The Guiding Principle

Chemnitz is a city of makers. Evidence of this can be found in the city’s history at all times – and the application process was also supported from the very beginning by many tireless actors, volunteers and civic initiatives.

It is no coincidence that the application focuses on making, on DIY, on the “artist in you”, on self-taught artists, on the creative process.

Making together is the step towards each other in a European society that increasingly shies away from constructive exchange in discussions. Especially in Eastern Europe, the brutality and speed of change in the last 30 years has left many injuries that linger in the bent. Thus, countless people have withdrawn from political debate. While extreme political opinions grow louder, such as in Chemnitz in August 2018, the centre remains silent. Chemnitz2025 wants to encourage this “silent middle” to get involved again: in the neighbourhoods, in the cities, in the regions of Europe. Because the challenge in Europe needs active Europeans: in the fight against climate change, in dealing with demographic change, in containing the social and economic consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Chemnitz2025 will help these active Europeans to become self-efficacious: with the platform – an innovative digital tool that brings together analogue and digital activities, promotes international exchange, enables hybrid projects, creates networks.

At the same time, the European Workshop for Culture and Democracy (EWKD) in the Hartmann Factory will become the physical centre of the programme. With a wide-ranging workshop and training programme, the house will become a contact point for makers, a space for experimentation, a starting point for the Academy of Autodidacts, a scientific centre in the field of right-wing extremism and a living archive. In 2025, the visitors’ centre of the European Capital of Culture will also be installed there.

With the motto “C the unseen”, Chemnitz2025 will focus on the unseen: on the surprising, the new – as it has never been visible before. On the unseen of the “silent centre” as well as the marginalised. To the unseen city, the unseen European neighbours, the unseen places and biographies, the unseen talents in each individual.

The programme also includes every other unseen city or region in Europe that contributes a strong statement for democratic coexistence – and especially the people who help in the creative process to live a cosmopolitan diverse community across national borders.

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The Artistic Programme

Chemnitz2025 will fill the public spaces between the buildings of the city and the region, will take place where the people are. But Chemnitz2025 will also rediscover place, the city on the river or the so-called detached places that many people pass by but do not notice, do not see. The programme calls on people to recognise their own talents and to contribute them. There are four major programme lines for this purpose.

Eastern State of Mind

Chemnitz is an Eastern European city in a Western European country. In the city, the experience of cohesion in difficult times lives on just as much as the fragility of circumstances. The Eastern state of mind is characterised by the people’s doer mentality and sense of community, manifested in design from architecture to everyday objects, in improvised solutions or artistic work.

Places where precisely this history still exists in secret are the garages. Long since outgrown by modern car bodies, they are workshops, storage rooms, refuges of very private stories.

Chemnitz2025 opens up 3000 garages as individual workshops of interaction. They become meeting places for citizens, open minds and hearts, uncover secrets, evoke memories, tell stories.

e.g. the garage as a treasure chest – a theatre of lost property

Garage owners from all over Europe open the doors to their private, secret world. Together with the Chemnitz Puppet Theatre, they will develop small puppet theatre pieces from their personal lost property and stories, which will be performed on the stage of a mobile garage. At the same time, the objects and stories will be collected via Instagram to tell digital stories as well.

e.g. the garage of the autodidacts

Following the example of the Bauhaus, a design and art school for young, enthusiastic people is being created in cooperation with the Bauhaus University Weimar. Depending on their interests and skills, they can take part in an artistic education programme in the Garage of Autodidacts – optionally in the areas of materials and tools, colours and compositions or cultural management. The teachers are also self-taught.

Generous Neighbours

Europe’s open borders policy makes us all neighbours. And what this means for our democratic values such as respect and tolerance is something we can experience every day in our immediate living environment. Although we live next door to each other, we have very different opinions, hobbies, rituals and preferences. Nevertheless, we come together at the doorstep – through small talk, the exchange of experiences, doing things together. That is what holds our society together.

z. For example, the parade of apple trees

Following the principle of the edible city, 4000 apple trees in 2000 different varieties will stretch across the city, each one cared for and sponsored by a local patron, who will also receive international guests and host cultural events. Artists from different countries will create a parallel art trail called “WE PARAPOM”, so that the parade transcends property and social boundaries. Finally, thanks to the interactive gaming app “Go Apple go”, based on Pokémon Go, there will be an educational aspect that focuses on sustainability, resources and migration. Various events from the Apple Blossom Festival to the Slow Food Movement with the best apple pie recipes will accompany the theme.


The programme brings together citizens from all over Europe through making, creative work. From urban culture to tourism, from exchange among professionals to networking among amateurs, the range of making together extends.

e.g. Maker, Business & Arts MBA25

It is the extraordinary ideas that make companies successful today. For this reason, and because Chemnitz, like other industrial cities, is facing a structural change in industry, the programme brings together makers from art and business on an equal footing: Europeans from the cultural and creative industries, emerging and established companies, students and professional partners find new energy and creative strength in collaboration. With various “maker hubs” (e.g. Stadtwirtschaft) in Chemnitz and the region, an experimental network is being created that includes a competence programme for companies as well as a research and exchange programme for makers and a creative tourism programme that invites makers from all over Europe to explore the cultural heritage of the region with their own hands.

e.g. The Autodidacts

Without self-taught artists, the European art world would only be half as exciting. That is why the Kunstsammlung Chemnitz is dedicating a major exhibition series to them from 2022 to 2025: from Frida Kahlo to Henry van de Velde to Edvard Munch. All three exhibitions will experiment with artificial intelligence and create the art of the interacting exhibition visitor. Accompanying the exhibitions, the CC AIR artist-in-residence programme invites international self-taught artists in the fields of visual arts, music, literature and film – the residency is planned to run twice a year for three months from 2021.

It’s moving

Setting things in motion, initiating something, driving it forward – the European makers are on the move. Chemnitz2025 will take them to the region where the mining tradition and industrial history are proudly lived across national borders.

e.g. Purple Path

The art trail runs through the entire region around Chemnitz. Young artistic positions are presented at 28 permanent or temporary locations – and while hiking trails are marked yellow, red, blue or black depending on their level of difficulty, we introduce the new colour for art and entertainment: The Purple Path not only meanders through the surrounding countryside, but also through the past, present and future, reflecting on the history of the workers’ movement and the history of Wismut, initiating sustainable nature projects or dealing with the women of Hoheneck.

z. e.g. European Peace Tour

The most famous amateur cycling race in the East returns – and celebrates the region’s cycling enthusiasm. The race starts 80 years after the end of the Second World War in Pilsen (European Capital of Culture 2015), passes the corridor where the American troops met the Soviet troops in 1945 and ends after two days and 170 kilometres in Chemnitz. Not only teams of cyclists from former European Capitals of Culture are invited, but also cyclists from all over Europe, who will experience a broad cultural programme and Czech-German hospitality along the route.