone” which are still targets today? In the context of the current housing crisis and the demand for more urban densification in many large cities, the residential estate and housing concepts behind “Neue Heimat” are gaining significance once again. For the first time in an exhibition, prime exemplars of “Neue Heimat” buildings – including many in Hamburg – will be analysed and documented with historical photos and films, planning materials and models.

The exhibition also draws attention to the protagonists behind the “Neue Heimat” including the approximately 700 architects and urban planners and the influence they had on developments in housing and urban planning.

A collaboration with Architekturmuseum TUM and Hamburgisches Architekturarchiv.

Museum for Hamburg History

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Opening hours

Mondays 10 - 17
Tuesdays closed
Wednesdays to Fridays 10 - 17
Saturdays to Sundays 10 - 18 Uhr

The exhibition is part of Hamburger Architektursommer 2019