© Elli Flint


Temporary exhibition "Hits & Hymns. Sound of contemporary history"

At a glance

From 28 September 2023 to 21 July 2024, the Contemporary History Forum Leipzig will be showing the new temporary exhibition "Hits & Hymns. Sound of Contemporary History" and invites visitors to engage with music in German history. In addition, after a lengthy construction period, the museum is now pleased to present a new extension to the permanent exhibition "Our History - Dictatorship and Democracy after 1945".

Which hits belong in the "playlist" of German history: "99 Luftballons" (Nena), "Sonderzug nach Pankow" (Udo Lindenberg) and "Alles nur geklaut" (Die Prinzen)? How has music been used to make politics or express protest in East and West Germany since 1945? Which songs reflect the attitude to life of the respective times in a special way? The temporary exhibition deals with these questions in four sections: "Music and Protest", "Music Makes State", "Music Overcomes Borders" and "Music Makes History". The music can be experienced with all the senses: at multimedia stations, visitors can not only hear music, but also see it - via sign language interpreters - or feel it on special seating furniture. Around 450 exhibits and media stations illustrate how closely successful songs are intertwined with the respective zeitgeist and political-social issues of the time.
The exhibition sheds light on musical events in the GDR: from the Beatdemo in Leipzig in 1965, Udo Lindenberg in East Berlin, punk in the GDR and the street music festival in Leipzig in 1989 to the musical traditions in the NVA and the history of the GDR anthem.

In addition, after 253 days of construction, the extension of thepermanent exhibition "Our History - Dictatorship and Democracy after 1945" was completed in the Forum of Contemporary History Leipzig. After more than 30 years of German unity, the exhibition focuses on the successes, the continuing differences and the misunderstandings in German-German cooperation. The museum makers take stock and name challenges.

Three thematic islands divide the new exhibition chapter: a growing "awareness of the East" and the change in the remembrance of the SED dictatorship are just as much in focus as current forms of political engagement in East Germany. Multimedia stations are central: Statistics provide a brief, concise overview of the current state of coalescence. Contemporary witnesses tell their very personal stories about more than three decades of German unification.

The stage in the middle of the room is a projection surface and event venue in one: during regular museum operations, an art installation there illuminates open questions about the ongoing unification process, for example "Does the West determine the view of the East?" and "East or West: Does origin still matter?". A newly created seating area invites visitors to let the impressions sink in or to discuss them with others.
Engaged to current political-social debates, the new exhibition chapter is a first step towards presenting the German-German reunification in its long duration as a museum. The museum is entering new territory, as this era is both contemporary history and the present.

The museum is open Tuesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Admission is free for both exhibitions.

More events


Temporary exhibition "Hits & Hymns. Sound of contemporary history"
Grimmaische Str. 6
04109 Leipzig

Tel.: 0341 22200

    General information

    Next steps

    It appears that you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer as your web browser to access our site.

    For reasons of functionality and security, we recommend that you use a current web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Edge. Internet Explorer does not display all the content of our website correctly and does not offer all its functions.