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Engels 2020

Our events in the Engels Year

The Museum für Industriekultur and the Friends of the Historische Zentrum are participating in the Engels Year 2020 with numerous activities. Here you will find a short overview of our events for the 200th birthday of Friedrich Engels.

These include:

  • Special exhibition "Friedrich Engels - A ghost is haunting Europe"
  • Engels city tours
  • Dialogue round "Rethinking Engels
  • School competition "Who was Friedrich Engels?
  • "Industrial history private": edition and exhibition project
  • Special exhibition "Friedrich Engels on the stamps of the world"
  • Restoration of the Engels` graves in Barmen


Friedrich Engels – a spectre is haunting Europe

Special exhibition for Friedrich Engels` 200th anniversary

Wuppertal is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Engels with a special exhibition from March 29 to September 20, 2020 at "Haus der Jugend" - near to his birthplace in Barmen. The exhibition focuses on Friedrich Engels as an employer, philosopher, social critic, writer and journalist, revolutionary and visionary but also on a dutiful son, a loyall and generous friend and convival host.   It describes his fascinating life at the time of the "industrial revolution" which was to take him from Bremen to Berlin Paris Brussels Cologne, Manchester and London.

The exhibits, individual works, paintings and contemporary photos will show events, living and work on the way into modernity as similarly perceived by Engels himself. Among the highlights of the exhibition are first editions of major works of Friedrich Engels as well as original handwritings, manuscripts and caricatures using multimedia presentations to illustrate his multiaced thinking. In addition, personal items of Friedrich Engels and many other exhibits will offer insights into the life, work and personality of Wuppertal’s most famous son.

More detailed information can be found under special exhibitions and on the website

Engels city tours

From 2 November, all guided Engels tours are cancelled until the end of the year.


Friedrich Engels, the philosopher and revolutionary, celebrates his 200th birthday in 2020. From the age of 20 Friedrich Engels lived in Bremen, Berlin, Cologne, Paris, Brussels, Manchester and London, but never lost contact with his home town of Barmen in Wuppertal.

What and who surrounded him here, how the city shaped him and how he became involved here, the Historical Centre offers the following guided tours:

1. Origin and family of Friedrich Engels - Exploration around the Engels Garden

Dates: 26.09./3.10./10.10./17.10./24.10./31.10.2020
Start: every day at 14.00
Meetin point: Engelsgarten, Statue from Alfred Hrdlicka (1928-2009) "Die starke Linke"
Duration: 90 minutes
Fee: 8,-€ p.P.

Ticket purchase:


2.  Friedrich Engels a revolutionary in Elberfeld

Dates: 27.09./18.10./01.11.2020
Start: every day at 14.00
Meeting point: Laurentiusplatz
Duration: 90 minutes
Fee: 8,- p.P.

Ticket purchase:


3. Friedrich Engels and the early industrialized Wuppertal

Dates: 11.10./25.10.2020
Start: every day at 14.00
Dates: 28.11.2020 at 10.00 and 16.00 
Meeting point: Suspension railway station Völklinger Straße
Duration: 90 minutes
Fee: p.P: 8,-€

Ticket purchase:


4. A walk with Friedrich Engels through the Unterbarmer graveyard

Dates: Sunday, 04.10.2020 at 14:00
Meeting point: Am Unterbarmer Friedhof 16, entrance, 42285 Wuppertal
Duration: 90 minutes
Fee: p.P: 8,-€

Ticket purchase:


5. Friedrich Engels and the rise of the German labour movement

Dates: canceled
Start: every day at 14:00
Meeting point: Laurentiusplatz
Duration: 90 minutes
Fee: p.P: 8,-€

Ticket purchase:


Fees and rgistration:

Participation in a city tour costs eight euros per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance online via Wuppertal-Live:
 Registrations are possible until 16:00 the day before.


The city tours 1 - 3 can be booked as individual tours for groups, also in English, French and Spanish.
Ticket purchase:  
Tel.: 0202/ 563 – 4375

Number of participants: 4 persons per group
Costs: 90,00 Euro and for a foreign language guided tour 120,00 Euro per group

Corona protection regulations: The number of participants per group is limited to nine persons. The minimum distance of 1.50 metres must be observed, but the mouth and nose protectors can be removed during the guided tour.

Rethinking Friedrich Engels!

Six lectures and dialogues


Involved actors/organisers: Rainer Lucas, Reinhard Pfriem, Dieter Westhoff, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal, friends‘ association Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal

In his writings, Friedrich Engels has taken position to socio-political problems – as both scientist and politician in the European labour movement.
More than 130 years have passed since then and the question arises: what would Engels like to say to us today?
The discussions thus are not limited to Engels‘ contributions, but also concern current issues on development: globalisation and sustainability, social and ecological justice, responsible and community-orientated entrepreneurship, religion/morality and ideology, dialectics of nature and technology as well as gender ratio/work – and life patterns.
These issues are requiring an active discussion. Hence, this event format will offer space for critical and opposing positions.

02.04.2020 (postponed): Michael Krätke, Peter Hennicke and Daniel Lorberg: Capitalism, globalisation, sustainable development, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.

