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Jörg Albrecht - Gründungsdirektor und künstlerischer Leiter des „Center for Literature“, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

City, Land, Castle

Jörg Al­brecht is mak­ing Burg Hülshoff hip for the fu­ture

Jörg Al­brecht was still a teen­ager when he wrote his first lit­er­ary text. ?Aus­gerech­net Lyrik? (Cal­cu­lated Po­etry). He has to smile at the thought of what he put to pa­per back then and quickly adds: ?I had stopped by the age of 19.? But the 37-year-old con­tin­ued to write, pub­lished four nov­els and re­ceived lit­er­ary prizes quite early on. Now he sits on the ter­race at Burg Hülshoff in Havixbeck, the birth­place of the poet An­nette von Droste-Hülshoff, and speaks with Dein­NRW about his new job as the found­ing dir­ect­or and artist­ic dir­ect­or of the ?Cen­ter for Lit­er­at­ure?. Al­most as if he has come full circle here.

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    Burg Hülshoff in Havixbeck, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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    Jörg Albrecht - Gründungsdirektor und künstlerischer Leiter des „Center for Literature“, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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    Büste der Dichterin Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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    Auf den Spuren von Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Blick vom Burggraben auf Burg Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

It is a most beau­ti­ful sum­mer day when we vis­it Jörg Al­brecht at his new work­place. The hy­drangea are blos­som­ing with mag­ni­fi­cent col­our in the park at Burg Hülshoff. Walk­ers rest in the shade of a tree. They cast an in­ter­ested glance at the bust of the poet and en­joy the view of the largely pre­served Renais­sance en­semble with the man­or house, out­er bailey and pretty pa­vil­ion at the end of the av­en­ue that leads dir­ectly from the castle in­to the forest. An­nette?s little tea house. In the castle moat, the ducks swim around hap­pily, dive un­der and come up again, and stretch their tails in the air to cool down a little. A group of cyc­lists are wait­ing in the in­ner court­yard to be let in­to the castle. Tem­per­at­ures in ex­cess of 30 de­grees Celsi­us have not stopped them from vis­it­ing the ex­tens­ive lib­rary of the von Droste-Hülshoff fam­ily and the many per­son­al souven­irs of the poet on their tour of the Mün­ster­land. Oth­er day-trip­pers stand be­fore the over-sized, artist­ic por­trait of the poet in the en­trance to the out­er bailey in or­der to then se­cure their place un­der an um­brella at the little Bur­g­café. Oth­ers look to cool off im­me­di­ately in the vaul­ted cel­lar.

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Detail der Burganlage von Burg Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

?That is fant­ast­ic? our host says sud­denly and looks around, as though he were dis­cov­er­ing the beauty of this place anew every day. A place of his­tor­ic­al sig­ni­fic­ance that he is sup­posed to take care of and make hip for the fu­ture.

?First, you have to have such a treas­ure, a place where people like to be and where you can in­sert your­self and in­vite guests.?

That sounds like ex­cit­ing work. Not a bit of it. Be­cause Al­brecht did not come to Havixbeck as lord of the man­or. Or even to hold court. The man with the round glasses, base­ball cap and care­fully groomed beard has a mis­sion, or bet­ter, a vis­ion. Un­der his dir­ec­tion, Burg Hülshoff is to be­come a multi-func­tion­al event and ex­hib­i­tion ven­ue where there are no longer any bound­ar­ies between the genres. His task in do­ing so: ?To con­ceive the trans­form­a­tion, break old pat­terns and design new per­spect­ives.?

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Jörg Albrecht im Dachgeschoss der Vorburg, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

"My task? To con­ceive the trans­form­a­tion, break old pat­terns and design new per­spect­ives."

 

Dr. Jörg Al­brecht

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Detailaufnahme, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Po­etry and polit­ics

In or­der to set this pro­cess of ?Events, Re­search and Res­id­en­cies? in mo­tion, the 37-year-old left the busy met­ro­pol­is of Ber­lin at the be­gin­ning of the year and de­cided to live in Mün­ster­land. Some of those around him ques­tioned this step, but Al­brecht - who grew up in Dortmund - ap­pre­ci­ates the re­gion. Dozens of castles and fort­resses line up here like a string of pearls, and hardly any oth­er re­gion is bet­ter for ex­plor­ing by bi­cycle than the coun­tryside around the stu­dent city of Mün­ster.

?Many people un­der­es­tim­ate the coun­tryside?, says Al­brecht, even be­fore we ask. ?But what do city and coun­tryside ac­tu­ally mean? What is dif­fer­ent today than it was ten years ago? What makes places what they are? These are the ques­tions that we are ad­dress­ing here.? He doesn?t have any an­swers to them yet. ?But that?s ex­actly why I am here?, says Al­brecht, and sees clear par­al­lels to the works of An­nette von Droste-Hülshoff in his work. It was she who once turned the castle in­to a place of po­etry and as­tute con­tem­pla­tion of the world. Her ad­mirers not only called her a ?lan­guage ma­gi­cian?. She is par­tic­u­larly im­press­ive be­cause her works deal with themes such as urb­an de­vel­op­ment, the role of wo­men, nature, re­li­gion and fi­nally with glob­al­isa­tion too. ?All themes that also con­cern us today.?

