Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Gartenseite, © Volker Döhne, Kunstmuseen Krefeld

Krefeld perspectives

Bauhaus in the velvet and silk city

From the early 1920s until the 1960s, over 25 Bauhaus designers worked, and in some cases also lived, in Krefeld, including Mies van der Rohe, Lilly Reich and Johannes Itten. They were employed as designers, architects and teachers by industrialists from the velvet and silk sectors who had an affinity with the arts. Many traces of this close relationship can still be seen today, including the only industrial building designed by Mies van der Rohe in the world.

Museum Haus Lange Westansicht, © Volker Döhne, Kunstmuseen Krefeld

A visit to Krefeld is essential for anyone wanting to study his architecture. His Haus Lange and Haus Esters villa ensemble are among the finest examples of “Neues Bauen” (“new building”) in Germany, and still impressively express the Bauhaus concept, with its unity of space and subject and the interaction between artistic input and craftsmanship.

Private individuals, companies and training facilities from the velvet and silk industries also employed Bauhaus artists after 1933, who were officially vilified by the Nazi regime as “degenerate”. In this way, the network of artists, industrialists, associations, cultural and training institutions withstood the Nazi period and the Second World War and lasted until the 1960s.

Mies van der Rohe, Verseidag, Krefeld, © Mies van der Rohe Business Park 2018


Bauhaus in Krefeld

Haus Lange/Haus Esters villa ensemble

Tip 1
Formerly a private home; now a museum: the former homes of two silk factory owners, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, show temporary exhibitions of contemporary art and are among the finest examples of “new building” architecture in Germany. In April 2019, to mark the centenary of the Bauhaus, the villas will again be open to the public with a year-round programme with the theme: "Anders Wohnen. Entwürfe für Haus Lange und Haus Esters" (Different living. Designs for Haus Lange and Haus Esters)

The heart of the silk industry: the Verseidag building

Tip 2
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed his only industrial building for the Vereinigten Seidenwebereien AG, or Verseidag. The entire complex consists of different buildings that were completed between 1931 and 1939. With his designs, Mies van der Rohe became a pioneer, turning his back on the traditional red brick construction concept and creating a steel skeleton structure filled with pumice stone.

A walk-in sculpture presents the Bauhaus and industry

Tip 3
From April 2019, the collaboration between the textile industry and the Bauhaus, which continued for 40 years, will be documented in a work of art created especially for the purpose. In the walk-in “Pavillon” sculpture by Thomas Schütte, a short walk from the Haus Lange and Haus Esters, an exhibition takes visitors through the history of the Bauhaus and its important connection to Krefeld. Until the end of October 2019.

North Rhine-Westphalia celebrates the Bauhaus centenary!

Mies van der Rohe, Verseidag, Krefeld, © Mies van der Rohe Business Park 2018

Guided tours and routes

Unesco-Welterbe Zeche Zollverein, Essen, © Simon Erath

'Essener Aufbruch'

Peter-Behrens-Bau, Oberhausen, © LVR-Industriemuseum, Andreas Schiblon

Overview of exhibitions

Hohenhof in Hagen, © Simon Erath

Hagen impulse