Why didn't the British like the baroque?

rheinische ART - culture magazine online

Rhenish ART 07/2019

Archive 2019

Very British

From the Winke-Queen to the Mini-Cooper and the Mini-Rock, from the Prince's Cup to Beatles and Brexit, everything is represented that the Germans love so much about the British - or maybe not. The House of History in Bonn offers "well timed" an extensive view of the island.


The carnival float by Jacques Tilly in the Düsseldorf Rose Monday Parade 2017 is also used during protests in London. Photo © House of History / Axel Thünker


The German-British relations are without a doubt rich in tradition, diverse and friendly, so it is said in Bonn, but sometimes also "cold and characterized by competition". Love can be a one-way street sometimes!

The exhibition “Very British. A German view ”makes this and many other things clear. It is a look from a German perspective on political, historical, economic and cultural German-British conditions and the role of Great Britain in Europe after 1945.


Personality cult Not only popular as a merchandising figure in Germany: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Photo © Foundation House of History / Axel Thünker


Are the British crazy? The headlines in the German media in recent months could give this impression. The continental European went through a rollercoaster of emotions, sometimes it was incomprehension, sometimes anger, sometimes mockery, and he no longer liked to recognize much of the proverbial British humor. Only one thing has remained: The Queen still stands for continuity and reliability!

It is good to see everything that you think you know and what illustrates the old, beloved British life. The House of History shows around 500 exhibits - including many top-class loans - in the exhibition: the original tiger skin from the New Year's Eve sketch “Dinner for One”, a stage costume by George Harrison, the ball from the legendary World Cup finals in 1966, a dress by Queen Elizabeth II, which she wore on her state visit to Germany in 1965, and an elaborately designed chasuble of the Bishop of Coventry, which shows photos of the war-torn cities of Dresden and Coventry, are good examples.


Til today In particular, memories of World War II shaped the national self-image of the British, the image of the Germans and the British-German relationship. Anti-German, past-related stereotypes are still often picked up, especially in the media.

Common British-German memories, such as those of Coventry and Dresden, also prove the change: the cities are turning from symbols of war terror to places of reconciliation.


Program overview in “HÖR ZU” on the state visit of the British royal couple in 1965 Photo © Foundation House of History / Axel Thünker


The British Crown gives the democratic-parliamentary system a special shine and arouses admiration abroad.

The interest of the German public in the "royals" and their fortunes, especially in the Queen as Europe's longest-serving monarch, has remained high for decades.

Until recently, it was fueled by a kind of court report by the aristocratic specialist Rolf Seelmann-Eggebert in a way that was typical of the voice and the image. The Queen's first visit to Germany in 1965, as the Bonn show reminds us, was a true triumphal procession.

The journalist Seelmann-Eggebert, Germany's man on the pulse of the royals, so to speak, met her for the first time in Hanover as part of his report on the state visit.


English cult brand: Sign from the accessories trade for mini fans Photo © Foundation House of History / Axel Thünker


Yes, of course the close economic ties between Germany and Great Britain will fall victim to a Brexit is written in the stars. So far, the respective image of the country of origin (“fine English style”) has been successfully used for product marketing. The negative development of London as an important global financial center is currently influencing discussions about German economic policy in Germany as well.



Button of the British pro-Europe campaign for the 1975 referendum. Photo © Foundation House of History / Axel Thünker


There remains some prefer football and pop culture. The German-English football competition - starting with the 1966 World Cup - is one of the longest and most intense in the history of sport. Despite all the rivalry, fairness and respect also determine the competition between the football powers.

Players like the former Bernd Trautmann, Kevin Keegan or currently Jürgen Klopp contributed and continue to contribute to a better understanding between British and Germans through their performances and their appearance in the respective other country.

To this day, German popular culture has received important impulses from the British Isles. Literature, fashion and music have found enthusiastic audiences in Germany for decades.


The exhibition . "Very British - A German View" can be visited until March 8, 2020. Admission is free.
House of the History of the Federal Republic of Germany
Museum Mile
Willy-Brandt-Allee 14
53113 Bonn
Tel 0228 - 91650
opening hours
TUE - FRI 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
SAT, SUN 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.