Images and videos


Droste-Mu­seum in the Burg Hülshoff

Detailaufnahme, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Droste-Museum in der Burg Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
reich bestückte Bibliothek im Droste-Museum, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Das Droste-Museum gewährt lebendige Einblicke in die Lebensgewohnheiten des münsterischen Adels zur Zeit des Klassizismus und des Biedermeier., © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Ahnengalerie Droste-Museum Burg Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
historische Ritterrüstungen im Droste-Museum, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Auf den Spuren von Annette von Droste-Hülshoff, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
Droste-Museum in der Burg Hülshoff in Havixbeck, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Am Ende der Allee steht ein Pavillon: Annettes Teehäuchen, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

?Many people un­der­es­tim­ate the coun­tryside. But what do city and coun­tryside ac­tu­ally mean? What is dif­fer­ent today than it was ten years ago? What makes places what they are? These are the ques­tions that we are ad­dress­ing here.?

Dr. Jörg Al­brecht

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Jörg Albrecht, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

There­fore, Al­brecht not only wants to bring fel­low writers to his new home and host read­ings. The castle is to be opened up to oth­er art forms too, such as theatre, per­form­ances, mu­sic, me­dia and ar­chi­tec­ture. The new boss wants to en­cour­age ex­cit­ing de­bates about so­cial themes and in­vites all vis­it­ors to fol­low the pro­cess. The renov­a­tion of the his­tor­ic­al loc­a­tion in both senses of the word will be­gin in au­tumn with the ?Schaus­tel­len? lit­er­at­ure folk fest­iv­al, a kind of cul­tur­al car­ni­val with the castle as the fo­cal point. Videos will be pro­jec­ted onto the walls and an over-sized jack ham­mer is to sym­bol­ise the be­gin­ning of the con­struc­tion work. Events such as lec­ture per­form­ances, a lan­guage labor­at­ory, sound com­edy and an au­dio in­stall­a­tion with the title ?Di­en­st­bare Geister? (Sub­ser­vi­ent Spir­its) are still to come.

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Dr. Jörg Albrecht - Gründungsdirektor und künstlerischer Leiter des „Center for Literature“, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Blick in Vorburg: Burg Hülshoff in Havixbeck, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Re­search in­sti­tute planned

It will be a few years be­fore the spa­tial renov­a­tion is com­pleted. The out­er bailey, an old cow­shed, has already been gut­ted, the floor is still sandy. Only a few old fuse boxes are still hanging. As an ex­cep­tion, Al­brecht takes us up to the still some­what dilap­id­ated gar­ret. Such a treas­ure, which he wants to make ac­cess­ible to the pub­lic. Be­cause, hope­fully, in­ter­na­tion­al artists will­p­resent their per­spect­ive on the world here soon. In an­oth­er part of the build­ing, ac­com­mod­a­tion and meet­ing rooms are to be cre­ated. And per­haps even an of­fice for Jörg Al­brecht at some stage. Be­cause for now his desk is still in Mün­ster. ?There?s just no room at the castle?, ex­plains the man who only re­cently had the three words ?Liber­té, egal­ité, di­versité? tat­tooed on his lower right arm. Free­dom, equal­ity, di­versity.

Three words that not only de­scribe the life motto of the writer and act­or. They also stand for what is to hap­pen at Burg Hülshoff over the next few years. In ad­di­tion to events and dis­cus­sions, new formats and ex­per­i­ments, the fo­cus at the ?Cen­ter for Lit­er­at­ure?, will of course also be part of the leg­acy of the former daugh­ter of this house. Once a year, the Drost Tage fest­iv­al will be ded­ic­ated to her as it has been pre­vi­ously. In ad­di­tion to this, the set­ting-up of a Droste Re­search In­sti­tute is planned, that is to ?take the poet out of the re­gion and present her to an in­ter­na­tion­al audi­ence?. All dreams of the fu­ture? For now. But the found­a­tion stone has been laid and just the right ar­chi­tect has been found in Jörg Al­brecht.

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Jörg Albrecht in der Biblothek des Droste-Museums, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.

Three ques­tions for Jörg Al­brecht

Out of West­falen, in­to the Ruhr Area or back to the roots

Jörg, you have 48 hours of free time. What would you def­in­itely do with this time in NRW?

Jörg: If I had so much time, I would vis­it all of my fam­ily and friends in Ruhr­pott and the Rhine­land. Of course, I would go to see my par­ents in Dortmund first and then on to Bo­chum. There, I would vis­it my god­child. I also have fam­ily in Düs­sel­dorf and in the coun­tryside, between Co­logne and Bonn.

Which place in NRW did you most re­cently dis­cov­er for the first time?

Jörg (smiles): I just have to say it. Burg Hülshoff of course. Where else? I dis­cov­er something new here every day. And that will prob­ably in­crease in the com­ing years. The places are gradu­ally be­ing trans­formed. What we do here is a sched­uled change of per­spect­ive, so to speak.

Your per­son­al fa­vour­ite place in NRW.

Jörg: Def­in­itely Ruhr Uni­versity Bo­chum. It?s fant­ast­ic. I find it in­cred­ibly beau­ti­ful... The won­der­ful ar­chi­tec­ture too.

Fa­vour­ite Spots & Tips from Jörg


Ruhr Area, Rhine­land and Burg Hülshoff (for sure)

Blick auf die St. Lambertikirche, © Oliver Franke / Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Mün­ster - Cycle City

Die Kunsthalle bei den Bielefelder Nachtansichten in Bielefeld im Teutoburger Wald., © Bielefeld Marketing
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Cul­tur­al Events in NRW

Halde Hohewad, © Tourismus NRW e.V.
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Ruhr Area

Old town, cologne, © Sanny Zoekt Geluk
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Co­logne and Rhine-Erft County

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Martje Saljé Türmerin, © Ralph Sondermann, Tourismus NRW e.V.