About the Museum


Designed in the spirit of the Enlightenment and built by Huguenot architect Simon Louis du Ry, Fridericianum opened its doors in 1779 as the world’s very first purpose-built public museum. For more than a century, Fridericianum exhibited an encyclopedic collection of antiques, sculpture, medals, machinery, manuscripts, and scientific instruments. After the Second World War, the provisionally restored building became the focus of the documenta exhibition founded by Arnold Bode in 1955. Alongside the Venice Biennale, documenta is considered the world’s most important cyclical large-scale exhibition of contemporary art, and has been held at Fridericianum every five years, with documenta 14 in 2017. Fridericianum is a central hub of contemporary art, displaying experimental and well-researched group and solo exhibitions, screenings and performances, conferences and symposia highlight the spectrum of contemporary art and discourse.

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