PHOTO: © Aussenansicht des Altonaer Museums, Foto: SHMH Sinje Hasheider

glauben und glauben lassen

In the organizer's words:

The freedom to believe what we want - or not to believe - is enshrined in the Basic Law as part of religious freedom and is considered an essential human right. It allows everyone to freely and publicly practise their personal individual beliefs in the form of a religion or world view. Nevertheless, the concrete scope of this freedom is still a matter of debate in everyday society, be it in the areas of architecture and school education or the question of burials.

With the special exhibition "Believe and let believe", which is a resumption of the exhibition "Freedom of belief" from 2020, the Altona Museum would like to invite discussion against the special background of Altona's history: about freedom of belief and its limits in history, but above all in our present day. After all, religious freedom has been a tradition in Altona since 1601. As early as the end of the 16th century, the once independent city of Altona set a counterpoint to neighboring Hamburg, which only allowed the Lutheran faith. Mennonites, Reformed, Jews and Catholics were already granted the right to practice their faith in Altona at that time - even if they had to negotiate this with the sovereigns time and again. The two streets "Große Freiheit" and "Kleine Freiheit", which belonged to Altona until 1938, still tell of this history with their names today. The reason for this exhibition is not only the special history of Altona, but above all the continuing significance of the topic for the present. In pluralistic urban societies, aspects of religious freedom are discussed almost daily in the media. Extreme events such as the attack on the synagogue in Halle/Saale in 2019 during the preparations for the exhibition have made it clear how contested this fundamental right is. Then the pandemic-related lockdown restricted the fundamental right to freedom of religion and religious gatherings were banned. This exhibition also had to be closed shortly after opening in fall 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and could only be visited for a few weeks. That is why it is now being shown a second time. Today's urban society in Hamburg is increasingly secular, but at the same time very diverse in terms of religion. From the 1950s onwards, this diversity became visible in the city with mosques, Orthodox churches and Buddhist temples. "Religious education for all", as taught in Hamburg's schools, is unique in Germany: Pupils of different faiths learn about different religions together. Interfaith dialog is particularly intensively cultivated in Hamburg, yet freedom of faith in everyday life is a recurring theme. The exhibition therefore focuses on the question of the role and challenges of religious freedom in social interaction. In over 50 video interviews in the exhibition, Hamburg residents talk about their faith and the importance of religious freedom in their everyday lives. Historically, the exhibition spans a wide range of topics from the end of the 16th century to the present day and shows developments and questions relating to the much-discussed fundamental right of freedom of belief. The topics covered by the exhibition, which also takes the form of questions for visitors, range from religious freedom as a locational advantage in Altona and the economic networks associated with various religious communities in the 17th and 18th centuries, to the growing call for religious tolerance during the Enlightenment and anti-Semitism in the 19th century, to the role of religion in the Nazi state. With the Basic Law and social developments from the 1950s onwards, the exhibition looks at Hamburg as a whole. The establishment of new congregations and the changes in congregations due to immigration, the establishment of places of faith and cemeteries are just as much a topic as interfaith dialog, the Academy of World Religions, Hamburg's state treaties and "religious education for all".

This content has been machine translated.


Altonaer Museum Museumstraße 23 22765 Hamburg

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