Businesses such as Rudolf Sack, Unruh und Liebig, Gebrüder Brehmer, Kirow, the Leipziger Baumwollspinnere, and many other companies shaped Leipzig's character as an industrial trade fair city until 1989. The end of the GDR was probably the most intense rupture to the city's economic development in recent history: for several years, the former industrial metropolis was an industrial wasteland and a city of unemployment before its reorientation into a service centre.
It wasn't until the opening of the Porsche factory in 2002 that the trend was reversed and Leipzig again became an industrial centre. The city and numerous partners are presenting Leipzig's industrial history in 2020 with a year-long programme that goes well beyond marvelling at historical machines.
Exhibitions at several museums
Entrepreneurs and inventors, creative minds and founders, stakeholders and flaneurs, and in fact all industrial heritage enthusiasts are invited to experience various formats and events, and to discover a different side to the city. The main highlight is the exhibition "WerkStadt Leipzig. 200 Years to the Beat of Machines" at the Stadtgeschichtliches Museum. Beginning in May, the exhibition looks back at products and services from selected companies and worlds of work and contrasts them with the future-oriented projects of modern companies.
Other exhibitions like "The Eye of the Photographer. Industrial Culture in Photography since 1900" (Museum of the Printing Arts) or "Advertisements - Seduction in Sheet Metal" (Grassi Museum of Applied Arts) visualise industrial heritage from different perspectives.
Symposiums with opportunities for discussion
The conference "From industrial metropolis to resilient city?" investigates, among other things, what led to an economic revival in Leipzig after the massive crisis of the old Leipzig industries. The symposium "Factories of Imagination. Remembering & Repurposing Industrial Heritage" is about how creative business spaces can be protected.
The Saxony State Archives is organising the symposium "Transformation from 1990. Business, administration and culture from the perspective of archives and science". The 8th Days of Industrial Heritage and the 'Saxony Open Companies Week 2020' offer opportunities to get to know companies from the inside. Tours of the new home of the city archives or to the 'Leipziger Gas- und Kunstgeschichte(n)' at the Panometer round off the programme.
Theatre on Karl-Heine Canal
The Leipzig Year of Industrial Heritage does not, however, leave out the dark moments, for example when it comes to the subject of forced labour during the Second World War. The Theatre of the Young World is offering industrial heritage in the open air with "Auf sieben Brücken. Summer theatre in Leipziger Westen" and "Bohei & Tamtam" with the long-established workers' parade on Karl-Heine-Straße.
All programme details and dates can be found online at www.leipzig.de/industriekultur2020