28.04.2020: Roland Brus: Engels in Oberbarmen. Artist Lecture with experts of daily life from Oberbarmen, Die Färberei, Peter-Hansen-Platz 1, 42275 Wuppertal.
14.05.2020: Reinhard Pfriem, Burghard Flieger and Ralf Putsch: Entrepreneurship and community-orientated economic growth, Alte Schmiede (Firma Knipex), Oberkamper Straße 13, 42349 Wuppertal.
28.05.2020: Eva Bockenheimer, Martin Büscher and Ulrich Klan: Materialism, idealism, morality today, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.
16.06.2020: Rainer Lucas, Lutz Becker and Lars Hochmann: Technology development and Dialectics of Nature, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.
25.08.2020: Gisela Notz and Susanne Schunter-Kleemann: Gender ratio, work and life patterns, CityKirche Elberfeld, Kirchplatz 2, 42103 Wuppertal.

Who was Friedrich Engels?

School competition Engels2020

  • Actors/organisers: Friends` association Historisches Zentrum e.V., Bergischer Journalistenverein e.V. im Deutschen Journalistenverband NRW, Historisches Zentrum Wuppertal. Sponsored by the Johannes-Rau-Stiftung

The aim of the competition is for students in grades 4 to 13 to deal with the historical personality of Friedrich Engels.The form of presentation of the results is freely selectable and can be essay, picture or photo story, film, magazine, art object, play, wall newspaper, video or drawing, analog or digital. The sources used must of course be indicated: What can be won? The main prize is a trip to Berlin lasting several days. There are also numerous other prizes such as cash prizes, books and tickets for cultural institutions. The presentation of the results and the award ceremony will take place at a public event. The prize-winning works will also be announced on the Internet afterwards.

Industrial history in private!

The correspondence of the Engels family (1791-1858) online

Involved actors/organisers: Prof. Dr. W. Lukas and Prof. Dr. K. Wolf (BUW), Historical Centre Wuppertal, F. Etling, D. Grieshammer; actresses and actors as well as students of the Cologne University of Music and Dance (Campus Wuppertal)
Venue: Engels-House  
Date: tba

The Municipal Archive in Wuppertal houses a treasure of almost 350 letters of the Engels family that are edited online as part of a cooperation project between the Historische Zentrum and the university of Wuppertal.  
Deriving from the times of the ancestors (inter alia, Johann Caspar Engels, Friedrich Engels senior), first discovered in the 1990s and left unexplored by the Marx-Engels research, the (private – and business) letters from the late age of enlightenment to the mid 19th century testify the establishment of business relationships of the Engels‘ family on the regional, national and international level. They present valuable documents of the early stages of industrialization and contain plentiful information regarding contemporary historical events (for example the Napoleonic occupation of Elberfeld) as well as the history of mentality, and daily life history. The objective of this project is to create a digitized and publicly accessible online edition which will, first, edit the letter texts in a philological and critical manner and, second, make them accessible by using a contextualised annotation. In terms of the public presentation in the newly renovated Engels-house, editors, archivists and media designers provide an insight into this project. Selected letters are read by actresses and actors.
Students of the University of Cologne (Campus Wuppertal) provide the musical framing with contemporary chamber music works.

Friedrich Engels on world stamps

Stamp exhibition

  • Actors/organisers involved: Friends’ association Historical Centre, PHILAG Wuppertal r.a., Münzfreunde Wuppertal r.a., Historical Centre Wuppertal
    Venue: Lichthof, Town Hall Wuppertal, Johannes-Rau-Platz 1
    Date: 16. - 28.11.2020
    Time: Opening hours of the Town Hall Wuppertal
    Fees: Free entrance
    Special feature: on November 28, 2020 a special stamp made available to customers on Friedrich Engels‘ 200th birthday.
    In the past 100 years, several hundred stamps with Friedrich Engels and/or Karl Marx have been released.
    The new approaches to philosophy, economics, and politics developed by Engels and Marx have influenced the 20th century. However, the thoughts of Engels and his friend are still under discussion in the 21st century.
    Despite the fact that the countries of the former East Bloc are particularly well represented here, already in 1919 the first stamp with a portrait of Engels has been published.
    The stamp exhibition in Lichthof of the Town Hall Wuppertal Barmen presents the most beautiful pieces of the vast collection of stamps of Rolf Walther. The Engels-stamps are embedded in their historical context.


Graves of the Engels family in Unterbarmen

Restoration project

  • Actors/organisers: Friends` association Historisches Zentrum e. V. und Ev. Friedhofsverband
  • Venue: Am Unterbarmer Friedhof 16, Wuppertal

The gravestones in sensitive sandstone in the traditional Unterbarmer cemetery were restored with the help of the friends` association Historisches Zentrum. The grave of Friedrich Engels senior is the centre of attention. The site corresponds in size to comparable graves of Wuppertal industrial families, but is more modest in its design. Friedrich Engels Junior is not buried here.. His ashes were scattered in the North Sea at his request. The graves can be reached not far from the entrance of the cemetery. They will probably be a place to visit , where there are interesting things to tell.