A beacon of musical memory culture
Bob Dylan’s harmonica, Louis Armstrong’s jazz trumpet, and Mick Jagger’s stage outfit – The rock’n’popmuseum has all the testimonies of hit albums, legendary performances, and songs that changed the world. A beacon of remembrance culture, this Gronau museum is casting its shadows far back - to long-past eras, styles, and events. Guests can use the themed islands as points of reference in the storms of rock and pop while drifting through times of rebellion, technical innovation, and musical reorientation.
The sensual experience takes centre stage here. Opened near the Dutch border in 2004, this museum is going all out in listening stations, video recordings, enormous murals, and display cases with relics of music. Anyone looking at Jimi Hendrix’s floral shirt that he wore to his concerts and festivals, reflecting the spirit of the 1960s, the time of the hippie movement, love of nature, social criticism, and breaking with common ideas of life and morality, will almost inevitably hear the sound of his guitar at the same time.
Leading from one concert recording to the next and past a string of tour posters, the path ends at a wall with golden records. Guests can pose in the scenery of the Beatles’ famous Abbey Road cover or immerse themselves in the American punk scene while examining a toilet installation modelled on the urinals of the former New York punk club CBGB. The original was used by the Ramones and other great names from the scene already, but the replica fortunately is strictly visual.
The modern museum set up in the former turbine hall of textile company Mathieu van Delden, illuminates a number of aspects of rock and pop history in temporary exhibitions, covering subjects such as “Hip-Hop in Germany” or “The Popes of Rock” and honouring artists ranging from Ludwig van Beethoven to Udo Lindenberg. The latter is a museum sponsor and personally welcomes guests at the museum entrance on a multimedia monitor, too.
Other highlights of the range include the Turbine music club in the basement, where atmospheric shows for up to 300 visitors are taking place at intervals, and the recording studio of disbanded band CAN, which is open to the visitors. The Kreativschmiede moved from Schloss Nörvenich castle to an old cinema in Weilerswist in 1971, before eventually relocating to Gronau in 2000. Marius Müller-Westernhagen recorded his big hit “Sexy” there, and Joachim Witt his “Goldener Reiter”. A gigantic CS-V mixing console, 24-track machines, a Hammond organ, and several dozen synthesizers continue to bear witness to the concentrated tonal power that used to be unleashed here at times even today.